Starting today through December 20, you can register for a Goodreads giveaway of “The Prayer Wheel: A Daily Guide to Renewing Your Faith with a Rediscovered Spiritual Practice.”
Penguin Random House is giving away 20 copies of the book. So you could be the first on the block to read it before it officially releases on February 20!
I’m one of three co-authors of this little book, along with David Van Biema and Patton Dodd. It all started in 2015 when David wrote this article about a medieval book of gospels that was up for sale for millions of dollars.
Tucked away inside the gospels book was this Latin wheel with the texts of the Lord’s Prayer, the Beatitudes, the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, and scenes from the life of Christ — all divided into sevens so they pair up into spokes with four elements per spoke.
Part of the mystery of the Wheel is in the way its medieval creators paired certain elements together — this Beatitude with that Gift, for example. I find this ancient tool endlessly fascinating and an inspiring springboard to deeper prayer.
How old are we talking? The book of gospels dates from 980 and was found in a monastery in Liesborn, Germany. The prayer wheel diagram was added to it later, around 1100.
As far as we know, we’re the first contemporary authors to write about medieval prayer wheels, apart from one academic dissertation. There are still some in existence in collections of rare books and manuscripts, like the “Wheel of Sevens” at Yale (see here and here), but until now no one has attempted to recover the Wheel as an ancient spiritual practice and not just an artifact of historical interest.
If you’re curious, sign up for the giveaway! And be sure to let us know what you think. The Prayer Wheel’s website is now up and running at prayerwheelbook.com, where you can read more about the wheel and see the growing list of people who have endorsed the project. Here are a few of those blurbs just to give a sense of our growing excitement.
“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
“A brilliant re-discovery. 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 and founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation
“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 Winner, author of Girl Meets God and Still