Paraclete Press has just released a wonderful book of ‘Writings and Teachings on Prayer by Father Alexander Men’. This collection of talks, writings and prayers, translated from Russian by Christa Belyaeva, and edited by April French, who also wrote the book’s worthwhile introduction, presents clear and simple advice for practitioners of prayer, which Christians of all levels and numerous creeds will find helpful and inspiring.
Men’s words, while simple, are peppered with profound insights, biblical exegesis, and quotes from Church Fathers and other theologians and authors. His writings are imbued with a sense of inner peace, love and sincerity. At times, his practical advice on prayer, aimed at the average layman and beginner, is reminiscent of another great Russian teacher of prayer, St Theophan the Recluse.
My only quibble is that at times Men’s thoughts can seem disjointed, and he goes off on tangents now and again, but I cannot deny that there are some great insights even in those tangents. But this small imperfection does not take away from the beauty, simplicity and profundity of the book, which is a highly approachable introduction to prayer for all Christians, with plenty of practical tips for those who wish to deepen their private devotions.
‘An Inner Step Toward God: Writings and Teachings on Prayer by Father Alexander Men’ was provided to me for free by Paraclete Press in return for an honest review, and is available from www.paracletepress.com and Amazon.