Prayer is an ancient and simple way to prepare yourself for grace, or love, and to learn to recognize it when it comes. Even the briefest "grace" spoken before dinner offers its time-honored wisdom. Yet in spite of hundreds of traditions and teachings and books about prayer, millions of Americans have become ambivalent about it. They are unsure how, when, where, and even why they might pray, afraid they’ll do it wrong, or worried that they won’t be heard.
Writing in the beautiful, funny, honest narrative style that moved and inspired readers of her first book, Here If You Need Me, Kate Braestrup explains what prayer is and the many ways we can pray. With an approach that is both personal and inclusive, Beginner’s Grace is a new kind of prayer book. Even if you don’t pray and don’t consider yourself religious, there’s room in this book for you. In these pages, Braestrup explains how and why the practice of prayer can open a space in our busy lives for mindfulness, gratitude, contentment, and a wider compassion toward others.
Inspired by her work as a chaplain, Braestrup includes many examples of prayers to draw from—beginning with grace, a brief prayer of thanks. She provides clear models and practical suggestions for making your own and your family’s prayers meaningful and satisfying, and offers prayers for situations in which words might fail: times of anxiety, helplessness, or grief. And she invites you to explore forms of prayer that extend into the wider community, including prayer with and for people we don’t like or with whom we disagree.
A welcoming modern guide to the simplest, most effective way to satisfy a universal spiritual hunger, Beginner’s Grace is for the religious and nonreligious and even irreligious in its generous, good-humored approach to spirituality. With its insight and warmth, Beginner’s Grace is sure to become a spiritual touchstone for people of all faiths
Braestrup (Here If You Need Me), a Unitarian Universalist minister who serves as chaplain to the Maine Warden Service, graciously escorts true prayer into real life. In her fourth book, Braestrup approaches prayer from 24 angles, including from the threshold, in mixed company, for enemies, before service, and with laughter. She presents prayers in lyrics or without words. She understands that prayers can be posture and presence but never formulaic: "They need not be factual, but they must be true." Braestrup's voice registers in a wide range from scholarly to deliciously earthy (she declares God a "noodge") to motherly as she plaits a story strand about herself with a good hank of biblical exegesis, then finishes with personal ribbons, drawing material from her family (familiar from her memoir) and her friends in ministry and law enforcement. Some disquisitions, like the one on sleep, dull when compared to richer, exemplary narratives, such as her teasing chapter on hypocrisy. By often returning to her theme of empathy and consciousness, Braestrup remains a persuasive pastor, praying right through the amen.
Eloquent, uplifting and wonderful!
I devoured this fabulous book! Not only is Kate Braestrup thoughtful, loving and kind- she is also funny and brilliant in her reflections on life and how to incorporate prayer. After reading Beginner's Grace, the author feels like a cherished friend. I highly recommend this book to all.