Praying Upside Down: A Book Review

praying upside down

I’ve been in a prayer rut without even realizing it.

I approach it like a to-do list, checking each person off an unseen piece of paper and moving on with my day. And the beauty is that God still hears these prayers and answers them, but I’m discovering my conversations with him can be so much richer.

When I first heard about Kelly O’Dell Stanley’s book, Praying Upside Down, I was intrigued. What did praying upside down mean? It seemed almost uncanny to me, but I had to know more.

As soon as I read the introduction, I was hooked. Kelly explains how artist Betty Edwards discovered the revolutionary concept of studying a subject upside down while drawing it.

What she found is that portraits became more accurate, because instead of relying on memory and the information our brains store from past experience, the artists paid more attention to details. They picked up on abnormalities they would normally miss.

So what does this have to do with prayer? Author and graphic designer, Kelly, soon discovered it had everything to do with it.

Praying upside down is introduced to her as she is trying to sell her home while remodeling her family’s newly purchased one. I was immediately drawn into her story. As my husband and I are currently dealing with a similar situation, I could feel the author’s anxiety and frustration while she tried to juggle two houses.

Everything changes when God prompts Kelly to pray for the future buyer of her house instead of praying for her own situation. Although it seems irrational, she soon discovers by praying for the buyer, she glimpses a bigger picture God is weaving, which is far greater than anything she could imagine.

The author goes on to explain how the ways we often see God can be skewed and points out obstacles which obstruct our view. Often, we think God hasn’t answered our prayers because he doesn’t give us the response we wanted. The author is all too familiar with this delusion, as she asked God to heal her mom of cancer. Although God did not heal her in the way Kelly wanted, she did experience ultimate healing.

My heart ached for Kelly as she told this story, as I know I have all too often had a similar reaction when God didn’t answer prayers the way I desired. What she discovers in looking back is that God was there all along caring for her and her family in ways she didn’t even see at the time because she was consumed with her own grief and loss.

He was standing right behind me, arms stretched wide open, never leaving my side, crying along with me, absorbing my pain as his own. Page 71

If you’re in a place where you feel like your prayers are stagnant or reverberating off the ceiling, please pick up a copy of Kelly’s book. She has stretched me to explore prayer in ways I never knew possible. Some chapters end with a Prayer Palette exercise, which will show you how to see and approach prayer from a different perspective.

Through reading this book, I’ve seen that my prayers are only limited by my own perception. With a limitless God who turns the world upside down in the best ways, my prayers can go further than I ever dreamed.

You can pick up a copy of Praying Upside Down on Amazon or at your local bookstore.


A free copy of Praying Upside Down was provided to me by The Blythe Daniel Agency in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to give a positive review. 


8 thoughts on “Praying Upside Down: A Book Review

  1. Abby, thanks for sharing this! When I read the title of the book caught my attention so much that I had to run and read your post! It’s intriguing and at the same time encouraging me to get my copy, sit at my couch and start reading it for long hours. I need that! Sometimes I think that my prayers hit the ceiling and come back without response. God is asking us to have more faith and have a view from His perspective and eyes, and from time to time we miss that when we are praying. Thanks again! Blessings my friend.

    Tayrina from TGAWrites


  2. Man Abby…You sure did reel me in with your description of this book. I will have to consider adding this, hopefully to my summer read.

    By the way, possibly we will catch another conference together, as the date for the one I was anticipating was released and fell in October. But we shall me soon my Sister!


  3. Abby,
    Much like you, God has been broadening my perspective on my prayer life and this book sounds like an excellent guide. From seeing prayer as active (our prayers ascending and His answers descending simultaneously) to anticipating God’s answers to prayer with pre-emptive thanksgiving, He is challenging me to think way beyond the imaginary check list. Thankful that God continues to shake it up and not leave me in my well established ruts.
    Thanks for a thought provoking and encouraging post!
    Bev xx


  4. Praying for the buyer ….reading these words was a Selah moment for me. We want/need to sell our home and for years I’ve prayed about it from my perspective and not the future owners perspective. I’m so glad you shared that example from the book, Abby! If it wasn’t for anyone else it was definitely for me.


Share your thoughts...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s