This emotion-filled book is designed for parents and anyone who talks with children, but we suspect it will also guide and inform the spiritual practices of enthusiasm and being present in any adult willing to wade in.

It’s designed as a book for “Active Kids” (as the subtitle says), but wouldn’t it be good if the average adult practiced prayer, enthusiasm, and being present with as much intention as a child?

Jennifer Grant — an Episcopalian writing with a broad understanding and acceptance of people on any spiritual path — begins by defining prayer: “being open to God, as strange as that may sound. Part of this ‘being open’ is knowing that God is a mystery, and that people have always used different names to describe God and different ways to talk to God.”

She aims to use each short chapter to introduce a different name for God that’s found in the Bible. Some of them — “She Who Speaks Life” and “Mother of Mountains” for instance — may surprise you. These are then springboards for new ways of prayer that are active, involving the body.

“Sing” and “Listen” may seem obvious enough, but then there is “Touch.” The spiritual practice suggestion at the end of the “Touch” chapter goes like this:

“1. Open your hands and hold them in front of you, palms up. Imagine that you are opening yourself to God. Close your eyes and just sit quietly with your hands open.

“2. Just as Jesus traced a prayer in the dust [she tells this story from the Gospels earlier], you can trace a prayer with your fingers. Trace the labyrinth on this page as a prayer.” A simple hand-drawn labyrinth appears on the page just below.

A few short chapters later and we come upon “Laugh,” which includes a practice of writing your own knock-knock prayer to God.

Several chapters later and “Cry” (see the spiritual practice accompanying this review) makes it clear that prayer is serious, like life, too.

The chapter, “Wrestle,” was our favorite. It invites readers and pray-ers to “offer all our feelings to God, even tangled and painful and angry ones.” One of many practice suggestions at chapter’s end is this one: “Find an extra shoelace or a piece of cord, and tie knots in it. Pull them tight, and then work to untangle them. Imagine that these knots are your worries or unhappy feelings and that God is smoothing them out for you.”

try a spiritual practice on being present