Reading and Praying

I finally finished reading Naked Spirituality: A Life with God in 12 Simple Words, by Brian McLaren.  What a wonderful, refreshing look at prayer!

I don’t want to give too much away.  I think this book is best appreciated by reading it for yourself and engaging with God in prayer.  Even trying to summarize feels flat to me, like trying to describe a taste or a smell.  One can get close, relating it to something known by the other person.  But it will never be exact.

McLaren takes us through stages of prayer, likening them to seasons of spiritual life.  He has chosen a particular analogy, but I think it’s fair to say that there are many ways to view the stages in the book.  Of greater importance is actively participating, using the categories of prayer and spiritual growth not as rigid commands but as flexible guides.  There is natural flow from one season to another, but I suspect that many people will find themselves moving in and out among the different seasons with a little less order.

At the outset, McLaren connects with those people who consider themselves “spiritual, but not religious.”  There is a growing body of people, particularly young adults, who have become disillusioned with church and all its trappings.  Yet they are crying out to experience God more deeply.  But this book is not only for those of us who feel let down by the way we “do church.”  Everyone can benefit from stripping down our souls to their very core, being utterly naked and unashamed before our God.  For anyone wanting to move toward a more meaningul prayer life, this book is for you.

If I were to attempt a summary of the book, I would not be able to convey the ways in which my heart has been changed and my prayer life intensified.  Instead, I will spend the next several posts offering prayers that have come to me as I read and reflected.  I urge you to pick up the book yourself.  Read it alone or with others, and make a habit of praying through it regularly.  You won’t regret it.

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