But last year I helped (read: was a warm body) in an art class for our homeschool co-op. As the teacher talked about things like seeing shapes, contour drawing, and drawing upside-down, I caught a little glimmer of what she was talking about. The next Sunday I found myself looking at the hymnal rack at church and breaking it down into shapes so I could sketch it next to my sermon notes. I had begun to find a different way of seeing.
That idea of seeing the world through an artist’s eyes is what drew me to Kelly O’Dell Stanley’s book, Praying Upside Down: A Creative Prayer Experience to Transform Your Time with God. In Praying Upside Down Stanley explores how concepts such as perspective, white space, and sketching can impact your prayer life. Stanley shares honestly from her own faith journey, and each chapter provides a fresh perspective on prayer as well as suggestions for creative practices to incorporate into your prayer life.
I appreciated how honest the author was about her struggles with God and prayer in this book. She writes from a place of faith, but she’s also honest enough to talk about what we do when we feel God has got it wrong somehow. How do we press through in faith and prayer when we struggle with grief and doubt? Her stories about the sale of her home and the loss of her mother were poignant and powerful. I also appreciated the communal focus of the book. Stanley rightfully places prayer in the context of community. Some books on prayer tend to treat it as a solo sport, and one of the strengths of this book is that the author reminds us that we both need to pray for others and to be prayed for.
One of my favorite parts of the book were the Prayer Palette suggestions included in each chapter. In this section Stanley includes prayer experiences such as creating a prayer string, writing a screenplay, trading prayers with a friend, and doodling as a record of your prayer focus. I appreciate her creativity, and there are several ideas she suggests I want to incorporate into my prayer time over the next few weeks.
There are several resources for the book on Kelly’s website, including video content, downloads, and an 8-week study guide for small groups or individual use. I’d recommend this book to anyone who wants to inject some creativity into their prayer life–artist or not.
I received a free copy of this book through the Blog Spot. All thoughts and opinions are my own. I was not required to give a positive review.
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