How is your prayer life going? Do you need a boost? Are things there seeming like the same old, same old? If you’re needing something in this area, but you don’t know exactly what, then you’re going to love this book. The BlogAbout Blogger Network was so very kind to send me a copy of Kelly O’Dell Stanley’s Designed to Pray: Creative Ways to Engage With God to use myself–as well as a copy for one special reader to win!
So how is your prayer life, anyway?
I will admit to you that my own times of prayer have really undergone a beating in the last four years. Two abdominal surgeries (which left quite a mark on my overall stamina and energy) plus job challenges took my own faith to a place that I never expected it would go. Did I believe in God? Yes, of course. Did I spend time in God’s Word? Yes. But even as I read the Bible’s truths, I struggled to apply them to myself; to believe that God really was FOR me, in my corner, loving and upholding me.
But (and here’s where we insert a “yay!”), I’m journeying back. Receiving healing. Able more and more to receive God’s truths for myself. But I still could see that my prayer life needed…life.
Enter Designed to Pray: Creative Ways to Engage With God
I will not be exaggerating if I tell you that this book has made more of an impact on my prayer life than any other resource I’ve ever found on prayer. It has been a delight. It has caused me to see God differently–more truly what He is. It has enabled me to desire prayer more fully, and to enjoy connecting with Him. It has made my morning prayer time SO FUN.
It has been just what I needed at a moment when I really needed SOMEthing, but didn’t know exactly what.
So how can a book do all that?
Kelly O’Dell Stanley, who already authored a book on prayer called Praying Upside Down, kept having ideas about journaling prayer. Designing something for people to use that would help them see God, hear Him, know Him, get closer to Him, that could engage them both individually and creatively. A book that could take the reader on an interactive & joyful journey.
Designed to Pray provides a unique journey on prayer that I’m pretty sure nobody has ever taken before. O’Dell Stanley has designed 8 weeks’ worth of daily exercises on prayer which will enable the reader to use her own creativity, colored pencils and pens to venture into prayer in ways that are exciting, encouraging, and uplifting. The weeks’ titles include:
- “Fumbling into God’s Presence”
- “The Faith of a Child”
- “Creativity…or Connecting the Dots to See God”
- “We’re All in This Together (Praying with or for Others)”
- “A Personal God (Knowing God, Knowing Yourself)”
- and three more
Each of these chapters begins with an introduction from O’Dell Stanley that sets the tone for the week’s activities and prayers. Then, the reader is given 7 different activities, one each for every day that week, Sunday through Saturday.
How can art & creativity take you into God’s presence?
It’s all about the activities, the grace and fun behind them, and what Kelly O’Dell Stanley has designed them to do; engage with God on a heart level. Sometimes, I started with a page the author designed with some beautiful doodles in one corner, and doodled more…then wrote prayer items in the spaces. Another time, I wrote lists of things I was thankful for like rays of the sun. Once I lettered the words to a children’s song about Jesus’ love. Sometimes I got to color!
One pivotal day, I wrote down fears that kept me from praying. Honestly, these were sort of buried in my mind and I wasn’t consciously aware of them. But when the author asked the right questions, out they came…and I was able to progress beyond them.
I like artsy stuff. I teach art at our homeschool coop. I have just jumped into Bible journaling. I like to “do” art with my child.
I am not, however, a “trained” artist. But I’ve found over my years as a mom and a homeschooling mom in particular, that art does something in me that nothing else does. It encourages me. It removes me a step from life’s pressures and helps me to take a breath. It provides cool times for connection with my son.
So, combining creativity with prayer? It felt very natural. It created real connection points between me and God (okay, He was there already, but it helped me to reach for Him). It moved me to pray and think about things that I probably wouldn’t have otherwise.
Best of all, it breathed new life into my prayer times. It made me WANT to pray. It showed me that connecting with God can happen in new and beautiful ways. It helped me to start my days with joy and a real knowing that He is there.
To me, that’s an amazing outcome from a book! (I have to tell you that when I finish this book, I am thinking that I need to purchase a fresh one and work thru all the exercises and activities again!)
Who could use this book?
- Someone who is worn out with legalism and the “right” way to do things
- A mom who wants to pray but doesn’t feel like she has a lot of time
- A person who’d like to pray but doesn’t know how
- Someone whose soul needs touches of beauty
- And anyone else who’d like to know that God loves and cares for them
My recommendations…and a chance for you to win!
If you see yourself in the list above…if you’d like to bring more beauty and joy to your prayer times…or if you’d just like to connect with the God who loves you in a new way, get a copy of Kelly O’Dell Stanley’s Designed to Pray: Creative Ways to Engage With God!
And, you can enter to win a copy now! (Giveaway ends February 10, 2017.) Just click on the pink link below to go to the Giveaway Tools form to enter!
I loved DESIGNED TO PRAY so much that I selected 3 winners! (1 gets the copy from Blog about Network, and the others from FINCHNWREN.) Congratulations to Diane P, Kayla F, and Savannah H!
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