Cover Image: A Rhythm of Prayer

A Rhythm of Prayer

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Member Reviews

This beautiful book features various female voices, mixed age groups, different cultures, numerous faith practices, personal styles and methods of praying. Each thought on prayer, every poetic utterance or prayer itself stems from the heart and touches our own. 

Here you will have your eyes open to the rich diversity of prayer. It is larger and more inclusive than we might have imagined it to be. You will also have your preconceptions questioned, if not shaken and cast aside, as each writer reveals their unique slant, expression, and experience. 

Sarah Bessey’s own contributions are sublime. She has done a marvellous job of knitting together these diverse voices to reveal everything from dancing to despair, from laughter to lament, from memories to meditation, and from the deeply personal to the universal as prayerful communing with God.

Prayer encompasses all this and so much more, as you will discover as you prayerfully sit with each person’s words and allow God to minister to you through them. This is a highly recommended resource I will return to again and again. Grateful thanks to NetGalley and Convergent Books for the ARC.
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Sarah Bessey never fails to deliver. This collection of prayers is incredibly powerful and moving, no matter your life season.
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A Rhythm of Prayer was an interesting read for me. It’s a collection of prayers, scripture, and thoughts surrounding prayer. While I”m intimately familiar with the concept of prayer, I appreciated the written prayers in this story as they pulled me towards new concepts to pray about. The prayer from Osheta Moore reminded me that anything can become prayer - especially a pot of chicken noodle soup. I also found it helpful to hear from a variety of faith backgrounds. As each faith denomination approaches prayer in a little bit different way, it helps to expand thinking around prayer. I enjoyed reading this book in little snippets, taking in a prayer or two each morning as part of my morning time.
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This year I've been slowly making my way through A Rhythm of Prayer and it has been the perfect remedy. Each prayer is unique and powerful in it's own right. If you need hope, rest, joy and healing, I highly recommend this book.
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First, let me say I am a huge fan of Sarah Bessey's earlier books and follow many of the authors whose works are included in this one, so I was thrilled to have the opportunity to read an advance copy of the Kindle version and provide this review. If you are old enough, you probably remember the "This is not your father's Oldsmobile" commercials. Like that, A Rhythm of Prayer: A Collection of Meditations for Renewal is not your mother's morning devotion book, so if that is what you are looking for this is probably not what you want. These essays and prayers invite you into a shared experience of prayer with the various authors. Some of them felt comfortable and familiar, others exciting and new, and others sobering and challenging. 

Taken by themselves I enjoyed each of them, but sometimes the movement between them felt jarring. I never knew what to expect as I started the next one. Was this going to be a gentle call to sit quietly in God's presence or experience God in the life's ordinariness, or was it going to an angry lament of injustice? I need and want all of these, but I found it hard to stay with the emotional rollercoaster. It is divided into three parts: Part 1 - Orientation, Part 2-Disorientation, and Part 3 - Reorientation. There is no introduction to the parts, and I think I would have found an introduction to them helpful. On a second read through, I could better understand how the pieces belonged together, but on my first read I felt lost. I should also say, I don't know to what extent my experience would have been different had I been reading the print version as opposed to the Kindle version. 

All that said, I really enjoyed the glimpses into prayer each author offered and highlighted many passages. I know I will be reading these more than once and thinking on many of the ideas I encountered for quite some time.
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The publication of A Rhythm of Prayer was pushed back due to the pandemic but the content may be even more relatable now. Sarah Bessey has collected and edited prayers and thoughts from many diverse speakers and writers. There are no simple pat answers and empty assurances. There are laments and questions that wrestle with the dark, but don’t leave you to do it alone.
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Oh this book is a treasure! 

In a time when you might feel disconnected or a sense of despair may be looming, Sarah Bessey brings together poetic prayerful powerful expressions of some of my favorite Christian writers. 

I love how the words and images delve into new understandings of an active living loving God who is present with us. The rhythms are comforting like a lullaby. Consider reading a poem prayer each night before bed.
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I loved the idea behind this book - prayers written by women from different faith backgrounds and walks of life from all over the world.  There were some really amazing prayers, poems, and meditations, but like most collected works, there were plenty of misses as well.  As much as this book tries its darndest to be diverse, the content produced by these definitely diverse women is all very similar.  And that's ok, but don't expect something else from this book.  I appreciated Bessey's interspersed thoughts and meditations, and her wonderful benediction at the end.  She did a fantastic job editing and collecting these writing prayers.  It was both encouraging and challenging, as well as affirming, and I'm glad I read it.  I will be adding some of the writings into my regular prayer time, and this book has inspired me to go look for other prayer collections as well.

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley, opinions are my own.
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This title reads like poetry, an eclectic and beautiful collection of diverse voices. A benediction of peace and comfort; an offering of strength and community.
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Pros: Although (as a follower/listener of Anne Bogel, Jamie Golden, and Annie B. Jones) Sarah Bessey’s name is not new to me, this is the first of her work that I’ve read.  I now follow her on all the socials because I love what she has to say.  Also new to me is a book like this one—I have never read a book of prayers before. Reading this book reminded me of the experience I had a week ago watching a prayer service the day after the inauguration. Sarah Bessey curated a thoughtful, diverse collection of prayers—all from women—in this book. When in the introduction, she named as evils white supremacy, patriarchy, homophobia, nationalism, racism and others, I knew this was a book for me and immediately thought of friends who would respond to prayers that do not shy away from topics of social (in)justice.

Cons: None. I can see how this book would not be for every person/every reader, but for those it is for, it will be wonderful. . . any maybe those who think this isn’t for them are the ones who need to read it the most.

Thank you to NetGalley and Convergent Books for the opportunity to read this book!
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This is the kind of book you want to pick up over and over again. What a powerful collection of prayers from a wonderfully diverse group of women. It’s easy to feel too weary to pray given the world we inhabit. Reading this felt like a hug from a friend; a reminder that not only can we bring our whole selves to prayer, we should.
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When is the last time you read a prayer asking God, “Grant me a Get out of Judgement Free card”?
Or a prayer that gives a recipe for Chicken Reconciliation soup, in which onions are prayer tears, carrots are loving eyes, and celery is healing anger?
Or a prayer that just names all the evils of the world because nothing else comes to mind?
Or a prayer that painfully celebrates the bipolar span from the black hole of depression to the celestial flight of meteoric mania? 
Or a prayer to “harden my heart’ and “help me hate white people”?
Or a prayer that travels from slave labored cotton and tobacco fields to counter tops with red Kitchenaid mixers back to the poisoned soil of murderous Miracle Gro? 
Or a prayer for when you don’t even know what you want?
These are the prayers of current faith leaders in “A Rhythm of Prayer” collected and ordered by Sarah Bessey. They are modern day Psalms with the same furious love and candid angst articulated by the ancient psalmists in the cultural context of 2021. They are apocalyptic anthems and they have the nerve to say what we are thinking without apology. They are prayers for now, this hour, for those whom Jesus dares to worship in Spirit and in Truth. They are for us.
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Confession: I haven’t read A Rhythm of Prayer in its entirety.  I don’t believe this is a book that you simply read from cover to cover. It would be best suited on a nightstand, or on a side table beside a favourite reading chair, full of bookmarks and page tabs marking favourite entries. It is called a “Collection of Meditations for Renewal” and features prayers, essays and even guided meditations from a variety of women who are writers, ministers, theologians, activists, and leaders all curated by a favourite author of mine, Sarah Bessey. I have been slowly making my way through it. Some of my favourites I have already discovered are “A Liturgy for Disability” by Stephanie Tait, “God of Compassion” by Rev. Nadia Bolz-Weber, “Reconciliation Soup” by Osheta Moore and “Instructions for an Evening of Your Life” by Sarah Bessey.  
Thank you to Netgalley and Convergent Books for a digital ARC of this book. It is one that I would now like to own a physical copy of. I think this book will be a beautiful resource for many.
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Sarah Bessey has invited a great group of writers, mystics and women of faith to contribute prayers for this era. Her own prayers are highlights of this spirited collection, but there are so many that work well for those of us wrestling with faith during this time.

Some are poems. Some are essays. Some are modern psalms that lean toward hope rather than only lament. It's not a book of answers, but a lovely collection of people asking the right questions and offering them to us so that we can also enter into them and use them as a roadmap for this time. These are honest and faithful as they ask those questions. 

This is a prayer book for this time and for the ages.
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I have been a fan of Sarah Bessey's speaking and writing for years, and I was curious when this book was announced. How will she help us reframe prayer for a new era in the Church and in the world? Yet she does help us reframe prayer, with her characteristic honesty and grace: "We think we only have two options" she says, "double down or burn it down. So when it comes to prayer we might mistakenly believe that if we can't pray the way we used to or the way we were taught, somehow that means we can't or don't pray anymore, period... But pray is still for you." Bessey's introduction offers an intimate and compassionate invitation for us to (re)enter the mystery of prayer, with openness and creativity. And the prayers held within these pages, written by poets and justice workers and ministers, create doorways into different paths of prayer, for us to try on, meander through, and find a home within. For anyone seeking a different way of approaching prayer, this book is for you. For anyone yearning for to find words that bring to life their laments and dreams for our world, this book is for you. For clergy searching for find creative prayers to help their congregations reimagine life with God, this book is for you. What a gem--thank you to all those who contributed to it. Five stars! Thank you to Convergent Books and NetGalley for the ARC of this ebook.  I can't wait to get my hands on a hard copy soon!
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Fervently hopeful and unabashedly relevant, Rhythm Of Prayer takes our guilt and shame surrounding corporate prayer and casts it away in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Bessey does not bring us the neat, tidy, marketable, or socially acceptable prayer -- she and her brilliant essayists, liturgists, theologians, and poets strip away our old preconceptions and prejudices, making room for a faith that deconstructs white supremacy, colonialism, homophobia, and asks us to see God in everything we do and everything we are.
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Beautiful cover.
A collection of meditations for renewal.
Broken down into three parts: Orientation, Disorientation, and Reorientation.
Each chapter includes a prayer and a description of the prayer's author.
Between every few prayers there are quotes or Bible verses about prayer.
Includes Journaling pages at the end where you are encouraged to "date to write your own prayers."
Canadian Author.
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I write this with tear-stained cheeks. For anyone who has struggled to pray, questioned what prayer is, who it serves, how to pray, but particularly for the person who was taught to pray in a way that feels uneasy or ill-fitting, this book is a liberation.

So much of my faith journey has been shaped by Sarah Bessey's beautiful writing, but I can say unequivocally that this is her best and most important work yet. Eshet chayil, woman of valour. I will recommend this to every person I know.
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This book of prayers includes beautiful prayers of lament and love. It inspired me to connect with God over truth, beauty, and goodness. 

One of the prayers that hit me deeply was Sarah Bessey’s “You are Loved.” It is a powerful and poignant reminder of your belovedness no matter what. 

In the middle of a global pandemic, social change, uncertainty and instability - I need a little help with words to help me connect with God and myself. Many of my prayer times are silent. Some are angry or hurting. This book helped me find language for many prayers I was wanting to pray and also inspired me to pray in new deeper ways.
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There are many prayer books available to clergy, worship leaders and those who engage in spiritual direction. Some provide prayers to be adapted to one's own use and some talk about the understanding and practice of prayer. What makes each of them work is the specific way that they engage prayer without going too broad. So I was surprised and delighted to discover that A Rhythm of Prayer aims so broadly and yet touches so deeply on the heart of prayer I could imagine this book for almost anyone in my circle--pastors looking for sermon fodder, parishioners that want something to invigorate their personal devotional time, and friends that possess a spiritual longing yet don’t affiliate with a faith community. 

What I appreciate the most is the diversity of the contributors as well as the diversity of texts. Each section brings something new and unexpected. A breath prayer adapted from scripture passages written by the editor, a prayer formed around the step of making chicken noodle soup from scratch that centers the work of justice by Osheta Moore, a prayer for those weary and tired written by Laura Jean Truman that reads as a traditional prayer or liturgy but feels like a Psalm, a liturgy for disability and prayer for chronic illness, a poem by speaker Kaitlin Curtice that reads like a breath of fresh air, an essay on the physicality of prayer by Kelley Kikondeha, each give breadth and life to the collection. And sprinkled throughout are quotes and scriptures that speak to the meaning and practice of a practice that at its heart seeks to know God. There is a steady candor to the work of prayer in this books that is both nurturing and challenging, a difficult balance to strike. 

I would give this book to my Midwestern mother and to my coastal activist friends and know they would each get something pleasurable and thoughtful from the collection.
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