Cover Image: A Rhythm of Prayer

A Rhythm of Prayer

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Member Reviews

I really appreciated having a compilation of writings from female authors, theologians, and activists. I’m very familiar with this community from attending evolving faith conferences but it is great to have these engaging voices available in print all in once place. The organization of the book creates a great flow and build up. I highly recommend this to someone who wants daily, diverse (both in format and style), thoughtful writings on spirituality and prayer from a diverse group of female authors.
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This book was received as an ARC from Convergent Books in exchange for an honest review.  Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own. 

These prayer books are just what the doctor ordered for any circumstance. This book just emphasizes that not only it is ok to ask for help but trust and believe in your purpose and nothing will stop you.  We all need to be reminded of our purpose and seek out those that share our love and passion for our purpose in life and most importantly we need to stay true to ourselves and not let fear (the devil's greatest weapon) consume us. A lot our our community members will be loving these books to boost their spirits and bring joy and hope into their lives. 

We will consider adding this title to our Self-Help collection at our library. That is why we give this book 5 stars.
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I found this at the right time. After a year of reevaluating, unlearning, rediscovering so many parts of my faith, I felt like my prayer life needed an overhaul. I write every day, snippets of thoughts, whispered pleas, questions, lists, rants, sometimes just a stream of consciousness. It’s never punctuated. It’s never reworked or edited and comes from a deeply primal, raw and authentic place. Sometimes I’m not even sure the words are in the dictionary. It is certainly not akin to the  prayers I have heard around me all my life in church. I do sometimes feel like I’m doing it wrong. My words are unfiltered and uncensored and brutally raw. And as I read this book, these beautiful mediations were poetry to my ears and my soul and I connected in so many levels. I read truth and was reminded of who He says He is. I saw prayers written in so many different formats, it made mine feel very at home. And I heard my own words. I saw my own frustrations and cries and hopes and I feel seen. These prayers felt so deeply personal and I was honoured to read them. They awoke something in me that has just poured out since. I devoured it and will keep coming back again and again.
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Gosh, this book is such a gift if you've ever found yourself struggling to pray or challenging your traditional notions of prayer. The book is a collection of very short written prayers and essays by a diverse set of authors on different topics. Per the introduction, the goal is "not to give you words to pray but to show you: you still get to pray" which is such blessed permission to many of us. I guarantee I will come back to these words again and again.
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What a gift. This is a book for those who find themselves in the wilderness, far from the traditions they once knew, far from the ways of prayer that once held them, who no longer know how to pray or feel that they can. Sarah Bessey has gathered a beautifully diverse group of fellow wanderers and together, they've written a prayer book with the emotional and experiential range of the Psalms. These prayers and stories are filled with grit and beauty; pain and delight; anger and joy; but most importantly, they're filled with belief in a God who is with us, who hears us, and who listens when we pour out our very selves.
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My favorite thing about A Rhythm of Prayer, other than the final benediction from Sarah Bessey that may be worth of the price of the book all on its own, is the diversity among the contributors. Publishing industry, take note!

However, from what I can tell (based on social media and other writings/books) of the contributors, that diversity largely does not stretch into their faith backgrounds. By that I mean, the Church has many streams or denominations. It very much seems, from the various prayers in the book, that the majority of the writers have the same faith background/beliefs. From the words used to things that were said/left unsaid/avoided(?), it often felt like a group of people from a small handful of churches (who have the same doctrinal beliefs) or a group of already close friends all got together and wrote down their prayers.

That isn't bad, necessarily, but it does feel like an oversight to someone who would likely find herself on the outside of that particular group of besties.

I wonder if others who have a similar background as myself will also come to the end of the book and think "well, I appreciated reading these prayers and I am learning from other viewpoints, but I don't see much of myself or my own community reflected here."
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This little book is a lovely compilation of prayers put together by Sarah Bessey. She did a great job finding various authors with different experiences and voices that made this book complete. While many of the prayers were not what might be considered traditional prayers, the different areas of life that they spoke into helped bring me some different perspective. This is a book that is best read slowly, to give yourself time to reflect and work through. It is also one that will be able to be read time and time again as the need for different prayers come up in life.
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This year, COVID-19 blew my schedule out of the water. I stopped doing everything I had become accustomed to, and started doing different things at different times, and somehow, when all the pieces landed, it took me a while to fit the prayer piece back in place. I needed to discover, once again, A Rhythm of Prayer, a point of faithful connection with God in all the ebb and flow of this following life.

This time, for me, it began with simply showing up, committing myself to the discipline of focused attention toward God and away from myself. From there, I began listening for other voices–my good husband’s, the faithful prayer warriors at the church I call home. Then, I found A Rhythm of Prayer: A Collection of Meditations for Renewal, Sarah Bessey’s collection of prayers and meditations, written by a choir of faith-singing women.

Featuring the voices of Amena Brown, Barbara Brown Taylor, Micha Boyett, Marlena Graves, Alia Joy, and other women of faith, the book was an invitation to a circle of prayer, both welcoming and solid. I could hear the cadence of faithfulness and measured trust in a powerful God who listens and nods along:

"God beyond the number line, the hourglass.
Beyond moons that wax and wane and waves that push and pull along our fragile ground. …beyond days and weeks and months, uncontained by our twenty-four hours, free of our borders and yet still within them.” (Micha Boyett)

I was reminded that prayer is listening as well as talking, and that, heard in the pages of Truth, “God’s voice is melody and bass lines and whisper and thunder and grace.”

Lean into the Rhythm of Prayer

Resting in the solid truth of your own belovedness, lean into the rhythm of prayer.
Listen for it.
It’s there.
Hear it calling you into intercession for our broken world, into tears for the wounded you know, and prayers of compassion for those you don’t know.

Lean into the rhythm of grace and repent, confess, lament, rejoice, examine your heart in the presence of God and know that you are heard, and you are loved.

Many thanks to NetGalley for providing a copy of this book to facilitate my review, which is, of course, offered freely and with honesty.
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A Rhythm of Prayer isn't designed to be a road map for How To Pray. Rather, it's a collection of prayers, essays, poems, and thoughts designed to inspire prayer, to breathe fresh air into your prayer life, to nudge you back toward making prayer a part of your life, like breathing.

This book really spoke to me. The first prayer in the book, "A Prayer Against Efficiency" by Micha Boyett, brought me to tears. "God of the meetings, the emails, the PTA, the neck ache, the child crying over homework, the car leaking oil...." Wait, what? My car is leaking oil as I write this review. I'm waiting on the part to come in so it can be repaired and struggling with anxiety every time I get on the road these days. What a wonderful and much-needed reminder, right off the bat, that God sees and cares about even my car leaking oil, and that I can talk to Him about it.

The words on these pages are balm for the soul. This isn't a book to speed through in one sitting. It's a book to be savored in small bites. When life is crazy and things are hard, I read a little and take time to pray. And that is what A Rhythm of Prayer is intended to do - help me find my rhythm in prayer every day, anywhere, any time.

Thank you to NetGalley and Convergent Books for an advance reader copy of this book.
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This is a perfectly timed collection of prayers, meditations, poems, and essays. In these pandemic days that seem to blur into one another, prayer has become less intentional and more like breathing for me. I appreciated the encouragement included here, not to stop praying without ceasing but to start praying consciously again. Highly recommended.
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One to purchase to give to any friend who is grieving, angry, frustrated, or exhausted. A balm for the soul. I needed to read this in 2020, and I'm sure I won't be the only who would need it. A great book to read prayers out loud with your family, too.
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A collection of prayers and prayer guidances by authors, pastors, and Christian leaders. I appreciated the invitations to try new styles of prayer and reading the prayers written by other women.
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A great prayer companion to keep on hand and use frequently. It was a who's who of sorts in progressive Christian writers. Everyone can find words to offer up to God in the cries of these sisters.
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I’m a ride-or-die Sarah Bessey fan, so I knew I had to read this book. It’s by a compilation of authors. My favorite sections were by Bessey (no surprise), but there were many other great pieces as well.
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Thank you to NetGalley, the publisher and the author for this ARC in exchange for a review.  A review is exactly what I want to do!  I want to tell people to read this book!  
A Rhythm of Prayer was just what I needed for such a time as this.  With the world in turmoil, we hear voices and words and opinions and chatter and fury and fear and grief everywhere.  The authors in this book share those emotions, but poetically, and through the filter of faith.  I love the beauty of Sarah's guided mini retreats, the realness that Nadia brings to the table and the reconciliation that Osheta strives for.  
The pace of the book is lovely. It is perfect for morning devotions or just to pick up when the world overwhelms.   I recommend A Rhythm of Prayer to anyone seeking to wake up their prayer life.
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Thank you Netgalley and the publisher for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

This collection is absolutely beautiful. The essays, prayers, and meditations stem from individuals from a variety of backgrounds and perspectives, and I took something away from each one - there is so much heart and soul in each one. This is a book that I will come back to again and again, and I look forward to doing so.
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This book has something to appeal to everyone: from the disgruntled Christian to the life long Baptist. Sarah Bessey has assembled her crew to write a collection of essays about prayer. Some are meditations, others liturgies. A wide variety of backgrounds and histories are represented making it a great buffet of content. Many of the contributors will be familiar to existing readers of Sarah Bessey: Nadia Bolz Weber, Barbara Brown Taylor, Amena Brown. It does seem like a fairly predictor group of contributors - I would have enjoyed reading new voices. Nonetheless, "Rhythm" remains a great book on the topic of prayer for progressive Christians.
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