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Exploring Prayer

Lion Hudson
RRP $18.95.

This little gem from the Questions of Faith series is a delightful introduction to the varieties of ways in which Christians seek to open themselves to God through personal prayer and prayer with others.

The first nine segments explore “What is Prayer?” under the headings: encounter; celebration; awareness; ask, seek, knock; listening; lamenting and penitence; carrying and holding; binding and loosing; and teach us to pray. This last segment provides a guided way of praying the Lord’s Prayer.

The remaining eleven segments explore “how to pray” and offer a rich feast for the senses including praying with pictures, music, taste and smell, touch, words, imagination and movement.

Exploring Prayer draws on a storehouse of wisdom from within the Christian tradition, each segment (they are really too small to be called chapters) explores a different way to pray.

The visually beautiful format includes evocative photographs, relevant biblical passages and quotes from Christian poets and writers, both ancient and contemporary. Overall there are forty prayer exercises to try.

Sue Mayfield invites us to become open to fresh ways of encountering God’s presence in prayer, reminding us that some ways of praying might be appropriate for us at different times in our life while there may be others to which we might want to return to again and again.

Pray the way you can, not the way you can’t, she suggests, while at the same time being open to new possibilities for deepening our responsiveness to God.

This small and modest book is rich with unexpected depths.

Exploring Prayer is not a book that will gather dust on a forgotten shelf in my study.

Reviewed by Rev Jenny Tymms