Review » en français
Title: Une prière puissante : la louange
Author: Anita Maria Célestin
Publisher: Novalis, 106 pp.
Media: Trade Paperback
Anita Maria Célestin’s The Power of Praise or perhaps more correctly, The Powerful Prayer of Praise is a delightful reminder of the importance of praising God at every step of our faith journey.
Célestin’s careful reading of the Old and New Testaments highlights her belief that praise is the most powerful way for Christians to maintain a loving relationship with their Creator.
Regardless of one’s views about the effectiveness of different forms of prayer, Célestin’s argument certainly is consistent. As she points out, even “the name Juda signifies PRAISE.”*
Past authors like William James have suggested that ‘good works’ distinguish Christians from non-Christians. However, this kind of antiquated thinking no longer holds up in contemporary culture. For people from all walks of life do good works. But not everyone praises God.
Along these lines, Célestin notes that Friedrich Nietzsche once declared “God is dead!” While this assertion might have made an impact on some existential and postmodern philosophers, the fact remains that literally billions of people around the world still believe in and actively worship God.
And The Power of Praise helps to explain why. Praise, Célestin suggests, is not a mere intellectual or, for that matter, emotional act. Praise is a prayer from the heart that involves the entire human being-the natural and the spiritual. This twofold nature of praise makes it especially powerful for both psychological and physical healing, an idea that has not gone unnoticed among modern scientific researchers.
The Power of Praise explains that praise lifts us above our quotidian cares by making us receptive to the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. This relationship between God and creation involves two elements: our choice to express gratitude and God’s great love for us. Thus by choosing to praise, we invite God into our lives.
Célestin rightly advises, however, that praise isn’t about demanding nor expecting divine favors. Mature love doesn’t express itself like that. Instead, praise is about two beings, Creator and created, freely entering into a relationship based on mutual love and respect.
A reciprocal act of love between Creator and created leaves no room for evil. In essence, praise opens the heart to God and dispels the spiritual darkness that makes us unwell. And this is why the author regards praise as the most powerful form of prayer.
Does this sound too good to be true? Can we really ‘praise the gray away’?
As a Catholic, these and other questions came to mind while reading The Power of Praise. After a considerable degree of reflection, I can say that this inspirational book has helped me to become more consciously aware of the importance of praise in my relationship with God. As we sing in the Mass:
“Praise to you Lord, King of Eternal Glory”
The Power of Praise is a beautifully written, extremely well-researched work that should strengthen believers’ faith and hopefully act as a wake-up call for those yet to discover the insurmountable joy of living a life devoted to God.
And for these reasons I give The Power of Praise 5 out of 5.
*Le nom Juda signifie LOUANGE.
-Michael Clark 06.02.07
**** Very Good
* Recycle bin