From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Braestrup (Here If You Need Me), a Unitarian Universalist minister who serves as chaplain to the Maine Warden Service, graciously escorts true prayer into real life. In her fourth book, Braestrup approaches prayer from 24 angles, including from the threshold, in mixed company, for enemies, before service, and with laughter. She presents prayers in lyrics or without words. She understands that prayers can be posture and presence but never formulaic: "They need not be factual, but they must be true." Braestrup's voice registers in a wide range--from scholarly to deliciously earthy (she declares God a "noodge") to motherly--as she plaits a story strand about herself with a good hank of biblical exegesis, then finishes with personal ribbons, drawing material from her family (familiar from her memoir) and her friends in ministry and law enforcement. Some disquisitions, like the one on sleep, dull when compared to richer, exemplary narratives, such as her teasing chapter on hypocrisy. By often returning to her theme of empathy and consciousness, Braestrup remains a persuasive pastor, praying right through the amen. (Nov.)
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Braestrup’s book is appropriately named, particularly the subtitle. But with the author’s tendency to ask provoking, often humorous questions, one must ask, does she mean bringing prayer to life as in giving it power or bringing prayer into people’s daily lives, even the embarrassing parts? The answer is both. A Unitarian Universalist minister, Braestrup is astute, entertaining, and scholarly in suggesting prayers from myriad faiths that have served countless generations, including this one. There are prayers for almost every occasion and circumstance: shared meals, birth, death and grief, old age, bedtime for anxious children, safety for those facing daily occupational hazards, even romantic intentions. She invites people to make up their own prayers as she includes tales of frayed nerves, abiding love, and opting for generosity in settings as mundane as the Shop ’N Save. This confirms the comfort and grace afforded by prayer and its power to reveal the beauty of life, warts and all. Amen. --Susan DeGrane