In Uncommon Prayer: Prayer in Everyday Experience, Michael Plekon wants to change our minds on what constitutes prayer. In doing so, he makes a theological claim that commonplace aspects of the Christian life are best understood as prayer, whereby encouraging us to see that everyday life carries religious import; prayer and the religious life are not restricted to special places and times, but are open to all believers at all times.
Examining the work of diverse authors, including Sarah Coakley, Rowan Williams, Heather Havrilesky, Sara Miles, Thomas Merton, and Mary Oliver, among others, Plekon argues that prayer encompasses a much wider variety of activity than formal and liturgical prayers and that, by recognizing such aspects of prayer, the believer is made more receptive to transformative aspects of prayerful attitudes.
“Uncommon Prayer indeed! Only theologians as steeped in the mystical tradition of the Orthodox Church as Michael Plekon can write with theological depth and spiritual insight on how to pray uncommonly in common experiences of life. Whether you are a theologian, a hermit, a poet, a person going through the darkness of the soul, a teacher, or, listen to this, a pirogi-making cook—there is a prayer for you.” —Peter C. Phan*, Ellacuria Chair of Catholic Social Thought, Georgetown University
Michael Plekon is professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology and in the Program in Religion and Culture at Baruch College of the City University of New York. He is also an ordained priest in the Orthodox Church in America and the author or editor of a number of books, including Hidden Holiness and Saints As They Really Are: Voices of Holiness in Our Time, both published by the University of Notre Dame Press.