A Spirited Book Club discussion of the NYT bestseller, “A Rhythm of Prayer: A Collection of Meditations for Renewal,” Sarah Bessey, editor.
This book, curated by acclaimed author Sarah Bessey, celebrates and honors that prayerful tradition in a literary form. A companion for daily inspiration, this collection gives readers permission to recognize the weight of all they carry, while also offering a broadened imagination of hope–of what can be restored and made new. Each prayer is an original piece of writing, with a short introduction from Bessey sharing exactly why she loves and looks up to the writer.
For the weary, the angry, the anxious, and the hopeful, this collection of thoughtful, moving, tender prayers offers rest, joyful resistance, and a call to act, written by Barbara Brown Taylor, Amena Brown, Nadia Bolz-Weber, and other artists and thinkers, curated by the author Glennon Doyle calls “my favorite faith writer.”
It’s no secret that we are overworked, overpressured, and edging burnout. Unsurprisingly, this fact is as old as time–and that’s why we see so many prayer circles within a multitude of church traditions. These gatherings are a trusted space where people seek help, hope, and peace, energized by God and one another.
This book is a literary hug, an invitation for respite, and a chance for readers to pause and celebrate who they are, beyond what they do.
Reviews for A Rhythm of Prayer
“An inspiring compendium of original prayers and essays written by progressive faith leaders. Each entry is a meditative gift offering a gateway for one to sit with the challenges of living in the world today. … The words here allow spiritual devotions to be approached with a diverse lens while remaining God-centered. … A book that allows people to speak in their own words while reminding those in positions of privilege that their faith in action is a catalyst for change. This is a welcome addition for those who enjoy contemplative prayer collections that intersect with important topics such as social justice.” — Library Journal
“This book was a breath of fresh air that I didn’t even know I needed. This collection of short essays explores different aspects of prayer and every single one was relevant to me, where I am at this point in my life, and the current climate of the world around me. I can’t recommend this book enough to anyone on a spiritual journey.” — Jennifer Harris
“Prayer has been hard for me for some time now. This book has given me the first opportunity in a long time to not feel disappointment around prayer. The prayers in this book are powerful and full of truth. They are exactly what we need in this moment of reckoning. In a moment when the histories and pillars of our faith structures and institutions are, rightly, being called to accountability, these prayers hold up. These are not the prayers of a timid faith, but of a faith that is bold and free.” — Liz D.
“My wife used the word “devour” to describe how she read this book, and that’s the word I would use too. These prayers and meditations, grouped under themes of Orientation, Disorientation, and Reorientation, are wonderfully, fearfully honest. My favorites included A Prayer Against Efficiency, A Prayer for America, and Examen Your Politics, which reminds us that ‘politics is the single largest systemic tool we have at our disposal with which we can love our neighbor. Simply put, politics for the Christian should be institutional neighborliness.’” — Ben Vore
FIRST BOOK CLUB MEETING for June 3: Introduction, Part 1, Part 2 to page 83
SECOND BOOK CLUB MEETING for June 17: Read the rest of Part 2, Part 3
- The point is not, writes the book’s editor, to “give you prayers to pray but to show you: you still get to pray.”
- What prayer(s) in each of the three Parts spoke most deeply to you?
- Is there a certain prayer, or a phrase from a prayer, that has stuck with you?
- Did some of the prayers make you angry or uncomfortable?
- Which prayer(s) gave you comfort and joy? A sense of renewal, of hope?
- Which prayer(s) did you hear as a call to act? What actions have your taken in response?
- Did reading this book change your understanding of what prayer looks and sounds like?
- Did reading this book inspire you to learn more about any of the contributing authors? Who and why?
- How has this book changed the shape and content – the rhythm – of your own prayers?
- What prayer did you write in the sacred space at the end of the book?
Sarah Bessey is the author of the best-selling and critically acclaimed books Jesus Feminist (2013); Out of Sorts: Making Peace with an Evolving Faith (2015); and Miracles and Other Reasonable Things (2019). Hew newest, A Rhythm of Prayer: A Collection of Meditations for Renewal is a The New York Times, Publisher’s Weekly, and Globe and Mail Bestseller.
Along with her friends, the late Rachel Held Evans and Jim Chaffee, Sarah co-founded Evolving Faith. She now co-leads the community and conference alongside Jeff Chu. Sarah is also the co-host of The Evolving Faith Podcast which debuted at the top of the charts for Religion and Spirituality Podcasts and has been downloaded by hundreds of thousands of listeners worldwide.
Sarah writes the weekly newsletter Field Notes with exclusive essays, devotional series, conversations, and more.
She is a sought-after speaker at churches, conferences, and universities around the world. Also a popular and frequent podcast guest, Sarah has appeared on Jen Hatmaker’s For the Love, Everything Happens with Kate Bowler, LEAD Stories, The Bible for Normal People, RELEVANT, Sorta Awesome, The Road Back to You, and many others.
Book discussion facilitated by Sheri Brown.