Endorsements of Divine Echoes 2018-12-22T20:35:05+00:00

“Mark Karris’ deeply honest and realistic discussion of petitionary prayer is a book that has the potential of giving profound help to those who believe in prayer but are so often frustrated and disappointed. That is a large community. If we know what to pray for and when to pray, our faith may be restored. That is no small gift.”

–John B. Cobb Jr., an American theologian, philosopher, and environmentalist

“Too often Christians fail to think theologically when they pray. That may seem odd because prayer is a profoundly theological activity. But Christians too often pray while simultaneously ignoring their theological questions, doubts, and past experiences. Mark Karris offers a compelling antidote: genuine theological reflection on what prayer is and why petitionary prayer doesn’t always yield the results we seek. His proposals may shock you, but good medicine can sometimes do that. I highly recommend Mark’s book!”

–Thomas Jay Oord, author of 20+ books, including The Uncontrolling Love of God

“Mark Karris begins this book with two heartbreaking stories of unanswered prayer from his own life. These stories set the stage for an honest and courageous rethinking of what it means to pray for others. He makes accessible some of the most important thinking going on in the theological community today about God’s relationship to creation and the purposes of prayer. He will take you to a place where your prayers can be more honest, where God’s love is completely trustworthy, and where you enter into a deep partnership with God.”

–Brian D. McLaren, author of The Great Spiritual Migration

“I think Mark Karris’ book is extremely important for the church to read and understand. His premise that God is a God of uncontrolling love is right on target. His critique of my prayer at the Democratic National Convention was also right on target. If I had thought the thoughts that he had eloquently set down in his book, I would have prayed differently.”

-Tony Campolo, speaker, author, sociologist, pastor, and social activist.

“What an important work of spiritual guidance Karris is offering. No more begging and instructing God to do this or that—and suffering the endless disappointments! Instead, Karris teaches with his vividly inviting prose and wise theology an honestly loving and effectual ‘conspiring prayer’ practice for the benefit of the church and the world.

–Catherine Keller, George T. Cobb Professor of Constructive Theology, Drew Theological School 

“The personal and vulnerable stories shared, the compelling theological understanding of prayer presented, and a new and persuasive paradigm of petitionary prayer proposed makes this provocative book an invaluable work that belongs in everyone’s library.”

–Grace Ji-Sun Kim, Associate Professor of Theology at Earlham School of Religion,

“This is one of the best books on prayer I have ever read. It not only addresses the questions of why we should pray and what prayer is, but also the more important questions of how prayer works and how God works with us to see more of our prayers answered. After reading this book, you will stop praying to God and start conspiring with God and become the vital change we all desperately desire to see in the world.” 

–J. D. Myers, author of What is Prayer? How to Pray to God Like You Talk to a Friend

“As a life-long intercessor who doesn’t know how to pray (Rom. 8:26), I have nevertheless observed with Bishop Tutu that God does nothing in this world without a willing human partner. Mark Karris articulates this beautifully, developing a coherent theology and practice of petitionary prayer that honors the language of divine kenosis and human participation. He portrays and proclaims a caring, non-coercive God who loves the world through our agency.”

–Brad Jersak, author of A More Christlike God: A More Beautiful Gospel

“This is really a provocative and inspirational book!”

–Bruce Epperly, author, or co-author, of over forty books, including Praying with Process Theology: Spiritual Practices for Personal and Planetary Healing

“In my work with people I’ve seen the harm caused by toxic and limited notions of prayer. Many are left wondering why their prayers went unanswered or feeling defeated because they apparently didn’t have enough or the right kind of faith. As a therapist and theologian Mark Karris is uniquely equipped to help us navigate perplexing questions about prayer. Divine Echoes explores why we don’t always get what we want and how disappointment can move us towards deeper intimacy and trust. If you are skeptical or have given up on petitionary prayer, this book might help you renew your practice and see prayer in a whole new way.”

–Mark Scandrette, author of Belonging and Becoming and Practicing the Way of Jesus

“Petitionary prayer is one of the Christian hard knots to untangle, for not only does it seem that petitionary prayers frequently go unanswered, but we presume that God can and should step in and unilaterally make things right. Karris, in a very readable and provocative book, helpfully challenges petitioners to be the very hands and feet of God in the world, implementing his loving concern for all.”

–Bruce R. Reichenbach, Professor Emeritus, Augsburg College, author of Divine Providence: God’s Love and Human Freedom

Divine Echoes is an excellent and thought-provoking treatise on the topic of petitionary prayer! It is movingly written, well-researched, filled with down-to-earth anecdotes and gentle argumentation. Mark Karris speaks to the curious mind and the hungry heart, helping us enter into a sacred activity that helps complete our humanity and bring forth health, healing, and wholeness to the world. Mark’s proposed model of prayer, which he calls ‘Conspiring Prayer’, becomes an act of intimacy by which we grow closer to the Unity in whose loving presence we live and move and have our being. It also brings us closer to the people we already want to become: channels of loving grace in a broken but beautiful world.”

–Jay McDaniel, Professor of Religion, Hendrix College, author of Replanting Ourselves in Beauty: Toward an Ecological Civilization

 “I am impressed with both the religious depth and the theological sophistication of this passionate interpretation of prayer. Many other readers will also find this a most helpful meditation on the meaning and power of petitionary prayer.”

–John F. Haught, distinguished research professor, Georgetown University, author of Resting on the Future

“Mark Karris asks the hard questions about prayer that many of us are afraid to ask. By appealing to both Scripture and reason, he develops a new path forward and illustrates it with practical applications involving situations we all face.  If you struggle with petitionary prayer, as I do, you should really consider Karris’ approach, whether or not you end up adopting it as your own.”

–Scott A. Davison, Professor of Philosophy, Morehead State University, author of Petitionary Prayer: A Philosophical Investigation

“How many times do our prayers consist of throwing a bunch of requests against a proverbial wall and seeing what sticks? What happens when we pray for God to act in the world? In Divine Echoes, Mark Karris masterfully breaks down the myths and mechanisms of praying for divine intervention. Drawing on the idea of essential kenosis, Karris offers a model for petitionary prayer that is powered by the uncontrolling  love of God and enacted through the libertarian free will given to humankind. Instead of merely praying to God and hoping that God acts, Karris enjoins the reader to pray with God, partnering with the good work God is already bringing about in the world.”

–R. Anderson Campbell, co-author of Praying for Justice: A Lectionary of Christian Concern

Divine Echoes is an exceptionally fine reflection on the meaning of petitionary prayer. This book should find a warm reception in congregational study-groups, seminaries and divinity schools, as well as with anyone genuinely interested in pursuing a deeper understanding of prayer.”

–Owen F. Cummings, Academic Dean and Regents’ Professor of Theology at Mount Angel Seminary, author of over eighteen publications, including Thinking About Prayer


“People who intentionally set aside time to prayerfully listen and conspire with God, humbly opening themselves up to receive God’s wavelengths of love, and creatively and subversively reverberate them out to the world around them.”