We may think of prayer as something we do at a specific time, perhaps with our morning devotions. Harney wants us to experience prayer through the flow of life. Her passion “is to see ordinary followers of Jesus grow into natural prayers who talk to God, listen to God, and interact with God at all times, in all places, through all circumstances.” (12)
She suggests we pray with our eyes wide open. She means that both literally and figuratively. Literally, with our eyes open we will be more aware of God's creation and people. Figuratively, we will be more aware of God's presence and His work among us.
She studied Scripture and found that nowhere are we commanded to close our eyes when we pray. She gives many examples of Bible characters who prayed with open eyes. She also found examples of lifting hands rather than folding them. And she found that the Bible records people kneeling, standing, and sitting when praying, depending on the circumstances.
Harney really helps us understand our attitude towards prayer depends a great deal on what we believe about God. She provides Scripture to help us understand how God feels toward us. She encourages us to pray with our ears open so we can be aware of the many ways God speaks to us. She wants us to pray with our hearts wide open, seeing who God is and praying with passion. And she wants us to pray with lives wide open, allowing the Holy Spirit to work in and through us.
Harney has included many personal stories as illustrations of her teaching. She also gives many practical suggestions for prayer, including prayer prompts and ideas for putting her teaching into practice.
I have read many books on prayer. I really like this one from Harney. She gets to the root of our attitude toward prayer, a result of our attitude toward God. She is convincing in her encouragement to pray at all times and in all places. I highly recommend this book.
My rating: 5/5 stars.
Sherry Harney is the leadership development director at Shoreline Community Church in Monterey, California, and the co-founder of Organic Outreach International. She speaks regularly about prayer, spiritual formation, leadership and organic outreach for local, national, and international groups and events.
Kevin G. Harney is lead pastor of Shoreline Community Church and the author of several books, studies and articles.
Baker Books, 224 pages.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.