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Exploring the possibilities of prayer

Review of A Rhythm of Prayer: A Collection of Meditations for Renewal edited by Sarah Bessey.

Written for our current cultural context, Sarah Bessey’s A Rhythm of Prayer isn’t just a nice neat book of prayers for you to pray, but rather a deep dive into the diverse world of praying. It breaks down what we think we know about prayer and helps construct a vast new understanding of all that it can be. Divided into three parts, Orientation, Disorientation, and Reorientation, Bessey has collected meditations that will lead you to feel distressed and comforted, lost and at home, tired and hopeful.

Dedicated to the late “Eshet Chayil, woman of valour” Rachel Held Evans, Bessey recruits a diverse group of friends and writers for this book, from poets Amena Brow and Kaitlin Curtice to Spiritual Director Nish Weiseth and justice educator, activist, and minister Alicia T. Crosby. The collection covers prayers, liturgies, poems and reminders. “You are so loved. You are so loved. You are so loved.” Bessey reminds the reader that God’s love is not dependent on any one thing they are, or aren’t, whether they feel it or not.

This book doesn’t expect you to be in a “mountain top” experience or at peace with the world. Rather, the writers meet you when you’re wondering if God can hear you, when you’re struggling with forgiveness, whether you’re black or white, abled or disabled, found or lost, praying or not. There are prayers for when you’re curled up in your favourite sweats in front of a cozy fire and prayers for when you’re ready to shout at God in frustration.

A Rhythm of Prayer is not a book of prescribed prayers but rather a prescription to open our minds and hearts to the possibility that God hears us in more ways than we can imagine. In ways that we might’ve thought were forbidden. In ways that we’ve been too scared to try. Mostly, A Rhythm of Prayer is a book that Bessey prays will remind you that in the midst of this crazy, often disheartening, yet beautiful world, God is in control and there’s no prayer too crazy, too disheartening, or too beautiful that God doesn’t hear.


  • Ashley Medendorp

    Ashley lives in Artesia, California, with her husband and two young sons. She is a graduate of Tyndale Seminary and a member of Rosewood Christian Reformed Church.

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