Rediscovering the Prayer Wheel with David Van Biema


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By Paul Swanson and Paul Swanson | Contemplative Shoveler. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

“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

Imagine a wheel, a wheel with nesting concentric circles within it. Each circle holding the sacred text and ancient contemplative practice of a devoted community of monks. This sounds a lot like something pulled from Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter, but actually I am describing a book, and contemplative practice, called The Prayer Wheel: A Daily Guide to Renewing Your Faith with a Rediscovered Spiritual Practice.

My guest today is David Van Biema. David and I explore a lot of terrain in this conversation. First we dive into the origins of why David became a religious writer (a story that reminded me of the film ‘O, Brother Where Art Thou?’, his discovery of the Prayer Wheel at an art gallery in New York, and how the Prayer Wheel can be a devotional practice for those in the Christian Tradition, plus much, much more.

David is the author of Mother Teresa: the Life and Works of a Modern Saint and co-author of The Prayer Wheel: A Daily Guide to Renewing Your Faith with a Rediscovered Spiritual Practice. Van Biema worked at Time magazine from 1993 until 2008, the last 10 years as chief religion writer. He is currently writing Speaking to God: A Cultural History of the Psalms.

You can learn more about David Van Biema and download an image of the the Prayer Wheel here. You can join the The Prayer Wheel discussion book on Facebook here.

93 episodes