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.