"Everything that one turns in the direction of God is prayer," said Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus. Richard Foster calls his favorite type of devotion "praying the ordinary." It is serving God in the regular rhythms of the day in our own experiences. Margaret Silf, an ecumenical Christian who writes and leads retreats, would agree with both of these perspectives. In this reader-friendly paperback, she addresses some of the central questions of seekers: What is prayer? Why would I pray? Who am I praying to? When can I pray? Where shall I pray? How do I pray? Does it work? For her as for Foster, prayer is an activity that draws out the sacred in the ordinary. Or as she puts it, "A way of prayer is right if it draws you into a living relationship with God, the kind of relationship that makes a difference, to what you say and do, and who you are."
Silf presents suggestions for prayers that can fill the many idle moments during the day, such as waiting in a line or in an office. She believes in carrying others in our prayers such as a family in trouble or a city dealing with devastation. She outlines the ancient ritual of Examen, where one takes time to look back on the past twenty-four hours and see what brought sorrow or joy, pain or pleasure. Silf protects the Mystery of God and the diversity of human experience by not pinning down or rigidly defining the experience of prayer. She concludes, "Prayer is not something we do, but a way of living, in growing awareness of the greater reality, in which we live and breathe." That is why she makes a place on these pages for stillness, the search for meaning, and the grace of God.