Reading Pete Greig’s new book, Dirty Glory: Go Where Your Best Prayers Take You, was for me, at once unsettling and deeply moving, frustrating and fulfilling, intriguing and disconcerting. I laughed out loud and wept as well, and often had more questions than answers. Yet, with every page, I found myself yearning for more of God. This, more than anything, is why you need to read it.
I was first exposed to Pete Greig through the 24/7 prayer movement back at the turn of the century. His book, Red Moon Rising, chronicling the unlikely ways God was working through ordinary people who dared to pray, catalyzed believers throughout the world to take a chance and see for themselves. A few years later he would write what some might consider a strange sequel called God on Mute. This turned out to be one of the best books on prayer I’d ever read, and in fact is in my top five books on prayer. Weened on the classics of prayer, this is about as high of a recommendation as I could give. (To find out what my other four are, or to order this one, click here.)
That’s why the minute I heard Greig had written another book, this one telling the story of what God has done through the prayer movement in the intervening years, leading up till now, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. The book did not disappoint—I couldn’t put it down once I started, and now I want to go back and re-read it, just to take notes and ponder more thoughtfully.
Pete is a phenomenal storyteller and the tales in this book are mind-boggling. From transvestites with prophetic words to frat brothers getting saved in droves, to blessings from the Vatican itself—you will be continually stunned and overwhelmed at how God works as people pray. I might add that Greig’s style is winsome, and he’s also very funny.
But perhaps more importantly, Pete is a teacher, and you will glean a boatload of important principles on prayer and mission from this book. In one example, he spends a couple of pages outlining four reasons we tend not to pray in the face of terrible disasters—limited worldview, low self-esteem, doubts about prayer and practical questions as to how to pray. The way he unpacks these simple truths is worth the price of the book!
I often look to the end of a book early on, just to see where an author is going to take me. I’m really glad I did this with Dirty Glory. In the final pages, Pete offers a “Disclaimer about miracles,” that made me breathe a little easier and be grateful for God’s work all around me. I won’t give it away, but you might want to check page 321 out sooner, rather than later.
As a bonus, the book includes small group reflection questions, and I can’t think of a better way to assimilate all of this than with thoughtful conversations among friends. The prompts in the study guide (written by Hannah Heather) are excellent.
Finally, if you just need a good laugh, turn to the very end for Pete’s glossary of American and British terms (he is a Brit who has lived in America). It is a lot of fun and might come in handy in your travels one day.
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Tricia McCary Rhodes
Passionate about spiritual formation, slightly obsessed with technology and the soul, author of 8 books, affiliate professor at Fuller Seminary, wife of one, mom of two, grandma of four.