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Ten Ways to Pray: A Short Guide to a Long History of Talking with God Paperback – January 12, 2012

4.8 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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"Harrell's book is a masterful intersection of devotion and scholarship. Rich in inspiration, practical and adaptable for both individuals and small groups, there is something here for believers in any tradition or at any stage of their Christian pilgrimage." --Thomas Crumb, MDiv, MM, Pastor, First Congregational Church of Pomfret

"Ten Ways to Pray is a valuable resource for teachers, students, spiritual directors, and anyone desirous of deepening their spiritual life. I highly recommend it."--Kathleen Hagerty, CSJ, MA, MChSp, Spiritual Director and Interfaith Chaplain, Solomon Carter Fuller Mental Health Center

"Ten Ways to Pray is a powerful tool for personal use or within the small group venue. The reflection and personal questions are well-constructed and, without a doubt, create edifying dialogue."--Diana Curren Bennett, DMin, Director of Spiritual Leadership Communities and Consultant for Small Group Ministry, Leadership Transformations

From the Author

PRAYING IS LIKE WRITING. The first rule of both is "B_tt in chair."

Yet somehow, once I sit, there are still a thousand things that distract: A dangling piece of thread must be trimmed. A meeting email must be answered. My daughter wakes up and must be fed her breakfast.

"There's nothing to writing," runs a favorite writers' quote from Red Smith. "All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein." Praying is like that, too. Daily it forces me to confront my expectations, my insecurities, my personality. To die to self. To bleed.

Growing up in my family, we prayed "evangelical," which is to say extemporaneously and, in the case of my mother during family devotions, really long. Now as an adult, I realize that I often pray because it is part of my all-or-nothing personality to do so. I am either tasking at 120 percent or crashing. Prayer fits the demands of both scenarios: In my quest to listen continuously to the Holy Spirit, I often pervert prayer into a mere accomplishment on my obedience "to do" list. When I encounter the limits of my abilities to hear and obey, I turn to prayer as a last resort in the midst of my exhaustion.

What I need is something more balanced: to be still (Ps 46:10) so I can listen to God and to others, to find my center, and to be moved, not by my own frenetic physical or mental activity, but by the power of the resurrection (Phil 3:9-11).

So I attempt to sit and then to sit still, realizing that I can neither pray God into answering me, nor into answering me as I choose. I am obliged to acknowledge that God is Other; he transcends my understanding. What I know of him, I know because he has revealed himself to me. I want to learn to praise him as Other, rather than as an outgrowth of my thirst.

My tenth grade biology teacher posted this sign above her desk: "There is a God. You are not him." I'm not sure if that was for her own notification, or ours. I now know it is the reality of writing and praying as well as biology.

As an author, I can easily dupe myself into thinking I'm in charge. The characters must behave as I write them. The words must flow as I choose them. I can add or subtract from them any time.

The process of producing this project has taught me otherwise. It started ten years ago in response to my sister's need for Sunday School curriculum. I taught it myself. I foisted it on my mother and then my writers' group---God bless them. I finished it just before my daughter was born. Nothing happened with the book while I nursed her constantly and attempted to remember my name. I lectured on prayer. I wrote the book proposal. That chewed up another year. I sent it to traditional publishers. I blogged on prayer. We moved across country.

Turns out, anybody can open a vein. Only God has the power to control the ensuing mess, much less apply it in a timely redemptive fashion. Just because I bleed doesn't mean you feed. I am not him.

Yet, please God, here (finally) is Ten Ways to Pray. I hope it helps you enjoy praying more. I hope it supplies you with tips, steps, and encouragement. Because it won't do a thing to help you with the first rule of prayer. You gotta put your own b_tt in chair.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Stone's Throw (January 12, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0615581749
  • ISBN-13: 978-0615581743
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.3 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,400,255 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Dawn Harrell has written a wonderful short little book that is extremely accessible. In the introduction she tells her younger sister, who was going to teach a class on prayer, don't spend time talking about it just do it. She has described each of ten ways in a manner that is clear and inviting with good practice exercises at the end of each chapter. All of these described ways to pray come from a long Christian tradition but have often been lost to modern ways. It is refreshing to find new ways to pray old lost traditions.
Carolyn Y.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Ten Ways to Pray is an enlightening and practical journey through church history exploring various models of prayer. Beyond describing each approach, Harrell artfully leads readers in experiencing them both individually and in a group setting. The questions at the end of each chapter encourage further interaction. I walked away equipped with approaches that have revitalized the prayer lives of faithful men and women through the ages. I'm grateful for this little guide book pointing me toward a closer communion with God
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This is a book and lessons that can be used by many who would grow closer to the Lord and grow in their worship experience. It's the text that will help many seekers for a deeper love of Christ
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book helps to bring awareness to the fact that one size prayer doesn't fit all. Dawn Duncan Harrell gives an excellent overview as to the different ways prayer has been practiced throughout history and challenges the reader to try some of these methods in hopes of transforming your own prayer life.
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Excellent
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