New book for prayer in the home that will ‘transform the family and society’

by David Clayton on April 25, 2014

unnamedMy book, co-authored with Leila Lawler, is now out and can be ordered from the publisher Sophia Institute Press. It is called The Little Oratory – A Beginner’s Guide to Praying in the HomeThe claim in the title about the impact it will have, incidentally, is not my own but is taken from a review by Scott Hahn, which I give in full below (although I do hope his assessment is correct!)

It is a practical program in mystagogy – the teaching of the mysteries of the Faith – that promotes a cultural renewal through a liturgical piety in the family and parish. It explains how to build a prayer corner – a ‘little oratory’ – as the centre of family prayer and has eight color detachable icons in standard sizes for framing, to get you started. The paintings you see in this article are from the book.

Face-of_ChristIt addresses the crisis of fatherhood by explaining crucial role of fathers in family prayer. By encouraging fathers (as well as mothers!) to be an example in prayer it will help to encourage vocations for it will teach boys that prayer and worship are masculine activities as well as feminine.

As such it is a family centered, practical manual for the New Evangelisation that could be promoted by parishes or cultural centres. It explains how family prayer can be the basis for building up communities beyond the family in parishes, for example, and even the workplace.

Here is what Scott Hahn wrote about it:

‘This is one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever seen. How I wish I’d had it when I first became a Catholic, not just for myself, as a husband and father, but for my family, too. It’s a commonplace of Christian tradition to call the home a sanctuary or “domestic church,” but before a home can be a church, it must become an oratory — a place of prayer. The authors of this book know that there are many obstacles, and they show us how to overcome them. This book is inspiring yet practical, realistic yet revolutionary. If one book has the potential to transform the Catholic family (and society), this is it.’

Madonna-and-Child-iconIt adapts for the family the traditional spirituality of artists that forms the person in humility so that they are open to inspiration and it engenders creativity. In addition it describes the practical aspects of an education in beauty based upon the traditional education of artists and how this can be applied at any level. It could be introduced, for example, into homeschooling groups, at a college level (I have been doing this in my Way of Beauty class) or even the basis of an MFA. The Sophia Institute Press site here [] includes downloadable high resolution prints of the icons in the book and numerous line drawings for coloring and for copying to help teach children how to draw (scroll down to the bottom of the page and you’ll find the link). This really is useful at all levels – I teach adults in my classes using these same images.

David-and-St-MichaelIn addition it explains:
• Why the Liturgy of the Hours is important and how it can make your family holy
• How to sing your prayers even if you think you’re tone deaf or timid
• How to pray the Rosary with children—and keep the rowdiest of them calm and reverent
• The active role children can play in the prayer life of the family and how to raise the cultural sensibilities of your children so they are more sensitive to divine beauty.
• What to do when only one parent takes the spiritual life seriously
• How to overcome the feeling that you’re too busy to pray
• Practical ways to extend the liturgical life into your workplace

It has been well received so far and is endorsed also, by figures such as Joseph Pearce, Christopher West and Tom Howard. It is with the words of well-known Catholic writer Tom Howard that I finish: ‘It is difficult indeed to refrain from superlatives when speaking of this book. It’s all here. One would like to shout from the housetops, “Drop everything and start using this!” Here we find virtually all that could possibly be wanted for true Catholic household prayer. The liturgy, the Church year, the Hours, music, chant, icons, the Rosary, lots of “how to” helps, even tips on Catholic household décor. And the great thing is that it is all presented in clear, strong, sane, modest, unembellished prose. The helpful commentaries turn out to be luminous meditations actually. The book is a rare treasure.’

Buy the Little Oratory – A Beginner’s Guide to Prayer in the Home from the Sophia Institute Press site, here.

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Face-of_Christ

Madonna-and-Child-icon

 

 David-and-St-Michael

 

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Lisa Andrews April 25, 2014 at 1:02 pm

David, Congratulations on the debut of your book. Can’t wait to receive my copy, and that’s a wonderful tribute by Scott Hahn! May it indeed have the impact you intended.

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Kathie Crawford April 30, 2014 at 11:18 am

It is certainly a beautiful and encouraging book, with many wonderful ideas for an oratory in the home or even in the office. Thank you!

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Alexey May 1, 2014 at 7:32 am

Congratulations, David!

May your book find wide readership. The icons are stunningly beautiful.

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helen woods May 1, 2014 at 2:42 pm

the book sounds all-inspiring;I hope to get a copy.

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Mary Frank May 1, 2014 at 8:19 pm

David,
Congratulations on the publishing of your book! I guess I am behind the times, but I did not realize you were writing one! I would love to buy it and read it, and I also think my dad would really appreciate it. Maybe I will buy it for him at some point soon . . . maybe for Father’s Day.

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