Jared Patrick Boyd seeks, with Imaginative Prayer: A Yearlong Guide for your Child’s Spiritual Formation, to provide a groundwork for practical, imaginative prayer life that parents can experience alongside their children.
The book’s format provides a year of imaginative prayer for parents and children. After a few brief introductory chapters, Boyd gets to the meat of the book, which is a series of practical applications of strategies and ideas to prayer imaginatively. What exactly does that mean? Boyd argues that humans are impacted through their imagination, and not engaging the imagination means we miss a lot of possible formation for ourselves and others. Rather than providing a simple definition of what it means to pray imaginatively, Boyd walks readers through a series of ways to do just that.
There are 6 parts to the yearlong guide, focusing on God’s love, loving others, forgiveness, Jesus is the King, the good news of God, and the mission of God. Each has activities, questions, and ways to reflect throughout the time spent on each activity. The format of each is approximately similar, beginning with a reflection on a biblical story, followed by a question and answer, a written-out prayer with built-in pause cues, and further questions and reflections for parents to integrate. I particularly enjoyed examples like checking out a book of natural history to look at the various creatures God made and talk about the creations God loves and how much God has created. Other examples include using water to show how sharing provides greater abundance, reading the Bible and trying to imagine how the characters themselves would have felt in the context of the stories, etc. Essentially, every parent should be able to find at least a few activities they feel comfortable and even excited about sharing with their children. Many will benefit from using every single one over the course of a year.
If there is one complaint I have, it is how very specific some aspects are. Especially in the prayer sections, where Boyd even maps out the specific length of pauses between certain lines. It just seems like a bit too much specificity in a resource that is intended to encourage imagination. However, it could also be helpful for those who are really concerned about how to begin.
Imaginative Prayer: A Yearlong Guide for your Child’s Spiritual Formation provides a unique way to pray and do devotions with school-aged kids. The book seems an excellent way to encourage spiritual growth for children–and their parents.
+Many, many varieties of activities, questions, and reflections to choose from
+Use of diverse sources for citations and quotes
-A bit overly specific on some aspects
Disclaimer: I was provided with a copy of the book for review by the publisher. I was not required to give any specific kind of feedback whatsoever.
What options are there in the origins debate? – A Taxonomy of Christian Origins Positions– I clarify the breadth of options available for Christians who want to interact on various levels with models of origins. I think this post is extremely important because it gives readers a chance to see the various positions explained briefly.
Origins Debate– Here is a collection of many of my posts on Christianity and science.
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The internet is a big place, friends. I have made it smaller for you by finding a number of posts worth your time. Check them out. We have Mormonism, prayer, intelligent design, creationism, and a universe from nothing on display today.
A Compilation of Professors Responding to Mormon Claims– A user over on Reddit (not usually a site I recommend for thoughtful discussion) wanted to do some research into the claims made in the Book of Mormon. They emailed a number of professors in Egyptology and Mesoamerican studies with a survey of those claims asking about their credence. Check out the compilation of responses they got.
A gigantic royalty check from nothing– Edward Feser is a Thomistic philosopher who is quite erudite in his thinking. Here, he analyzes Lawrence Krauss’ view that the universe could come from nothing.
Prayer– A great little web comic which shows how awesome prayer is, if you just think about it for a minute.
Michael Behe and Keith Fox debate theistic evolution vs intelligent design– Winter Knight has up a “VERY SNARKY” review of the debate between ID advocate Michael Behe and theistic evolutionist Keith Fox. The link also has the audio of the debate, which is well worth listening to.
In the Beginning Symposium, Part One: Fossils– Over at Spiritual Meanderings, there is an interesting series going on analyzing a symposium by City Bible Forum on creation.
As part of 40 Days for Life, a group I’m in on Campus (Concordia Students for Life) went to an abortion clinic that was shockingly close. I’ll be discussing the experience, and there are a few photos:
When we first arrived on site, there was a man there to talk to us about what we could/could not do, where we could go, etc. It was late evening, so it was closed, but two employees drove by us while we were talking to the man. One of them had her hand over her mouth as she drove past. Not sure what she might have been saying/thinking but I hope that it may have been sorrow or regret of some kind. The man who was there told us about just talking to people, a couple stories, etc. The most striking thing though was him talking about the “medical waste” trucks that would come and take the “waste.” It’s disgusting… discarded babies, hauled as “waste.”
Once the man left, we stood in a circle and prayed. Then we sang some songs, just pieces of hymns or praise songs that we could remember. Then we separated and prayed individually.
The setting was so perfect. It was raining, freezing cold, and dark as sin. It was so striking to think of my previous thoughts on the notion of suffering and how God understands human suffering. Thinking of the rain as God’s tears… and thinking about the fact that just days before we drew 3200 hearts in chalk on the pavement outside the chapel to show the number of hearts each day that are never allowed to love. Those hearts were being washed away at the end of the day, just as the hearts they’d represented had been extinguished that entire day (several of us had this same thought). But we were there to protest, we were there to pray, to ask for forgiveness, and to acknowledge the Redeemer.
It was a truly powerful experience. There is an air about the place, a spiritual kind of malevolence. The moment I stepped onto the general property, I could feel it. I immediately teared up. What could I say? What prayer could I offer? I simply repeated a version of the Kyrie (“Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy on us”) the entire time as I prayed with emotions and thoughts, not words, just feelings. What kind of atrocity have we allowed? Will my generation stand against this? I pray it shall be so.
Most striking to me is the difference between just talking about abortion from an impersonal perspective and being at a clinic where I could feel the effects. I’m not trying to say it’s not worth trying to debate abortion from an objective standpoint, but it is so much more real than that (see here for my own arguments against abortion). It’s not something that’s just an interesting topic, but it is a matter of life and death, and it’s a matter of life on death on a huge scale. Several thousand a day in U.S.A. alone. What kind of happiness are we pursuing when we murder the innocent? It speaks volumes about our values that a “choice” is valued above a life. We have become such pragmatists that we can turn a blind eye to the massacre next door. It’s disgusting.
We can’t claim to care about freedom or justice or liberty and deprive thousands of people of their lives each day. It’s horrible. And the only response I can muster, the only prayer I can utter is “Lord have mercy on us.”
There are a couple pictures below.