Return To Our Senses: Re-Imagining How We Pray (Book Review)
My friend and Executive Director of Mustard Seed Associates, Christine Sine, recently sent me her excellent new book ‘Return To Our Senses: Re-Imagining How We Pray‘. If you are anything like me, making time for rhythms of prayer in your daily activities is often a struggle. Beyond that, actually quieting yourself and sitting down and talking with the LORD can be a practical challenge -something akin to taming a tree full of monkeys! While Christine seeks to affirm and draw us back into ancient Christian traditions of prayer, in her new book she also seeks to break the mold for how we think about and practice prayer. Instead of offering a formulaic approach to a successful prayer life, Christine invites us to reengage our spiritual imaginations – to rediscover the love of GOD and the joy of unceasing conversation with Him. She offers plain advice and inspiration for what’s possible.
In the beginning of the book she takes true aim at our modern tendencies toward constant busyness, prayerlessness and the timeless pitfall of empty religious rituals:
“In a culture with short attention spans that applauds multitasking and encourages distraction, we need tools that sharpen our ability to hear GOD’s voice. We need fresh ways to express our prayers both in and out of church, rediscovering the powerful possibilities that our church communities offer to awaken both our experiences of traditional prayers and our experimentation with new forms…
In a society that spends less and less time in church and with traditional prayer practices, we also need to explore ordinary everyday activities that stir our imaginations and stimulate our senses to develop new ways to express prayer. Taking photos, walking through a forest, hunting for shells on the seashore, even working with the homeless in the heart of the city are all possible acts of prayer. These everyday activities are not just the place of prayer for many of us, they are the place where faith becomes real and tangible.
Many Christians I talk to are bored with the limitations of prescribed, traditional methods of prayer. They are tired of talking to GOD without any apparent response. They are afraid to admit that their prayer life has become stale, and their spiritual disciplines empty rituals. Some have made their boredom an excuse to give up praying altogether.” (p.2)
While I may not fully agree with every prayer practice that Christine presents in the book, I found it to be a refreshing exploration of ways to reignite a prayer life that has fallen cold or merely in need of a creative awakening. Christine writes in a personal style with a mix of inspiring narrative, insights into an embodied Christian spirituality and practical theology. This is a treasure chest of wisdom from a spiritual mother in the faith. If you are looking for ways to incorporate rhythms of prayer into your daily life this is a deeply insightful guide from someone who is walking the talk on a journey towards a more holistic Christian faith.
For further resources check out Christine’s: ‘Return to Our Senses: Study Guide” (free download)
(Editor’s Note- Disclosure: Sustainable Traditions receives free review books including the book reviewed above. SustainableTraditions.com is an independent website free to express opinions and reviews unhindered by any contractual requirements to any publishers or organizations.)