About this book: When you talk to God, do you ever wonder if He hears? Do your prayers feel uninspired or routine? Do you sometimes feel like you don’t even know how to pray?
Try praying upside down.
Let artist and author Kelly O’Dell Stanley show you what white space, sketching, point of view, and other artistic ideas reveal to us about how to pray—and experience a deeper connection with God than ever before. Praying Upside Down will move your prayers away from the preconceived and expected, allowing you to encounter God in a brand new way. It’s a fresh chance to add passion to your prayers and notice answers you never anticipated.
Jesus was known for turning situations upside down . . . and He will do the same in your prayer life. And because God is the ultimate creator and the original artist, when you incorporate this unique approach to prayer, you will encounter more of Him.
About the author: Kelly O’Dell Stanley has had a twenty-year career in marketing and advertising. Her writing awards include first place in Inspirational Writing in the Writer’s Digest Competition, and her visual work has been included in several design anthologies. Kelly lives in Indiana with her husband, Tim, and their three children: Katie, Anna, and Bobby.
Genre: Nonfiction/Christian Life/Prayer
Why I read this book: To discover outside-the-box ideas to enhance and expand my prayer life.
Reminds me of… Framing Faith by Matt Knisely
Will especially appeal to…pray-ers of all sorts–but artists and creatives, in particular.
This story matters because… when we stretch our prayers–and thereby ourselves–we find fresh hope, inspiration, power, and purpose in our communications with God.
My take: This is, for me, a season of prayer. There is so much and so many in my life that need it right now, starting with myself and my own heart issues and the unique challenges I face. Then there’s my friend’s son and his as-yet-undiagnosed health problem. And another friend’s marriage. Also my writing, needing stamina. And my children needing–well, everything. My parents, in a phase of transition. Oh, and what about our poor, lost nation? Then there’s our suffering world. And on and on.
It’s not lost on me, either, that on this day–as I’m posting about a book on prayer–my revival-seeking church is hosting a round-the-clock, 24-hour prayer vigil.
Prayer. For every Christian, it’s a central part of our faith, this ability to talk to God. An unimaginable gift.
Why, then, do we often find it so hard?
Perhaps because, given enough time, our prayers fall into what’s comfortable and all-too-familiar. There, they begin to sound bland. Monotonous. One-dimensional.
I’ll admit–mine do. Which is why having Praying Upside Down placed in my hands was such a serendipitous thing. Okay, scratch that. It was a God thing. (Isn’t it always? Yes. That’s another thing the book reminds us of–that God is in everything. We need only the eyes to see Him.)
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Using liberal amounts of Scripture to support her ideas, Kelly O’Dell Stanley has brought welcome, fresh perspective to so many of my prayers. Hers is an authentic voice for our generation, humble yet experienced, reminiscent of Shauna Niequist or Jennifer Dukes Lee. If I had to boil her book down to one point, I’d say it demonstrates how to remove “me” from the center of my prayers. Which is such a relief, really. It broadens my perspective. It offers creative, coloring-outside-the-lines suggestions that are also very practical. And so much more.
Some of the ideas I’ve put immediately into practice include praying in the white space–and, similarly, allowing white space to remain so as to allow God to talk back.
But I don’t want to give all the good stuff away. The book says it so much better than I ever could.
What I will say is this: Praying Upside Down has, quite literally, changed my prayer life for good. I know it can do the same for yours.
Thanks to The Blog Spot for providing me a free copy to review. All opinions are mine.
After words: Do you have a favorite time of day to pray? Me, I’m a morning person, and that’s when I do my most focused, intentional praying. But I’m learning more and more to pray in all the in-between moments–the white space, as Kelly O’Dell Stanley calls it. For a busy mom, this is an exceedingly practical suggestion. Another practice I’m finding very helpful–because it keeps me focused in a tactile way–is praying with a rosary, or prayer beads. As I grew up in the Protestant tradition, this is new to me, but it’s just one among many Catholic traditions I’ve come to appreciate. How about you? What are some of your favorite praying “tricks”?