Saturday, July 23, 2011

Praying in the Messiness of Life by Linda Douty

When I saw this book advertised in a catalog, I thought  "Must Read!"  I ordered it and read it... and have mixed feelings about it. I will say that I would not recommend it to someone unless I knew they were mature in their walk with the Lord and were in the Word seeking Him and His truth.  Do I think this book is heresy or blasphemy? Not at all! But it is a bit freer in its thinking and, I believe, could be used to send someone off on the wrong track.

For example, in the chapter on Praying with the Surroundings there is a section called "The Teaching of Trees."  Here the author suggest that you find a large tree that you can stand under.  "Be aware of your feet solidly planted on the ground and then slowly look up through the leaves and branches.  Be silent for several minutes, open to what the tree has to teach you."  Being open to what the tree has to teach you is what bothers me a bit. I know that I learn from being in nature.. from observing... and pondering the things I see in light of my knowledge of God. However, I fear this practice of being open to what the tree has to teach you could easily be misconstrued as being one with nature and seeing the tree as a living being that teaches.  Sound far-fetched? Maybe, but there are people who worship nature and this kind of exercise fits right in with their practices.

On the other hand, there are points in here about praying scripture, being still and listening to God, and other prayer practices that line up with the Word of God.  

So the book is not a total wash... it is just one that needs to be read in light of Scripture (as all books should be) and.. well, prayerfully. If you choose to read this book, ask the Spirit to show you what is valuable and what needs to be avoided.  And honestly, if you are looking for a book on prayer and ways to pray, there are many others out there that are "safer" choices such as A Fresh Vision of Jesus by Cheri Fuller, The Hour that Changes Everything by Dick Eastman, and Pray with Purpose, Live with Passion by Debbie Williams (to name a few).  

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