Beginner’s Grace: Bringing Prayer into Your Life Kate Braestrup
In my professional life, I’ve been asked countless questions on prayer. My answers begin with just talk to God and get more complex as the questions continue. I’m always looking for great books on prayer to share. This book caught my attention because it is about prayer and written by Kate Braestrup whose books I have enjoyed.
This book looks at prayers for different times and circumstances in our lives. This book explores the prayers of many faiths and traditions although the majority of the prayers are Christian or Jewish in origin. And here is what she says about prayer, “What prayer, at its best and at our best, has always done is help us to live consciously, honorably, and compassionately” (9). Although plenty of prayers are found within these pages, it is not simply a reference book of prayers. Here you will find stories that will make you laugh and cry and wonder and you’ll want to pray along with everyone whose stories fill these pages.
One of my favorite chapters was “Considering the Grace That Saves.” This chapter calls us to be attentive to each other. I need to constantly be reminded that everyone I meet is a child of God. I need to look people in the eye and really see them.
I would highly recommend this book for anyone who struggles with prayer. I hope this will provide you with a new perspective on times and places and ways to pray. I recommend this book for people who love to pray and love to read about prayer. It is an easily accessible read for all.
“If as my husband defines it, disappointment is the feeling you get when reality doesn’t meet your expectations, gratitude is the feeling you get when reality exceeds your expectations. The truly rational, realistic person should feel overwhelmingly grateful all the time” (21). I have never been called a “truly rational, realistic person” and yet, I hope this statement serves as a reminder to me that there is so much for which I need to be grateful.
“But prayer, like the Sabbath, was made for the human, not the human for prayer” (155). This is a new perspective I had not pondered.
And I love this quote so much that I also mentioned it as it was used in her other book I reviewed, “Fill in the blank. Nothing matters more than _________. When you have filled in the blank, you will have given yourself a functional definition of God” (159).
In the midst of her chapter, “Singing your Prayers”, she shares this thought. “ ‘And the soul felt its worth,’ Father Boyle repeated, and wondered aloud whether any of us might, like Christ, somehow be able to offer our neighbor such love that her soul feels its worth. Maybe our faces should serve as loving mirrors, capable of revealing to a neighbor how good and beautiful she really is. Ever since hearing Father Boyle speak on the radio, I have considered “O Holy Night” to be a prayer” (164).
She begins her public prayers by saying, “Join me, as you will, in the spirit of prayer” (182). I found this an inviting and welcoming prayer invitation for people wherever they are on their journeys.