Stanley Hauerwas: Prayers Plainly Spoken.

This small book is nothing like any other Hauerwas book. It consists of prayers Hauerwas has written to be prayed before class in his ethics course. Hauerwas tells the story in Hannah’s child:

Sometimes Paula reminds me what I am supposed to be about. For example, she asked me if I prayed before class. I confessed that I did not. She said, “You should.” That was a major challenge. Prayer has never come easy. …

So I began to take time before my lectures to write a prayer. Writing the prayer often took more time than writing the lecture. I discovered in the process that I pray the way I talk — plainly and straightforwardly. …

Students began asking me for copies of my prayers. It was as if the prayers were more important to them than the lectures. I was not sure what to make of that. Some students even asked me to collect my prayers in a single volume to see if I could get them published. So I did.

This discribes the book rather well. The prayers are very Hauerwasian, of course, although one should not make the mistake to expect this to be a book of jokes. This is very serious business. Some of these prayers are hard, not in the sense of being cruel, but tough. I think this book can be very provocative to theologians who uses theology to keep a certain distance to ”religion”. I know it was for me.

It is also very personal, again, not in the sense private, but in the sense that this is really Hauerwas talking to God in a very direct manner.


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