"We are all pray-ers and have been praying longer and in more ways than most of us realize. Since we are born into relationship with God, prayer is knit into the fiber of our being; and we have the opportunity to pray in an infinite number of ways. Some prayers will arise spontaneously; some will be learned from the teachings of parents and church leaders; and others will be stumbled upon as we move through life," writes Jane Vennard, a United Church of Christ pastor and Senior Adjunct Faculty of prayer and spirituality at the Iliff School of Theology in Denver, Colorado. She is a spiritual director, retreat leader, and author of five books. This paperback is part of the Companions in Christ series and was written with Stephen Bryant, editor and publisher of Upper Room Ministries; he is responsible for the daily exercises in this Participant's Book designed for a ten-week journey.
Vennard makes praying into a sacred adventure. She suggests that we try different names for God according to the theme of our prayer. There are sections on the Jesus Prayer and creating breath prayers. She quotes Augustine before considering a variety of musical prayers including congregational singing and chanting.
The mystic Evelyn Underhill reminds us: "It has always been the Christian view that every bit of work done toward God is a prayer." Vennard illustrates this point very well. We like her observations on finding icons in ordinary surroundings. We also appreciate her examples of embodied prayer which enables us to express our gratitude to God through movement and energy. Other sections cover praying with scripture through Lectio Divina, self-examination, contemplative prayer, praying with and for others, and prayer and social transformation.
This excellent paperback gives us plenty of ways to jump-start our devotional life.