May 17, 2012

Simply Pray - Erik Walker Wikstrom

After an overall negative experience with the last book I read for the Lay Worship Leader course, it was a relief to pick up this one.  While the last book felt very prescriptive, this book felt very liberating.  I couldn't wait to pick it up, each time I had a few minutes to read.

The author is a Unitarian Universalist minister, but this book draws on a wide variety of faith traditions from Christianity to Wicca to Judaism to Buddhism to Islam to Hinduism.  He focuses on what is common between the different religions when it comes to prayer rather than what divides them.

The book is about prayer, but it encourages freedom in prayer and argues (if that isn't too strong a word for a gentle book) that there is room in anyones faith for a wide variety of prayers - from spontaneous prayers to recited prayers to breath prayers.  No one way to pray is more right than any other way, and there is a time for every type of prayer.  Even in the chapter that outlines a more specific prayer practice using beads, the book doesn't prescribe the words to say - the beads only gently guide the overall structure.

I'm glad that I read these last two books in the order that I did.  This book calmed my spirit after a difficult go with the last book.  Now I just need to visit the local craft store to pick up some beads.  I may just try the bead prayer practice suggested in this book.

And with this post, I'm caught up on the books that I have been reading in the past month.  I'm just about finished another book, so watch for more posts next week!

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