I have mixed feelings about this book. The author is involved in a twelve-step program, as are many of the people she interviews. I have a great respect for AA and other similar groups, but in this book, the “higher power” most often espoused seems to be a God of the person’s own making, not the God of the Bible. The author states that:
“Their conceptions of God varied from ‘an energy’ to ‘best friend’ to benevolent something’, from Baptist to Catholic, Buddhist to Hindu, but all agreed that God is real and we can contact God.”
She even advises readers to “create the god you would like to talk to.”
If you can put all that aside, and it isn’t easy, she offers many good suggestions for journaling and prayer practices. Every page also offers quotes about prayer (I love quotes!), but once again they are a mixed bag using the words of traditional Christians (including Martin Luther) along with others that are Buddhist, Hindu or just secular.
VERDICT: 4 for readability and practical suggestions; 0 for theology. Be sure you are able to separate the wheat from the chaff if you decide to read this one. Certainly not a book to recommend to young or new believers.
For more about prayer see these posts:
The Holy Spirit and Prayer
A Prayer of Surrender
The Lord’s Prayer with commentary by Rick Warren–Book Review
I received this book free on my kindle from https://www.bookbub.com (if you haven’t signed up, check it out as a source for free and discounted books). I used it as part of my morning devotional time, reading a chapter each day.
In each chapter author Sarah Bowling describes a different prayer technique. Many are well-known — the daily examen, lectio divina. Others are less familiar, but all are biblically based and practical. For example, she suggests reading some of the Psalms of David alongside the events that were transpiring at the time the psalm was written.
Sarah gives examples from her own experience, and in some cases interviews friends to give different perspectives. She emphasizes the two-way aspect of prayer — not just talking to God but also listening. She also encourages sticking with a particular method for a while, but also moving on to try something different if a practice becomes dry, or just doesn’t work for you.
Best of all, there were questions at the end of each chapter that I used for journaling. At the end of the book, there is a short recap of each method.
VERDICT: 5 STARS. I loved it and highly recommend it to anyone who wants to deepen their prayer life
For more about prayer see:
Prayer Disciplines Part 1
Be Thou My Vision by Jonathan Gibson–Book Review
Learning to Pray by James Martin, SJ–Book Review