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Saturday, May 24, 2008

Prayer Walk, by Janet Holm McHenry

I probably would not have bought this book in my own right, but someone gave me a copy and so I read it and am now passing it on to someone else. The beauty of this book is that it's inspirational, it gets you thinking, and requires no re-reading to get the point.

Reasons to read this book: 1. Get a jump start on your prayer life; 2. Re-vitalize your prayer life; 3. Get exercise while you are doing one of the previous things.

This book was writen by a high school English teacher who felt out of shape both physically and spiritually. In this book she documents how she went about fixing both things by enlisting the help of her "personal trainer" (i.e., God) in getting her body moving and her heart in motion at the same time. It really is a great idea, actually, because when you are out walking alone you are preoccupied to some degree, giving you something to do while focusing on God (if you are a type who is easily distracted) and you are typically all alone. There is distraction and there isn't distraction at the same time.

McHenry decides to do her prayer walking in the early morning hours (say 5:00 a.m.) but, of course, recommends you find a time that is right for you. An interesting point she made was that, when she was going through the process of making this a priority, she uncommitted herself to things that she knew she didn't really need to be involved with or just did not commit in the first place. Disentangling herself from various activities freed her up for earlier bedtimes and, not to mention, less stress from fewer activities! She references Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World which I just read.. She confesses to being a Martha who is frequently so busy that she had previously not had time for a deep relationship with God. Making time with Him a priority put other activities and committments in perspective. She also makes the point that we should not be judging what other people are doing or not doing. Each individual is responsible for their own activities before God. Just because I'm not (ever) going to get up at 5 a.m. to do this does not mean that I'm less spiritual. Everyone's calling looks different, in how they pursue their relationship with God. However, she does not shirk the fact that everyone's calling is to spend time with God.

The pages in this book that I thought were time wasters were the ones where she talks about how to walk and exercise. There were a few chapters which seem to distract from the message although I suppose if you really don't know how to stretch your muscles and take care of your body - this book will meet all your needs.

The part of this book that I thought were the most interesting were the parts where she shared how pieces of her life (situations, relationships, etc) changed when she started praying. She was also very honest as to how things changed in particular circumstances. It was neat to hear about that -- and motivational too.

Quite frankly, I'm not a prayer walker. However, I do want to be a person who is devoted to prayer. So this book was helpful and a nice read. It gives you something to think about whether you choose to follow the same plan she did or not. A worthy read but not something I'm hanging on to, as I said earlier.

But check it out! It's worth picking up a copy, browsing and then passing it on. You just can't say what parts will click with someone else and what parts will!

2 comments:

Calon Lan said...

Very interesting! Thanks for the review. I don't think I'm a prayer walker either, but I wonder if I can do "prayer Pilates" instead :)

Queen of Carrots said...

I do like praying while I walk--although even then I'm pretty distractible. Still, it's better than sitting still.

D1's Sunday School teacher takes her class on prayer walks in nice weather, which I think is a stroke of genius for preschoolers. Get some fresh air and the wiggles out while praying for everybody's sick dog and all those other great things preschoolers come up with. :-)

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