B.L.I.S.S.--Books Lead Into Soul Searching

Book worm--that's me.  I love to read--my mother took me to the public library for summer reading programs beginning the summer I had completed second grade.  I began reading to my children before they were a year old.  Naturally, I jumped at the opportunity to be a reviewer for the Upper Room Reviews (The Upper Room is a United Methodist Publishing House).  I follow The Upper Room on Twitter, and I "like/am a fan" of The Upper Room on Facebook.  This means that you will regularly be seeing reviews of books that I have chosen to read, and of course I will be recommending them here, on Twitter and Facebook.  The really fun part of this process is that I get to select the books from a list The Upper Room provides, and I love that part as there are so many books I want to read--the list is always growing.  I also use a Barnes and Noble Color Nook and an iPad 2 along with hard cover/soft cover books in my reading so right now I am in the process of reading four books.

Praying in the Messiness of Life, 7 ways to renew your relationship with God by Linda Douty is my first review for the Upper Room Reviews.  I first learned about this book when reading the daily Upper Room Reflection that I subscribe to electronically.  There were several daily devotions early this year posted from this book.  These devotions always have the cover of the book displayed, with a quote from the book, author and page number listed.  Here's the link if you would like to subscribe (it's smart phone friendly--displays for smart phone format and readability): http://www.upperroom.org/daily/

Linda Douty speaks to my personality type when it comes to prayer, and I found from reading about her background that she has studied Jungian psychology which is the basis for the Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator for which I am a certified consultant.  She and I prefer "extroversion" which means our energy is directed outward--if we think it we say it, and we gain more energy from conversation among many people and from being with a lot of people.  This makes silence and quiet time a struggle although we fully admit that there are times when we crave and need silence and quiet.

Praying in the Messiness of Life, 7 ways to renew your relationship with God offers seven chapters/seven ways to pray that, when you commit to trying them consistently on a daily basis for the long-term, will help you to obtain the silence and quiet prayer life that you need.  The author is operating in reality too, as her ways for achieving this prayer life recognize that the stages of our lives often mean that prayer not only takes on different ways it is also formed through the experiences of our lives and the ways we can learn to be observant of God in all circumstances and times.  For example, in the introduction, Breaking Out of the Prayer Box, Douty gives an overview that, I think, describes most everyone's life at one time or another.  She then proceeds to give practical and applicable ways to learn to practice prayer--your relationship with God who created you and wants to spend time with you in the messiness of your life.

Chapter 5, Praying with the Silence, spoke loudly to me.

Our experiences of God are as varied as our faces, but there is one divine language that enriches the growth of introverts and extroverts alike--the language of silence.  The sound of silence can be deafening and disturbing.  It can feel like a colossal waste of time.  I used to harbor secret judgmental feelings about its practitioners.  After all, I reasoned, why sit mute and motionless when you could be feeding the homeless or healing the sick or doing something productive, for goodness' sake?  At best, I considered silent practice as one of many forms of prayer,a mere appetizer on the rich buffet of spiritual options to partake of--or not.  Silence had to change my life before I could change my mind. (pp. 62-63)

Douty then gives seven ways to practice silence--certainly one of these will work for me, and I have committed to using one of these practices again for the summer months to make silence a part of my prayer life.  Questions for reflection are provided at the end of each chapter.  Guidelines for Group Use are provided in the book's appendix, and this book would be an excellent choice for small group use.
If you are looking for a book on prayer that will speak to your life and provide you with multiple prayer practices that are applicable for all the ages and stages of a life journey, then this book will not disappoint you..  Easy to read with 94 pages, not including the appendix, this is a book that will help you in Praying in the Messiness of Life.

I received this book free from Upper Room Books as part of their Book Review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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