Calvin Miller, The Path of Celtic Prayer; An Ancient Way to Everyday Joy (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2007), 170pp.
This short book by Calvin Miller is not a technical study of Celtic theology, history, or even prayer, but rather a practical manual that intends to help people deepen their practice of prayer. It takes its general inspiration from Celtic prayer and is not an in-depth study of the Celts. "In this book," writes Miller, "I hope to offer you some aspects of Celtic spiritual practices as a springboard that might enable your prayer life to reach new heights." After a short introductory chapter, Miller devotes one chapter each to six principles or types of prayer that he has gleaned from Celtic spirituality: Trinity Prayer; Scripture Prayer; Long, Wandering Prayer; Nature Prayer; Lorica Prayer (lorica is Latin for breastplate); and Confessional Prayer.
Miller tends to romanticize Celtic spirituality as a "faith of great vitality," and characterize as lackluster modern habits of discipleship. But whether the past was so great and the present so bad is a debatable generalization. Also, in proposing "a kind of prayer that can end our amputated feelings of separateness from God," Miller treads a thin line between offering yet one more "technique," as opposed to careful advice about a lifelong spiritual discipline. I nevertheless enjoyed his many references to and examples of Celtic prayer, and the exercises at the end of each chapter take the reader from mere theory to practice. Many people have lamented the ignorance on the part of contemporary believers for our spiritual forbears, and Miller's popular book aimed for a general readership is a good place to begin to connect with saints who have gone before us.