Prayers for a Lifetime

Buy it now

Prayers for a Lifetime

Prayers for a Lifetime

Great theologians are often great teachers of prayer. Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Teresa of Avila, Martin Luther, Dietrich Bonhoeffer—and Karl Rahner. This personal book, composed over a lifetime, is the fruit of rich human experience, deep faith, and profound theological reflection.

Reviews and endorsements

“All those who are interested in theology and spirituality, and in the interconnection between the two, should benefit from pondering on this excellent mine of theological and spiritual truth . . . It offers a wide range of prayers which can be used as a springboard for meditation, or which can be used for verbal prayer for those who are tongue-tied before God.”
The Living Church

,

"Translated into English, this volume contains a collection of Rahner’s prayers, many previously published.

Those prayers not previously published include Rahner’s prayer for the church, prayer of a layperson, prayer for justice and brotherhood, prayer for peace, and 'Prayer for the Reunion of all Christians.' The latter prayer, which he wrote just prior to his death, is a noteworthy memorial.

Obviously, Prayers For a Lifetime is a guide to prayer. Readers can use Rahner’s prayers as they are, or adapt them for their own use. The prayers concerning Jesus' last words are especially useful. Other prayers are more personal, but each illustrates the author’s love for God, his humility, his spiritual growth, and the church's growth over the past 50 years.

In an 'Editor’s Afterword,' readers are told, 'This collection is not to provide a manual of theology. Its purpose is rather to place at the disposal of the reader interested in prayer and meditation the prayers of a great theological and spiritual teacher.'

Those who are familiar with the work and thoughts of Karl Rahner will be especially interested in this work. Although it may be appreciated more by Catholics, all readers will find inspiration in these beautiful, thought-provoking prayers."
Bookstore Journal

,

"Prayers For A Lifetime appeared originally on the occasion of Father Rahner’s 80th birthday, and his death shortly thereafter turned this birthday present into a farewell gift.

This work contains 44 prayers for all phases of Father Rahner’s life and includes eight previously unpublished prayers. Among these is what is believed to be the final prayer he composed, 'Prayer for the Reunion of All Christians.'

As a collection of private reflections, these prayers are entitled to be subjective, possibly rendering the author vulnerable as they express human emotion. But they should rather be viewed as one man’s journey as a Christian, Jesuit, retreat master, philosopher and theologian.

There is a special richness in the prayers concerning Christ’s passion and the meditative prayers on the seven last words of Christ.

Catholic priests will immediately identify in a very personal way with the 'Prayer on the Eve of Ordination' and 'Prayer for the Right Spirit of Christ's Priesthood,' while also identifying with the more expansive challenge included in his final prayer for the reunion of all Christians.

Father Alfons Klein, provincial of the South German province of the Society of Jesus, delivering the funeral sermon for Father Rahner, recalled his words: 'lf in my life I have done a little bit to help a few people to dare address God, to think of him, to believe in him, to hope and to love—then, I think my life has been worthwhile.'

Prayers For A Lifetime confirms that his life was worthwhile. Father Rahner, thank you for sharing your life of prayer with us."
Father Jay C. Haskin, NC News Service

,

"Karl Rahner’s prayers, spanning a fifty-year period, are not the prayers of an ordinary lifetime, but the meditations of an extraordinarily prolific and substantial lifetime. If it is true, as novelists often suggest, that the rich are different from the rest of us, it is probably also true that theologians are different from the rest of us in the way they pray.

It is hard enough to read sermons and allow for the transition from the spoken word to the written one. It is even more difficult to do that with someone's prayers. Some of the prayers ('On the Eve of Ordination') bring the reader to the threshold of a wonderful encounter between Rahner and God, but this encounter is so personal that something seems lost in the sharing. With other prayers ('God of Law'), there is a sense of 'other-consciousness,' leaving the impression that Rahner had some inkling that these 'prayers' would be published.

These prayers may not pass the test as normal prayers, but they would make wonderful meditations. And the relatively simple form makes accessible to a broader readership the writing of this important, but difficult theologian."
Church Magazine

,

"This is the last and perhaps the most beautiful book by Karl Rahner, who died in 1984 at the age of 80, leaving the world the astonishing legacy of over 3000 writings. The collection includes about 50 prayers with titles like 'God of My Life,' 'In Praise of Creation,' 'Freed by God,' 'The Life of Grace,' and a unique 'Prayer for Creative Thinkers,' The Book is an excellent way to approach the thought of a towering genius admired by liberals and conservatives alike, not only for the brilliance and uplifting beauty of his work, but for the quality of his life and unyielding strength."
Fellowship in Prayer Magazine

,

"Prayers for a Lifetime, the last and most personal book of Karl Rahner . . . contains prayers from different phases of Rahner’s life, highly personal meditations and reflections on different points of Catholic teaching. There is in his life and writings an intimate connection between theology and spirituality or piety. As he himself said at one time, abstract theology ends up in a vacuum if it cannot rise from mere words about a particular topic to prayer. These reflections should serve all, learned and unlearned, as a guide to prayer."
—Ligourian Magazine

,

"By most estimations, the late Karl Rahner was the seminal Roman Catholic theologian of our age. Prayers for a Lifetime is a compilation of his prayers published in Germany on his 80th birthday and now edited and translated by Albert Raffelt. Although Rahner’s theological works may be tough going for many, his prayers are remarkable for their devotion and clarity of faith. This collection is commended as a welcome addition to anyone’s library of devotional books."
—Sojourners Magazine

,

"One reliable way to enrich our own prayer is to ponder and assimilate the memorable prayers of others, especially those who have spent a lifetime in conversation with God . . . The prayers of [Prayers for a Lifetime] . . . span a period of almost 50 years in the life of the late Karl Rahner, revealing once again that his often difficult and demanding theological insights were ultimately rooted in a simple and profound life of Christian faith.
—Spiritual Life Magazine


"Rahner said: 'I believe because I pray.' . . . this volume illustrates why Rahner deserves to be called Doctor orationis, the Church Doctor of Prayer for the twentieth-century.
Harvey D. Egan, S.J., St. Mary's Hall, Boston College

9780824507305
Paperback / 190 pages
Dimensions: 5 3/8 x 8 1/4
HERDER & HERDER, 1995