Cover Image: A Rhythm of Prayer

A Rhythm of Prayer

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Member Reviews

So beautifully written. A wonderful combination of actual Bible exerpts and original prayers, essays, lovely things to ponder. A compilation for everyday and everyone.  I would purchase a hardcopy and give as a gift  A book I will take out and read over and over as needed whenever I have a moment to reflect,
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Sarah Bessey writes in the introduction of A Rhythm of Prayer that her goal was to offer a range of prayers that were "equal parts example and invitation, permission and challenge, to acknowledge the heaviness of our grief and at the same time broaden our hope."

During a year of uncertainty, of confusion and frustration and exhaustion, I would find myself seeking calm and quiet, and these pages could offer consolation, as I read this collection of prayers penned by women.

Words like these, from Laura Jean Truman, articulated what I, too, seek:
"Keep our anger from becoming meanness.
"Keep our sorrow from collapsing into self-pity.
"Keep our hearts soft enough to keep breaking. 
"Keep our outrage turned towards justice, not cruelty."

This is a thoughtful, relevant collection of prayers that I found solace in, and I know I will seek it out time and again when I find need of prayer but struggle to put to words the feelings I'm experiencing.

(I received a digital ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.)
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I have really come to love and appreciate Sarah Bessey's work over the last couple of years as I go on my own faith deconstruction journey. I wasn't sure if I would be interested in a book of prayers, but when I was already in tears reading the introduction, I knew I would have to buy myself a hard copy. 

This prayer circle of women is honest, raw, and real. There is one particular prayer in the "disorientation" section that has gotten some pushback from closed-minded, legalistic evangelicals who are taking it out of context, willfully misunderstanding, and forgetting that a good portion of the Psalms are angry and lamenting. I, for one, found it so refreshing to hear from a diverse group of voices. I will be returning to this little book over and over.
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This isn't the kind of book I normally write about here, but why be predictable? Besides, the book has become a target for Grumpy and Hateful Christians (which should be a denomination, GHC) that don't like the progressive and inclusive faith of the book's editor, Sarah Bessey, and the diversity of the contributors she selected. Scroll the Goodreads reviews and you'll experience these lovely folks for yourself.
   In truth, however, this collection of prayers by women who have not read the directions for praying like a good GHC provides a window into open-hearted, often raw prayer. People of faith who understand (or want to understand) the total acceptance of their God do not flinch from honesty, whether it means basking in the love that they are experiencing or shaking their fists in anger and confusion at things that seem completely devoid of love. This is, of course, an affront to those who value appearance above truth. 
   A Rhythm of Prayer is a powerful collection that echoes the strength, passion, and persistence of women who are unafraid to be fully human and fully alive, as well as the bold faith of the one to whom it is dedicated, Rachel Held Evans. 
   Women of valor, all.
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“A Rhythm of Prayer” features a number of different types of prayers written by theologians, pastors and authors from a number of different Christian traditions.

They include a benediction by Bessey, a poem by Potawatomi Christian author and speaker Kaitlin Curtice, a prayer based on a chicken soup recipe by pastor and peacemaker Osheta Moore, “A Liturgy for Disability” by author and disability advocate Stephanie Tait, a “Prayer of a Weary Black Woman” by clinical psychologist and womanist theologian Chanequa Walker-Barnes, and even blank pages for those times when it feels like there aren’t words.

That’s partly because there are as many different ways to pray as there are people who pray, and she didn’t want to make something as personal as prayer “incredibly prescriptive and formulaic,” said Bessey, whose books include “Out of Sorts: Making Peace with an Evolving Faith” and who co-founded the Evolving Faith conference with the late Rachel Held Evans.

It’s also partly because, in the months after Evans’ death, Bessey didn’t think she could write the book alone.

“I literally turned to these women because they were the ones that I trusted,” she said, referring to the contributors in the book who are all women. “They’re people I trusted to be honest, people whose leadership and activism and work in the world personally impacted my life or changed me in some way, and I trusted them with my grief.” 

Still, Bessey was surprised when she learned last week that the collection was a New York Times bestseller, ranking No. 5 on the newspaper’s list of “Advice, How-To & Miscellaneous” books. Later, it made the Globe and Mail and Publisher’s Weekly bestseller lists, too.

“It feels really ridiculous. I think it might be a mistake. The kinds of things that I write and that I like to read and the kinds of things that we talk about in that book don’t seem like the kind of thing that would normally end up on The New York Times bestseller list,” she said in a video she posted on Facebook.

Bessey said prayer always has been an integral part of her faith — even more so after deconstructing the conservative, charismatic Christian beliefs she grew up with.

But she told RNS she has heard from so many people who feel like they no longer can pray the way they were taught after leaving previous religious traditions.

“I would say that’s good. Oftentimes you need to lose the old pathways in order to find new pathways, to even have eyes to see ancient pathways,” she said. “And so I think that that’s part of where that hunger comes from, is just saying, ‘I want to connect with God, I want to speak to God, I even have a yearning to pray, but I don’t know how anymore.’”

Read the rest of our coverage at Religion News Service at the link below.
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This is a beautiful book of prayers, meditations - collections of words that will fill your soul. The prayers are honest and speak to so many of the emotions and experiences of today. If you are weary of American Evangelicalism, this book is for you and will speak to your heart.
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As someone who grew up in a church that was not terribly liturgical, it has been a gift to discover written prayers as a tool to take me to Jesus. I loved this book. I loved the permission and gentleness found in these pages. I loved hearing prayers from so many different types of people, representing so many different backgrounds. Each one felt like its own permission to find the Lord, right where I find myself. I loved this one. I'll be returning to these pages.
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This book is beautiful from the first page to last. I have been a fan of Sarah Bessey's work for a long time and this prayer book she compiled and edited did not disappoint.  As an ordained pastor, I believe prayer is foundational to our faith journey - it's one of the ways the enables us to connect with God and to connect with our neighbors. Yet, I have also found that prayer can be scary for Christians though because we get caught up in needing to have the right words. This prayer book provides beautiful prayers written by a variety of writers fitting for many seasons of life. I would recommend it to anyone who is looking to go deeper in their prayer life.

Thank you NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this book.
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This book is 100% quotable. It's lovely and touching and full of good feelings. Reading this felt like speaking to God, it gave me insight into daily prayer and it gave me something I really needed, that feeling of openness and honesty when speaking with God. It showed me that just having that open form of communication with God was in itself a prayer. 

Thanks, Netgalley and Convergent Books for the ARC of A Rhythm of Prayer, it was a real pleasure to read and I will be looking for other books written by the contributors therein.
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While I didn't love every prayer in this book -I loved this book. It has a diverse style of prayers, powerful words and would be a great resource for anyone struggling to pray. Beautifully, beautifully written.
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This is a beautiful collection of prayers. In a time where hope feels desperate and prayer feels futile, this book reminds readers why they pray and the comfort it can bring. I love the way it is organized and easy to navigate to return to favorite prayers when needed. Bessey is always gently steadfast in the way she talks about faith, and this book is no different. She's an auto buy for me every time.
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This is a beautiful collection of essays, quotes, scripture, poetry and other inspirational writings from both traditional and progressive Christian voices. I thoroughly enjoyed it and will appreciate having it on my shelves for years to come.
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This is an excellent grouping of prayers. Words for my heart when I have none. Elequently putting on the page what my soul wants to speak but cannot. There are words that are comfort and some that challenge. I'm so grateful for this work.
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"A Rhythm of Prayer" is a collection edited by Sarah Bessey, author of "Jesus Feminist" and many other interesting cultural/religion reads. This collection addresses burnout and the need for the prayer circle--a place for honest, gritty prayers. Sometimes the way we pray feels surface level and glossy, and these authors encourage authenticity and vulnerability in prayer, even when it's hard.

Written by the likes of Amena Brown, Nadia Boltz-Weber and Barbara Brown Taylor, each chapter is unique to its author. Different perspectives and prayers are shared so each reader can slowly work through the book, finding the prayers that ring true for them or become personal.

All in all, the book is an interesting read, but be aware that there is some profanity. (Just a heads up!) However, don't throw the baby out with the bathwater, as there are other portions that may leave you feeling like the author heard prayers you've prayed before.

I was an early reader, thanks to #NetGalley, the publisher and author. All opinions are my own.
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BOOK REVIEW - ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ - This book was such a gift for me in a season of wandering and wondering. The collection and benediction is one I will continue to come back to often. The variety of voices and styles was a great reminder of the melody of God’s voice. Thank you @sarahbessey and thank you @netgalley!
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“A Rhythm of Prayer” by Sarah Bessey is a collection of prayers from various writers, speakers, activists, and more. Each with unique perspective and refreshing clarity, this collection of prayers is made to challenge your usual prayer life and encourage you to grow closer to God, however you can.

This book was interesting for me because it has a lot of prayer styles I’ve either never heard of or prayer styles I’m unfamiliar with because of my background churches and college. Despite my discomfort with some options, I did find it freeing to know there are so many styles available.

This book really brought me back to the primary point of prayer: communicating with God. That being said, your intention is more important than your style. This book opened up new avenues for when I feel disconnected or a little lost, however it also showed me that being honest about the disconnect is fine and real.

In the end, this book was short and sweet. I feel like the length worked against it for reviewing purposes, because the full potential of this book likely comes from reading when you feel stuck or overwhelmed. Personally, I give it 4 stars because I feel there’s always something to learn from the faith of others even if they don’t go to the same church or do the same things you do.

Thanks to NetGalley and Convergent Books for the ARC in exchange for my honest review!
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Sarah Bessey could write a grocery list and I would find it compelling and uplifting, but we now know that she can also edit an anthology with the same deft hand. I love this collection with its many, many voices and perspectives and prayers. A Rhythm of Prayer is an absolute delight.
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I’m a longtime reader of Sarah Bessey. She has such a beautiful way with words that touches my heart. This is such a hopeful book and I’d share it with anyone.
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This book has been the perfect accompaniment to my daily Lenten practice.  Each prayer more beautiful or eye opening that before.  I have marked up my book with stickies and flags for passages I want to go back to.  I can see myself revisiting this book in every situation for years and years to come.
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This collection of prayers is wonderful. It is thoughtfully collected into sections: orientation, disorientation, and reorientation. I loved beautiful mix of authors represented in this work and the variety of belief they represent.  

These prayers were a breath of fresh air to me. They were comforting and challenging and full of truth and love. I took the book slowly, reading one or two prayers a day. It was just what I needed. I know that I will be rereading this for years to come. I got this from Netgalley and Convergent Books as a digital ARC. I went ahead and bought the paper version as I knew I was going to need it. 

I have highlighted so much of this book. I cannot pick a favorite. They all speak to different emotions and situations and needs. I am grateful to have this now.
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