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James W. Sire

Author of  Learning to Pray Through the Psalms

Review  |  Author Bio  |  Read an Excerpt

James W. Sire's Bio:

James W. Sire (Ph.D., University of Missouri) retired former chief editor at InterVarsity Press, is an active speaker and writer. He has taught English, philosophy, theology and short courses at many universities and seminaries. He continues to be a frequent guest lecturer in the United States and Europe. His IVP books and Bible studies include The Universe Next Door (a worldviews textbook), Scripture Twisting, Discipleship of the Mind, Chris Chrisman Goes to College, Why Should Anyone Believe Anything at All?, Habits of the Mind: Intellectual Life as a Christian Calling, Naming the Elephant: Worldview as a Concept and Learning to Pray Through the Psalms.

Notes from the author:

“In some ways this book has been an easy one for me to write. I did not need to spend hours and hours in the library, chasing down articles in learned journals or poring over crumbling ancient manuscripts to ferret out esoteric knowledge long lost to the modern world. Everything was there in front of me: several translations of the Bible with the text of the Psalms, a few basic commentaries by some reputable scholars, and a lifetime of sometimes casual, sometimes intense reading and praying of the psalms. The topic is dear to my heart. I am delighted to be able to address it and share with others what I have learned.

“But in one major way this book has been difficult. The problem is the topic itself—not the psalms, the texts and their meaning, but prayer. The essence of this book is neither academic nor primarily intellectual, as many of my other books have been. The essence of this book is deeply spiritual. It pretends to be a guide to a deeper, more intimate life more and more finely tuned to the reality of God. That has put on me an extra burden. I must not just be as correct as possible about what any given psalm might mean; more important, I must not mislead readers in their spiritual lives . . .

“What wisdom there is in this book is the wisdom of the psalms and psalmists themselves. At the beck and call of the Holy Spirit, the psalmists wrote their songs of worship, confession, lament, joy and praise. They and the prophets provided for the Hebrew community the language of spiritual reality. And in the translation and repeated reading and praying of these psalms down through the ages, that spiritual reality has come alive in God’s children around the world. It is this spiritual reality I earnestly desire for myself and for the readers of this book.”