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Book Review: Paths To Prayer06/24/11
Book Review by Rev. Barbara Page-Kell
Paths to Prayer: Finding your own way to the Presence of God: Discover Your Prayer Type and Explore 40 ways to pray from 2000 years of Christian Tradition by Patricia D. Brown.
This book has easy to follow steps to exploring different paths to prayer. You will find things that are familiar and yet learn more about that way. There is room to learn more about how you have best pray as well as looking and exploring different ways. On page 5 in the Introduction, Patricia says “Prayer is not something to be managed. Nor is it always easy.” This book is good for all people. It is good for people who lead regularly in prayer and lead others to understand prayer as well as for those who just want to learn more for their own prayer life.
The first Chapter is: An Invitation to Prayer. The book then starts out “Foundations of prayers: One Size Doesn’t Fit all” and “How do you pray? Finding your Prayer Type”. You get to explore searching prayer, experiential prayer, relationship prayer and innovative prayer. You can look at several ways just form the book or you can go deeper into any one of the 40 ways.
Take for instance the chapter on Praying with Icons. It starts out “Thoughts before you begin” which talks about what this kind of prayer is. In the chapter there are black and white pictures of the icons “the Holy Trinity”, “The Virgin of Vladimir” and “Christ the Pantocrator”. If the first 2 names sounds familiar, they are 2 of the 4 in Henri J.M. Nouwen’s book “Behold the Beauty of the Lord: Praying with Icons”. Then the Brown’s book has “Now Begin” which is actually trying this process. Then comes “Some things to think about” and “Questions for reflection”. Each chapter ends with “Other resources to continue Your Journey. In this chapter, one of the 3 books suggested, is Nouwen’s Behold the Beauty of the Lord.
You can find different books and websites that offer prayer methods for you to experience. www.upperroom.org has a drop down menu on the bottom of the page. If you go to “MethodX” you will find The Life. There is “Sacred Space”, “Prayer Methods”, “Spiritual types test”, “Saints INC” and “Prayer Wall”. It is helpful to see prayer looked at from a variety of perspectives. You may also learn why you find it easy to prayer in a certain way or why some ways are harder for you. You will learn each time you look at prayer no matter what the way it is organized. It isn’t if one way is right or wrong but how it leads you into God’s presence in a powerful way each day.
For those who would wish to dig deeper, Patricia D. Brown is on face book and has a website at www.spiritworks.org where she is the Spiritual Director. She is a United Methodist Clergy and spiritual director and offers through Spiritworks a Certificate Program in Christian Spiritual Formation to prepare Spiritual Directors, Christian Initiation Mentors, Congregational Formation Directors and Seekers Desiring Spiritual Enrichment. If you go to http://spiritworksdotorg.wordpress.com, you will find her other 9 books plus more information. The Paths to Prayer is also available on Kindle.