How can life *become* prayer

One big reason I set out to try to spend time on this message (with a book proposal and a blog) is to show that God is usually different than we make him out to be. This comes out in the Bible. He’s full of surprises. He sews leather outfits for the couple who betrayed him. He gives clemency to the first murderer. Jacob the devious trickster is father to a great nation. “Jacob have I loved, Easu have I hated.” In a better translation of the Hebrew, God says: “I am favoring Jacob, but not Easu.” God points this out much in a twist of the plot, and our normal assumptions, much to our surprise. It’s all to show his wild grace, which none of us deserve. The running narrative in the Bible isn’t much of a “how to do right living” book. The characters featured are usually full of flaws. It is rather a collection of stories where God’s power and grace shines through and saves the day.

This is a God we can love and trust. It is often a God we weren’t taught about too much in church or Sunday school. Perhaps Jesus was taught to us this way-a lamb draped on his shoulders, and such. But, God is often taught as something of a splintered off honcho, a petulant Being who has had a habit of smiting people.

The idea of understanding God’s character anew, through informed context, is that it leads us to understand the Reality of “him,” and the omnipresence of this Being, God Almighty, always in the regular moments of life. Every moment may be a chance for greater awareness and communion with the lover of our nefesh (soul-whole being). It doesn’t boil down to a set of rules or rituals. It is a relationship, a prayer between us and the Supreme Other. Our life becomes prayer.

Keri Wyatt Kent-Interview


Keri, how would you sum up what you write about, mainly; and why it has been important to you?

I write about the connection between faith and real life. I try to give people practical guidance on spiritual growth, on spiritual practices that can help form them into the image of Christ. And I believe the most important step toward growth, for American Christians, anyway, is to slow down and simplify. So many of my books focus on those themes. That’s been important to me because I know how it feels to be going through the motions, wanting more spiritulally. I see how people try to get busy for God, and they don’t realize how counterproductive that is. I want to help those people find a way to grow by simplifying. 

Tell us the books you’ve written.

God’s Whisper in a Mother’s Chaos (IVP, 2000) is a book for parents of young children who are wondering where their spiritual life went. I wrote it when my own kids were one and three, so it’s very honest. Readers tell me they love this book because they realize they are not alone in the struggles of parenting.
The Garden of the Soul (IVP, 2002) compares the growth of our souls with the growth in a garden. It introduces spiritual disiciplines in a simple way. 

Breathe (Revell, 2005) is about how the pace of our lives affects us spiritually. It tells stories of real women who are moving toward Sabbath Simplicity, and gives practical help on slowing, simplicity and Sabbath-keeping, which are foundational spiritual practices.
Listen (Jossey-Bass, 2006) is about hearing God, through our circumstances, other people, and in time with God. 

Oxygen (Revell, 2008) is a devotional that has you read one gospel passage each week, and reflect on it using various spiritual practices. 

Rest (Zondervan, 2009) is about how to live in Sabbath Simplicity. it looks at the Sabbath command, and what Jesus said about Sabbath, and offers practical, guilt-free ways to embrace Sabbath-keeping as a lifestyle. Readers love this book because it offers freedom and absolutely refuses to get legalistic.

Simple Compassion (Zondervan 2009) will release this September. It’s a 52-week devotional, with one 3-to 4 page entry per week. It’s about how to make a difference in your neighborhood and the world. it looks at verses that talk about God’s concern for the poor, for his heart for compassion and justice. It’s an ideal resource for small groups.

If there was one sentence, or short message, you could convey to the world that would be remembered always, what would it be?

Slow down, and listen to the voice of love, (God’s voice) which says that grace is sufficient.

Why do you think people don’t associate God and spiritual life with rest or enjoyment?

Our understanding of God is skewed by our upbringing, our culture. We often think God is strict or mean–which is so not true. Or we think we have to earn God’s favor–and earning and resting don’t go together. But I’ve found that only when I stop running do I actually experience the unconditional love of God, and the amazingness of grace.

Do you have any tips or ideas for getting better at seeing God in this way?

Start slowing your life down, create some space for God. One day a week, just stop your striving. Really, this is something you can’t just think about, you have to do it to experience it.

What are a few keys to “doing Sabbath” most beneficially? 

The key is to remember that building a Sabbath practice is a long-term project. It’s a journey, and you do it slowly, over time. My book has a lot of practical help, but the key is to begin where you are. If you are a very hurried person, your first step will be different than someone who is already a little more laid back. And also, listen to God’s leadings. Ask others what they do, but remember that you don’t have to do the exact same thing. A good way to start is to ask, “what do I want to be free of?” And then refrain from doing that thing (maybe it’s laundry, or grocery shopping) on the Sabbath. And then, ask “what brings me joy?” And find a way to engage in that on Sabbath (maybe it’s worship, or gardening, or just hanging out with your kids).

What lesson, or lessons, have you had to learn the hard way?

This column is not long enough for me to answer that question But here’s one of the many: don’t run ahead of God. When I’ve tried to steer my life in the direction I thought it should go, I ended up on a major detour. God knows the way, and I just need to follow. 

What’s on the horizon for you? 

My next gig is at the Karitos Arts Festival in Bolingbrook IL July 16-18)

Thank you, Keri! This book was a wonderful read, and brought home a lot of ideas I was already pursuing. It’s good to comprehend just how much we can enjoy God, and actually, how he made us for just that. It seems we get in our own way!

Visitors, your comments are welcome, and Keri, chime right in, too!

Have you authored a book, or enjoyed a book with themes similar to that featured here at Life as Prayer? If so, let me know.

Upcoming featured author- Keri Wyatt Kent


I’ve really enjoyed Keri’s books, most recently, her book called “Rest.”

I’m working on a feature post highlighting her main messages, including an exclusive interview. The issues close to Keri’s heart dovetail nicely with the theme of this site, and I enjoy connecting us to each other.

I gladly take suggestions for authors to highlight here. If you enjoy an author, drop me a line on the contact page, or in the comments below. If you have written a book that pairs well with ideas related here, let me know. This site isn’t all about me, it’s about sharing the journey, learning, growing, and enjoying this world anew.

Thanks for stopping by.

Challenge: To not make haste

Chapter 5 of John Ortberg‘s book, “The Life You Always Wanted”, is called, “The Practice of ‘Slowing’.” He details a discipline, or spiritual way, of living an unhurried life. As a way to challenge the typical tendency to rush, Ortberg challenges his readers to look for the longest checkout line, and wait in that one. Sounds frustrating, right? The idea is to challenge how one views time, actions, and life as a whole.

John’s experiment gives a person a jump start strategy to begin to enjoy all of life, even the little things that get rushy. No part of living is wasted. Something that was once frustrating can actually turn into a positive. Instead of an urgent hardship, the experience is controlled by the person, rather than happening to them.  It is also experienced for it’s own benefit, not just as a means to something else.  

Regarding time and busyness: The practice moves the practitioner away from being a habitual slave to urgency, and a indentured servant to the clock. As it turns out, an unhurried life will create more opportunities than one ever thought possible. Creating cushions of time is even likely to save one time, and establish invaluable connections, not possible for a routinely rushed individual.

Boiling it down, “being unhurried” is to say one is, “moving, acting, and existing without urgency or haste.” In an emergency, this way must be abandoned for a time. But, in normal circumstances, why spend life so quickly, since we can’t get it back?

Things once unnoticeable, become things such as pleasant surprises, little awakenings, newfound interactions, joys, plus experiences and insights aplenty. When we plan to give ourselves extra time to experience an unhurried life, or at least, far larger chunks of it unhurried compared to before, we enjoy more peace of mind, and well-being.

I’ve personally found it’s also a wonderful surprise to hear more Divine “whispers,” and see more Divine “appointments” placed in our path, once we sideline our hurried manner, and ease into a more organic way of living.

Try John’s checkout line experiment, at least once. If you do, please leave a reply about it. (Did it make you insane, or was it valuable?) And-if you do it more than 3 times, in two weeks, I’d really like to hear if it’s changed anything for you. I have a new contact page if you’d prefer that method, or just leave a comment below.


Have a slower day :)

Book update–

To update visitors, friends, and fans, old and new…

3 chapters, an overview, and a new author bio is in my agent’s hands, Chip MacGregor. Editors at one place have mentioned their initial interest, and it seems there are other interesting leads as well.

The book is heading on a bit of  different path than I first imagined, so I felt the great need to revamp the subhead. The working title for the manuscript now is the following: Life As Prayer: A New Paradigm for Contemporary Spirituality Based on an Un-religious God. It is sure to be eye opening, stumbling block removing, burden lifting, and revealing how enjoyable our Creator is. I will keep you posted, so check in for more info. Also, I greatly enjoy comments to any posts, so feel free to put in your two cents, as long as it’s not spiteful of anyone.

Also- The Holy Bible: Mosaic, Tyndale’s new New Living Translation Bible is coming out in October 2009. I’ve lined up a radio spot on WGRC for the show called, “The Matter at Hand” with Larry Weidman, to speak about this project, and the meditation I wrote for it on the Trinity. This is going to be a really neat layout for the Bible that hasn’t been done yet, with readings, reflections from every century of Christianity, gorgeous artwork, 52 meditations, room to write, and more. Check this one out!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Enrollment is now OPEN for the Mini-Course in May! Dismiss