What does prayer look like in contemporary America? With a welcoming tone and plainspoken diction, the forty poems in Hansen’s collection explore that question. Including elements of autobiography, Your Twenty-First Century Prayer Life investigates Christianity in the present, depicting a faith in God that is continuously in flux. Readers journey through the seasons of the church year as Hansen recounts doubts, conversions, frustrations, and confessions. Ultimately, these poems are concerned as much with words as they are with the Word.
Your Twenty-First Century Prayer Life: Poems
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“Your Twenty-first Century Prayer Life should be required reading for all churchgoers, for all people who have struggled to pray, practice Lenten disciplines, or survive infuriating sermons. ‘Form and content matter,’ Hansen writes, ‘but not/as much as the posture of the heart.’ The quiet, but no less pointedly honest, voice in these poems plumbs the marrow of doubt to reveal the ‘beautiful ache of belief’ that issues from a closely examined spiritual life.”
—Tania Runyan, Author of Second Sky
“In his trustworthy sincerity, his rich and considerate earnestness, Nathaniel Hansen reminds me again and again of none other than George Herbert. Both poets share a hidden-in-plain-sight artistry that kindles in me a new devotion. Here is a book that above all is about ‘the posture of the heart,’ a heart that reverberates ‘the beautiful ache of belief,’ even as ‘your elbows smart, bone against old wood.’”
—Paul J. Willis, Author of Getting to Gardisky Lake
“From the rough and tumble of daily work and children, Nathaniel Hansen carves out time to pray, as well as quiet moments to reflect on what he calls his prayer life. It is a journey fraught with interruptions, redirections, and finally, sometimes, connections with God. It’s a fine companion for anyone who is serious about praying.”
—Jeanne Murray Walker, Author of Helping the Morning: New and Selected Poetry
“Nathaniel Hansen’s prayer life is all of our prayer lives elevated to art: cross-pressured, halting, urgent. These poems achieve intimacy with the transcendent by never taking it for granted. They approach God through a poetics of waiting, of openness, of not not-yet-but-soon. These poems are firmly grounded in the physical world even while reaching toward sacred time. Hansen is the faithful but honest Christian poet we need in this secular age.”
—Benjamin Myers, Crouch-Mathis Professor of Literature, Oklahoma Baptist University