Saying Hello to God: Learning to Pray
By Graham English

A5 in shape and 80 pages. Easy to slip into your purse or jacket pocket. It is illustrated with Graham English’s own homely and affectionate depictions of ordinary people. The book uses various fonts which add to the atmosphere of liveliness and contentment.

Saying Hello to God: Learning to Pray
by Graham English
Published by: John Garratt Publishing

Available in Australia from John Garratt Publishing
RRP $14.95 - PLUS 10% discount to
Online Catholics readers until 31/12/06.

Review by: Terry Monagle, author and speaker. Terry’s recent book is Claws of Fire, In Search of the Whispering Friend

This handbook of prayer holds the simple and the profound in a joyous balance. Its triumph is to be both an introduction to prayer for those starting out, and a benchmark for those tired on the journey. It bubbles with both the ancient and the new.

Graham English, the author of Saying Hello to God is a senior lecturer in Religious Education at the Australian Catholic University, Sydney. But this handbook escapes any academic discourse. The tone is gentle, warm, and inviting; the diction needs no encyclopaedia; the rhythms are easy paced. In short the book is onomatopoeic (where the sound of something echoes the meaning of the thing). The book is spoken with the quiet, loving tones of prayer.

Despite the accessibility, Graham English gives us real bread, the full multi-grain loaf, invoking the insights of Simone Weil, Theresa of Avila, Augustine, Australian poet James McAuley, Anatole France, the Cloud of Unknowing and the scriptures.

He gives us a lovely definition of prayer: ‘Prayer is a kind of conspiracy in which you and God become intimate’. Perfect. And of course it follows an invitation to intimacy which may come in periods of deep calm or deep stress. For someone who has the first glimmers of an invitation, and is puzzling, suspecting but not being sure what it means, this is the perfect reassurance.

One friend who mentioned the book to me, a professional spiritual mentor, said he would buy a copy for each of the people he travelled with.

The book is inclusive of all faiths, and identifies that the simple intimacy it says is at the heart of things is common to the mystical traditions of all faiths. It is also inclusive of all praying styles. It encourages us to discover how each of us prays best in our own circumstances and within our own temperament.

This beguiling generosity is a mark of healthy insight, of reliable and wise teaching.

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