Prayer: Forty Days of Practice

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 13 Jan 2020

Member Reviews

Another good set of prayers by Justin McRoberts and images by Scott Erickson. I've added a few prayers to my commonplace book for future reference.
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One of my favourite books of 2018 was Every Moment Holy: New Liturgies for Daily Life, published by Rabbit Room Press. This book is quickly becoming one of my favourites for 2019. I don’t think I have ever experienced a book on prayer like Prayer: Forty Days of Practice.

There are 40 short prayers that engage the imagination in new ways as they are accompanied with visual representations of said prayers. If you’ve ever been allergic to “written prayers” allow this book to bring down that barrier brick by brick as your heart is transported to a place of joy and wonder.

McRoberts & Erickson do a masterful job as they weave six embodied practices with prayer. Throughout the book you are invited to experience the grace available in the gospel through journaling, exercise, fasting, meditation, lament, & intercession. Again, I’ve never experienced a book on prayer such as this one.

Buy this for yourself, and buy copies for your Gospel Community or small groups and drink deeply from the grace that is found in few words directed towards the Creator & Lover of your souls.
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This was a beautifully produced, thoughtful and heartfelt testimony to the personal practice of prayer. The "prayer prompts" were often surprising and original in their wording, but grounded in the timeless wisdom that always means to lead us toward the divine gifts of love and connectedness. The short essays, stories, and meditations were moving and inspiring, making me think about what small epiphanies are to be found in my own everyday life. I found the description of "lectio divina" to be especially helpful. The illustrations brought visual expression to ideas that are difficult to encompass only in words. Though small, this book would lend itself to practice over a long period of time and would unfold differently through each participant. It would be a good starting point for a prayer group or for discussion.
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I  really liked the prayers in this book and I also liked the information on various kinds of contemplative prayers. However, I was disappointed with it as it did not live up to my expectations. I had expected there to be a contemplative prayer to practice for each of the forty days as well as the prayers the author had included. Not a book for me.
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I really enjoyed this book and thought the illustrations really helped convey some of the ideas and themes discussed
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Prayer Forty Days of Practice was a book that was very simple.  I received a digital copy of this to review and the images didn’t come out very well.  Maybe with the physical book, it might be laid out well and would be a blessing but for me, with this digital copy, it was hard for me to enjoy the art.  The words at times, seemed very simply put and this made the book extremely simple and lacking to me.  The author did add in a few example stories that added to some practices and I found those to be a great addition.  In fact, I think more of that would have fixed the lacking I was feeling.
I received an ARC in digital format of this book in exchange for my honest review.

***Also posted on Amazon, CBD, B&N
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What a gem this book is! "Prayer" is made up of forty readings coupled with an illustration. Each reading is a short sentence meditation.  This way of praying has been deep and beautiful. The meditations are short enough to read several times and chew on. But they are also wise and wonderful. They have been thought-provoking and heart-provoking for me. Several times as I worked through this book during Lent, I took a screen shot of the page so I could return to it throughout the day. An example is, "May I have courage and vision to join the Divine in the places It's already working rather than feeling responsible for bringing It."

The illustration accompanying each meditation is the perfect partner. This art has been thought-provoking and heart-provoking as well. It seems like the art can bypass my left brain, and helps to sink the meditation into my soul. 

I have recommended this book to a number of people, and I will continue to return to it myself.
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A unique devotional book that includes thought-provoking illustrations, short pithy sayings and longer passages reflecting on different prayer practices.  While 40 days relates to Lent, this is really a book for the whole year.  My biggest criticism is the lack of Biblical connections.  Prayer can and does connect us with God who speaks through God's word.  Looking at that word is a strong prayer discipline, and I felt its lack in this volume.  Still, a useful tool for prayer.  
Review based on an ARC through NetGalley.
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I received an advanced digital copy of this book from and the publisher. 

This book is problematic in its theology and doctrine. It is not a book to read if you are looking for a deeper relationship to God, but a more wiggle room on how to talk to God. Much like the author and illustrators book on the Lord's Prayer, it takes huge artistic liberties.

The blurb is even doctrinally incorrect that we pray because we are human and not religious. Why you would pray if you weren't religious?

Deeply disappointing. 2 out of 5 stars. Do not recommend.
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I think this would be better in a physical book rather then on Kindle. I liked it and return to the prayers. The art work was a bit abstract for meI received this book free from the publisher for the purpose of an honest review.
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Prayer is something I’m still practicing, and I probably don’t do it enough. However, I know enough about the subject to know that you can do it any time, anywhere. So I read Justin McRoberts’ and Scott Erikson’s Prayer with some interest, hoping that I might learn a thing or two about the any time and anywhere bit. Well, as McRoberts (the author) and Erikson (the illustrator of this book) point out early on, Prayer is a book devoid of content. It’s meant to be consumed in 40 days, but you can practically flip through this book if your heart so desired. There’s a point to the lack of traditional linear content. This, it turns out, is a book of prayer prompts in a way. You look at a picture of paper airplanes or houses within a house or whatever Erikson has craftily put to ink, and you read the sentences that take up a page that McRoberts has spun, and the content comes from the dialogue that you have with God while processing these words and images.

To that end, I probably used this book wrong. For one thing, I got it on my Kindle, which may not be the best way to read it because it forces you to read things from start to finish. Prayer is meant to be really picked up and read at random. This is less a book in the conventional sense and more of a tool, so that might mean for some people starting at the end and working backward or going to the middle and hopscotching around. So there’s that. Two, well, I read this book kind of fast. I really should have spent 40 days and not 40 minutes with this title. I may have to come back to this and tell you later if this form of prayer as offered by this book really works. However, I do have a sneaking suspicion that this is a book that might work best when “read” by a larger group of people together. What I found myself wanting to do with this book is have a dialogue with it, but with others present with their opinions and interpretations. I’m curious to know what someone else thinks of the fact that all of the written prompts start with the word “may.” I’m also curious to know from someone else what they thought of the pictures and what they actually mean — as things get quite abstract at points.

Yes, I’m probably using this book all wrong. I’m like the child McRoberts talks about early on, trying to get a statue of Jesus to stand properly on end before settling down to prayer, only to spend all of the time making sure that the statue is positioned properly.

However, that said, even as I found myself really wanting to be guided through this book with perhaps my pastor leading the way, I did find some utility for it. Though I read the book quickly, I found it to be soothing and provocative — if both of those terms can exist in the same spectrum at the precise same time and place. The book is soothing because, well, it’s about prayer and prayer can be soothing. It’s also provocative because some of the illustrations are really abstract. God only knows what all of those paper planes in the book’s illustrations actually really mean. But I did wind up thinking about those images (and the words, too) a little bit. I started some kind of dialogue with the Divine, even though I wonder if I’ve really finished it or not. This book nudges you to create your own content in a way, which is why its authors so brazenly proclaim that it is an empty vessel. It’s up to you really to make sense of the book, and making sense is probably something you’re going to have to practice a bit in your “reading” of this title.

Still, I have to admit that Prayer: Forty Days of Practice is a book that is refreshingly unique. I don’t think I’ve ever read (experienced?) anything quite like it. This is a book that pushes the reader towards a wider dialogue with God as he or she conceives of that deity, and the point perhaps is to not quite understand what the authors’ intentions were, but what doorways and paths the book nudges you down towards having a contemplative moment with the Almighty. I suppose I should point out that this is a book meant for Christians, although it does cross the boundary of theology as I suspect that other religions might get something out of this tome. That’s a good thing, because Prayer is an openly inclusive book meant for many different readers.

Despite having said all of this, I still wish that there was a study guide or some such document that you could have a peek at whenever you got stuck on a particular page — and I know I was scratching my head from time to time. I know that the authors would consider such a resource as getting in the way of the intended use of the book proper, but what’s in here seems rather radical and as far as masterpieces going so far as to teach you how to read them, there doesn’t seem to be much of a lexicon or way to make sense out of these images or passages other than to really look at them and find something stirring in them. In the end, I found Prayer to be a rather curious book. It definitely wasn’t something that I was expecting at all.

As noted, I feel I really needed a full month and a half with this book to really make sense of it, and I probably raced through it too fast. Those willing to make the journey at less than a breakneck pace might glean something useful and profound. Maybe. I have a lot of questions about this volume, but really thought that the unique flavour of the book was profound and, in the end, find that this book is really worthy for those looking to amp up their prayer life and need a new way of speaking to God. This is a book that goes down to unexpected places — and I can tell even in my short read of this. How much of a conversation you have with God going to those places is, well, probably proportionate to how much time you spend in Prayer itself.
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Such a lovely little companion! Prayer: Forty Days of Practice is more closely related to books of common prayer than it is to flashy devotionals. Its simplicity is its salvation: the simple prayers pack a punch and are somehow succinct and beautiful all at the same time. As someone who does have an active prayer life, I was not expecting to enjoy this book as much as I did. This little book is perfect for those who are new to prayer as well as those who are exhausted by the world around them and sometimes struggle to find the words.
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This 40-day prayer guide and promoting was an insightful and encouraging journey.  I have never done anything like it before and will recommend it to my friends.
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A lovely little volume to guide, inspire, and encourage prayer and meditation. Each prayer is accompanied by a complex, evocative pen-and-ink illustration to study or reflect on. Unlike many devotionals, this book could be enjoyed by members of many faiths and denominations.
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I was pleasantly surprised this wasn’t a book of written out prayers to pray. The stories were very thought provoking as well as the mediation thoughts and pictures. I could see this used in personal prayer /quiet time as well as in a small group setting or a family devotional time. 

"I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley on behalf of the Publisher and was under no obligation to post a favorable review."
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With this book the author tried to create:
-	A piece of art
-	An act of love
-	A redemptive tool
-	A resource
-	An inspiration
-	An ongoing conversation with God

My philosophy is the simpler the better. This book is over-created, with lots of pictures and not enough resource.

The book gives suggestions for practice of prayers in four ways:
-	Guided prayers
-	Contemplative imagery
-	Meditations
-	Suggested practice

I find it demeaning.

It would have been an interesting read if it concentrated only on two aspects: resource and practice. For example, my favorite resource and practice was about The Traveler’s Needs. Resource: one of them packed everything of two (two pairs of shoes and coats, everything of two in food), because he was thinking of his follow traveler. His fellow traveler couldn’t understand it. The lesson: “there is no difference between your needs and mine.” Practice: Intercession – think about those who benefited from your gifts.
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If you don't know where to start when you pray, this book is for you.  
If you want to grow in prayer, this book is for you.
If you want to learn new prayer practices, this book is for you.

Even though this book does not contain a lot of words or analytical discussions, it is a great place to pare down and get back to the basis of prayer, The meditative prayers allow a starting place to build off of.  The new practices scattered throughout the book give you a way to grow and learn.

Highly recommend "Prayer: Forty Days of Practice"!

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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This isn’t a traditional book about prayer. It is a book OF prayers. Simple prayers. Maybe one sentence. Maybe two. They are broad and poetic and illustrated.

The book contains four parts: guided prayers, contemplative imagery, meditations, and suggested practices. There is no particular start and finish, but I did work through it in the order given.

It’s more about the time you spend outside of the book, rather than inside the book. It encourages you to actually pray instead of just reading about prayer.

“But we must understand that the words and images we use are not the content itself. They are excavation tools that help dig toward and into the real content: the ongoing, ever-present conversation between us and the Divine.”

Taken for what it is, the book is done well. Just make sure your expectations are adjusted accordingly.

Some of my favorite prayers include:

“May I cease to be annoyed that others are not as I wish they were, since I am not as I wish I was.”

“May I have the eyes to see this as a good world in need of restoration rather than a bad world and an obstacle to my personal peace and rest.”

“May my good works be a fruit of my life rather than justification of it.”

My thanks to NetGalley for the review copy of this book.
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What a beautiful, slow, simple book on prayer. At the heart of this 40 day journey is the authors’ belief that the essence of prayer (connecting with the God of the universe in every aspect of life) is more important than the mechanics. So while there are suggestions, and guided practices, it feels like the point is less telling what to do than encouraging readers to turn their faces upward. 

I really love the art and guided prayers (which are mostly one-sentence, simple but very profound. “May love be stronger in me than the fear of the pain that comes with caring.”)

I read this on my Kindle Paperwhite, but I think I would have preferred a physical copy. This feels like a book meant to be held in my hands, and I am curious how the art looks on paper v. a screen. My one critique might be eliminated in a paper book (or in the final copy, I have an ARC): There is no table of contents in the kindle version I have , and  it isn’t clear how this fits into the 40
Days framework the title implies. Am I supposed to read a page a day? I read all of the pages up until a practice was introduced (they mostly for together thematically), then experimented with that practice over the next week...

 Many thanks to Netgalley for providing me with an advanced reader copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. Which is that I will buy this book, either for myself or to give to friends who love beauty and prayer.

(This review was also posted to my Goodreads page, Renee Davis Meyer)
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This is a perfect little book for anyone looking to reconnect with a stale prayer life. The meditations, prayers, and exercises are simplistic, yet utterly universal and profound. I believe the author is Christian, but the language used is generic enough that this could be enjoyed by someone of any religion or belief system, or even as a secular self-help guide. I highly recommend this to anyone who needs something to help them refocus their thoughts in a busy and chaotic world.
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