Book review: Other Prayers of Jesus

by John Henson


John Henson has a way of writing that makes you want to meet him. He’s opinionated but not overbearing. Humble yet interesting. I think it’s just the way John is, amusing and serious at the same time. Either that, or he has a great editor.

In twelve chapters, Other Prayers of Jesus rolls conversationally through the settings and words of Jesus as he “talks to God.” Do not imagine that this book will give you instructions for how to pray, like a checkbox you can work your way through to get God’s attention. John is not much for long prayers, certainly not long public prayers. He just describes what Jesus felt and said—sometimes aloud, sometimes in quiet contemplation—in the presence of his daddy.

The insinuation, of course, is that we would do well to live in the presence of God as casually as Jesus. There are a number of interesting anecdotes and thoughtful opinions sprinkled throughout, but I’d say the flavor of the book is really more inspirational than exegetical or instructional. Part of the charm is the Bible translation. Henson quotes scripture using his own favored “Good as New” translation, which is very down-to-earth, if a bit assuming. (See Good as New: A Radical Retelling of the Scriptures by Henson.) Personally, I like it! You’ll pick up on its idiosyncrasies as you go. Rocky: Peter. Bart: Bartholomew. John the Dipper: you can guess that one.

A good book for moderates, both conservative and liberal.


  1. Kibbles

    I’m not sure I understand your last sentence. Was “moderates” supposed to be “Christians”, or were you suggesting that this would specifically be good for moderates even if they had a slight conservative or liberal bent (but not enough of a bent to land them in the full-on “conservative” or “liberal” camp)?

    I’m not trying to be overly semantical. I suspect from the context that you meant the former, but I wanted clarification, as you don’t see many books these days that appeal specifically to moderates; most Christian writers are too busy demagoguing to the edges to worry about the disaffected middle.

  2. John Henson is a liberal Christian (progressive Christian) but moderately so. He usually takes the Bible quite literally where it describes the words and actions of Jesus. Just as an example, he points out that Jesus’ words on the cross, “father forgive them, for they know not what they do,” appear to be a later addition to Luke, but nevertheless he is quick to argue that surely Jesus uttered those very words.

    I cannot see this book offending conservatives, unless they’re overly so.

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