by Sandy Kirby Quandt
Beginning this month I will periodically review new books.
In the book, Praying Upside Down, Kelly O’Dell Stanley challenges readers to move their prayers away from the expected so they can learn something new, hear an answer they didn’t anticipate, or see God in a unique way.
Kelly uses her background in art and her life experiences to show comparisons between praying and such elements of art as Realism, Point of View, White Space and Negative Space, Underlying Structure, Perspective, Grids, Sketching and Drawing, Keeping a Sketchbook, Proportion, Contour Drawing, Pointillism, Simplicity and Minimalism.
I’m not an artist, but I am married to one, so I understood several of her comparisons. But I believe even if you had no artistic background you would be able to understand the comparisons Kelly makes.
Emphasis is placed on the fact just like art must be practiced to be used and to see more accurately, keeping our eyes open to see what God is doing through the act of prayer takes practice.
At the end of each chapter Kelly has included a Prayer Palette with suggestions for ways to enhance your upside down prayers, shifting your focus from you-centered, to others-centered.
The chapter I found most useful for where I am right now in my life was Breaking it into Manageable Pieces (The Grid Method). Kelly explained how when faced with a complex composition such as copying a smaller sketch into a larger product, say a mural for example, artists use the grid method which is a way to copy the smaller image by overlaying it with a grid of equal-sized squares. They then draw one square at a time for the larger product.
Kelly suggests we use the Grid Method in our prayers when we face overwhelming challenges by breaking the problem down into smaller, more manageable pieces and pray one square at a time. It helps simplify complex situations into smaller chunks that we can take to God.
Another way to change your prayers is to have a Prayer Calendar where you put names of different people who come to mind. Every time you glance at the calendar, pray for the person listed on that day.
Some of Kelly’s suggestions I realized I already incorporate into my prayer time. Others were things I might try. The Grid Method is one suggestion I have begun to implement.
Even if, like me, you aren’t artistic you just might find you can use the elements of art in your prayers.
So, if you are looking for new ways to connect with God through your prayers, ways that will turn your prayers upside down, pick up a copy of Kelly O’Dell Stanley’s Praying Upside Down.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject. Leave a comment below. If you think others would appreciate reading this please share it through the social media buttons.
I wish you well.
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Disclosure: I received a free book for a fair and honest review, which is exactly what I’ve given you.
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