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The Prayer Wheel

A Daily Guide to Renewing Your Faith with a Rediscovered Spiritual Practice

Patton Dodd, Jana Riess, David Van Biema


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Award-winning religion journalists describe a recently rediscovered medieval prayer tool that provides fresh inspiration and daily prayers for contemporary Christians.

All people of faith struggle at times to sustain a flourishing prayer life--a loss felt all the more keenly in times like ours of confusion, political turbulence, and global calamity. The Prayer Wheel introduces an ancient prayer practice that offers a timeless solution for the modern faithful.

The Prayer Wheel is a modern interpretation of the Liesborn Prayer Wheel, a beautiful, almost wholly forgotten, scripture-based mode of prayer that was developed in a medieval times. The Liesborn Prayer Wheel resurfaced in 2015 in a small private gallery near New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art. It faithfully and beautifully presents seven prayer paths for personal or group use. Each path invites contemplation on the "big ideas" of the Christian faith--the Lord's Prayer, the Beatitudes, the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and key words from the life of Christ.

In the tradition of lectio divina and walking a labyrinth, The Prayer Wheel simply and directly takes readers into a daily, wholly unique encounter with God. As the prayers in this book unfold, readers will find an appealing guide for contemplation, a way of seeing God in new ways, and an essential new tool for Christian formation.

Praise For The Prayer Wheel: A Daily Guide to Renewing Your Faith with a Rediscovered Spiritual Practice

"A brilliant rediscovery. The Prayer Wheel reveals how important prayer has been in all of history, and how many levels of understanding it always offers. This is an excellent example of the endless fruitfulness of healthy religion." —Richard Rohr, author of Falling Upward

“This bold recovery of a long-forgotten path to prayer, expertly situated in its historical context and made accessible for modern-day believers, makes for absolutely fascinating reading--for the devout and doubtful alike." —James Martin, SJ, author of Jesus: A Pilgrimage 

“These days, few books cause me to sit up and take notice. But The Prayer Wheel hooked me from the first page. In it, three of my favorite religion journalists unearth a nearly 1000-year-old spiritual practice and make it applicable to our own day. This book is a mystical journey with the power to revitalize your prayer life. Don’t miss it!” —Jonathan Merritt, author of Learning to Speak God from Scratch; contributing writer for The Atlantic

"Reading this book for the first time, I felt the way I felt when someone first told me about labyrinths—I was encountering something that could carry me both back into the depths of an ancient practice, and forward to God." —Lauren F. Winner, author of Girl Meets God and Still

"I am always looking for ways to engage in prayer more deeply. Beautifully written and biblically grounded, this book offers readers a fresh yet ancient way of drawing close to God. Because of its simplicity and depth, I am sure I will enjoy using it for years to come." 
—Ann Spangler, author of Praying the Names of God

"This remarkable book isn't just a guide to a long-lost medieval prayer wheel, but an introduction to a deeper, more fulfilling way of communicating with God." —Ian Morgan Cron, author of The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery

"Like Benedict in his own day, we are searching for new ways to connect ancient wisdom with daily life in a rapidly changing world. In this midst of this transition, Dodd, Riess, and Van Biema offer a contemporary introduction to an ancient way of prayer. This prayer wheel may be just the tool to unlock the door to the home you always knew you needed." —Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, coauthor of Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals

"If Indiana Jones were interested in Medieval Christian spirituality, he'd have loved The Prayer Wheel! Dodd, Riess, and Van Biema unlock the mystery of an ancient Christian path to prayer, then help modern readers apply it for a meaningful spiritual journey." —Adam Hamilton, author of Unafraid: Living with Courage and Hope in Uncertain Times, and Creed: What Christians Believe and Why

"It's rare these days to be truly surprised by something, especially something old. Yet that was my experience of reading and engaging with The Prayer Wheel. For those of us who long to connect to our forebears in faith and who find too much of the modern world annoying and shallow, this book is a beautiful, reflective prayer aid." —Tony Jones, author of The Sacred Way: Spiritual Practices for Everyday Life

"The Prayer Wheel opens a door into the prayer life of Christians who lived nearly a thousand years ago. Through meditation on brief but rich phrases of Scripture, we deepen and strengthen our faith." —Frederica Mathewes-Green, author of The Jesus Prayer and Facing East

"How is it possible in our high-tech age that one of the most interesting new developments I've come across is a piece of technology that dates back to the Middle Ages? Whether you're a prayer veteran or a novice spiritual seeker, The Prayer Wheel offers a way to approach our conversations wih God that is both ancient and new." —Bill McGarvey, former editor in chief of Busted Halo

"Our medieval Christian ancestors may not have understood growth economics, but they knew the value of praying in circles...with a prayer wheel, with a rosary, with the weekly and yearly cycles of the Divine Office. Here is all we have forgotten of the past, and all we might hope for the future, inscribed in a simple diagram—a cure for the linear, dead-end way of thinking that has brought our world to a precipice." —Clark Strand, author of Waking Up to the Dark: Ancient Wisdom for a Sleepless Age

The Prayer Wheel brings everything to a stop, giving us a chance to enter into deep silence and active reflection on the mysteries of the faith. This book could hardly come at a better time. I'm grateful for this bracing reminder of the creative wisdom of the past.” —Kirsten Powers, USA Today columnist and CNN political analyst 

“As a prayer prompt, the wheel is divine.” Publishers Weekly

Convergent Books, 9781524760311, 224pp.

Publication Date: February 20, 2018

About the Author

DAVID VAN BIEMA was head religion writer at TIME from 1999 to 2009, where he wrote 25 cover stories for the magazine, as well as covers for Life magazine, People, and the Washington Post. His recent work has appeared in TIME, the Washington Post,, and the Religion News Service. He is the author of the book Mother Teresa: The Life and Works of a Modern Saint.
JANA RIESS is an editor and writer who holds degrees in religion from Wellesley College, Princeton Theological Seminary, and Columbia University. She is a senior columnist for Religion News Service and speaks often to the media about issues pertaining to religion in America.
PATTON DODD is a writer and editor whose work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post,,, Financial Times, Newsweek, Slate, Christianity Today, The Shambhala Sun, and more. He has also appeared on a range of television and radio shows, including Hannity, The Laura Ingraham Show, ESPN Radio, and NPR.