Many believers feel their prayer life is stuck in a rut. Having said the same phrases over and over again, they feel guilty about their lack of enthusiasm for this universal ritual. Jennie Leigh Isbell, an experienced spiritual director, and J. Brent Bill, a writer, retreat leader, and Quaker minister, address this malaise in this book on "crafting a fresh language of prayer."
The authors agree that prayer is the most important conversation that we have every day. The words we choose are important to us and to God. One way of enriching our prayer life is to practice "grace-spotting." The Creator is working wonders all around us and within us, but we have to be on the lookout for them.
We loved the quotation from Elaine Emmi where she says: "Please, dear God, thank you for the amazing opportunities you have given me to answer to that of God in other people." Panentheism enables us to see the presence of the Divine not only in people but also in places, animals, plants, and objects. When we start with the events and circumstances of our daily life, our prayer life can reflect that kind of inclusiveness.
There are many names for God and using different ones opens our minds to fresh ways to connect with the Holy One. Praying in crowded and noisy places is good practice, as is sending out "arrow prayers," spontaneously seeking the well-being of strangers.
Isbell and Bill describe many other types of prayers to help you reboot this devotional practice. They also offer journal exercises for discerning which ones you want to adopt. We especially connected with this wise bit of advice:"Prayer gives us time to focus our thoughts on the important things of life and faith. Prayer helps us connect with the God who desires to be known. Sometimes there are surprises to be uncovered along the way about what God is calling us to do or be. We change and grow until our very last breath."