About the Author

Robin is the author of For All Who Wander, her relatable memoir about wrestling with doubt that reads much like a conversation with a friend. She's as Southern as sugar-shocked tea, married to her college sweetheart, and has three children. An empty nester with a full life, she's determined to...

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  1. The chapter on Sacramental Prayer gave me a lot to think about. I found myself researching “Eucharistic Prayer” on the web and finding some ideas that I will incorporate into my prayer life on days when we observe the Lord’s supper at church.

    I do read a Psalm every day and try to pray through it… This helps ground and focus me.

    Robin, thanks for the link to the definition of “Hesychastic” Prayer…. that was helpful.

    I love what Foster shared about “Breath Prayer” on pages 122-124. I realize now that I do this sometimes…. the words just sort of flow out during a difficult moment or during a sweet moment of the day. “Help me, Jesus.” “Thank you, Jesus.” I find myself doing this….

    I love what Angie said in the video about changing her definition of prayer. Sometimes prayer is just one word cried up to God. Sometimes, it’s just a cry period.

    • Lyli,

      Girl, you do your homework–two points for YOU. Not that anyone is keeping score :). It DOES demonstrate your intentional pursuit of growth during this study; I’m praying over you now, that prayer explodes in your life, in response to your faithfulness. It’s a general prayer for all of us, but I really see evidence of you digging in beyond our pages and I wanted to let you know your work blesses me. Crazy, huh?

    • Lyli,
      I too try to read through a Psalm each day and never thought of it as a liturgy. I used to be more of the mindset of staying away from all the “religious” structure and seek more spontaneous relationship. However, as the years have passed I see the value and importance of following some of these “rituals.” As Foster said the Bible is filled with them! The intention of my heart is true and intentional, but the benefits I read in chapter 10 were great reminders. I was really encouraged that structure is ok and I can watch out for some of the dangers or concerns Foster also mentioned. Lyli, I think you said it well, sacramental prayer helps ground and focus us, and I know I need that.

  2. I have to say, I had a tough time getting through “Sacramental Prayer”… I found that I had to let that chapter “sit” in my brain & after watching the video & reading Robin’s summary above, only then did it all start to fall into place for me.

    As a Catholic, I am very familiar with the Eucharistic Prayer & Eucharistic Mystery & I think the C.S. Lewis quote,”…,Take, eat: not Take, understand.’ really sums it up. It is a mystery that we will never understand & aren’t meant to analyze or question. It is the tenet of Catholiscm; what we are asked is to believe it & have faith in it.

    I did love that Foster ending that chapter with the Our Father…I, like Jessica, have grown up with that prayer & have said it mindlessly many times. It is only fairly recently that I have thought about the meaning of each line of that prayer & I believe that when all else fails, when I have no words to formally “pray”, this prayer says it ALL! 🙂

    Unceasing Prayer was clearly my favorite chapter of the two ;). I find myself saying “Breath Prayers” all the time (especially, as the mom of a spirited 8 yr. old, “Lord, please give me patience!” lol!) & I never really considered those “pleas”, if you will, to be prayers…looking at that very differently now.

    I also find, the more I say “breath prayers”, the more awareness I have of the Lord in my life, walking beside me, so to speak. I find it’s a great practice to get into! It has helped me alot…makes me totally aware that I CANNOT do it alone! (“It” being life, a specific situation, etc.)

    • Patricia,

      One of the things that most draws me to God is his great mystery; another, the paradox of Kingdom life–it’s so upside down! While I think there’s danger in “blind faith” and not questioning teaching, what we’re reading, etc., I think Lewis was saying something altogether different (not that you were disputing that, I’m just riffing off what you said 🙂 ).

      It’s so encouraging to me that these posts are helpful to you; and I loved listening to the girls talk through particular points. They could’ve gone on for a lot longer and I would’ve been thrilled :).

    • Patricia,
      I also loved what you mentioned about breath prayer. Even though I didn’t know to call it that, I know I’ve asked God specific small things consistently and constantly before. I remember being encouraged in Chapter 1, Simple Prayer, knowing that I probably pray more than I realize. Same here – helps me remember that God is always accessible to me.

  3. There was lots to think about with these two chapters. Sacramental Prayer was a bit more difficult for me to work my way through; I just found myself tripping over some of the terminology. Still, there was much to be taken from this chapter. I love how Foster says we “must learn holy listening”. This isn’t the first time I’ve felt the “just listen” nudge while reading this book. I’m more apt to do the talking, the complaining, the requesting; I’m still trying to grasp this idea that we really can meet Him in the quiet stillness, listen, and experience the “Divine Whisper”.

    Unceasing Prayer (p 121) – “More and more we find ourselves going through the stresses and strains of daily activity with an ease and serenity that amaze even us…especially us.” – I want to get to this place!

    I also love what Angie mentions about “redefining prayer”. I definitely feel this way. I’ve had this idea of what I think “prayer” means for 20+ years and now the whole concept is stretching and growing in leaps and bounds as I read this book.

    • Christina,

      I had to smile as I read your comment because my Word for 2013 is Listen; mercy, it’s kickin’ my behind, too :). In the best of ways.

      That quote IS a goal, isn’t it? Our days laced with ease and serenity? To live outside our circumstance? Mind blowing to consider :).

      Love hearing how your growing and stretching…a reward for your faithfulness.

  4. Just a quick note on the “body prayer”section – As a yoga instructor, I have found movement and body position to be particularly helpful in my prayer life. I’ve even written some yoga prayer sequences that might be helpful to others, and you can find a few of them on my website: http://www.prayerandyoga.com. I also have a friend who is a Holy Yoga Instructor and who incorporates Christian teaching and prayer into a yoga practice. Just a thought for those who might want to investigate the concept of body prayer. =)

  5. In this section I took tons of notes! Both chapters were just as good to me. Both shed light on areas that I’ve been thinking on and well struggling with, on and off for years.

    Liturgical prayer was kind of encouraging to me because I really, really (hate to say hate but…) dislike the way people divide on this. I hear “going through the motions/ that was too informal/ you have to pray from the word for it to be powerful”… so on. Foster makes excellent points on how this is a good practice to some extent but ultimately we need to remain dependent on the Holy Spirit! I won’t go into the freedoms and concerns, but I will touch on what Foster said about relevance. I personally feel the pressure to be relevant so much. Especially seeing that I became a mom quite young and my son is at double-digits now, I’m still learning to resist conforming to the culture around me and I love that it’s ok to use the tools (some customs and words) others have used to communicate with my God. Certain things can help ground you. What a relief, if that makes sense! Lots of good stuff here. I thought Foster’s thoughts on eucharistic prayer being so complete, encompassing “examination, repentance, petition, forgiveness, contemplation, thanksgiving, celebration, and more,” were really good.

    Unceasing prayer was also good but I was thinking (through the WHOLE chapter), “I don’t know if I can do that!” Then at the end I loved how Foster said when I feel decidedly unspiritual just ask for a time out, don’t force or fake it! I know that God wants constant, growing communion with me and he wants me to seek that too. The problem, like Foster said, is “we are a distracted people” but “unceasing prayer has a way of speaking peace to the chaos.” I loved the practical areas and steps Foster pointed out to approach this. I’ve had experiences of what he called breath prayer, but I didn’t know to call it that and never would have thought to ask for it the way he said following the steps.

    Good quote:
    Right at the beginning, Foster says “regular patterns of devotion form a kind of skeletal structure upon which I can build the muscle and tissue of unceasing prayer. Without this outward structure my internal heart yearning for God simply does not hold together.”

  6. Sacramental Prayer was a hard chapter for me as well. Lots of great information in both chapters, but I really liked Unceasing Prayer. I found it encouraging…gives me hope that one day I just might get there.

    My favorite quote was on page 128: “And here is the joy: the results are always in excess of the work put in.” There are so many times I have put a lot of time and energy into a project or person only to have my hopes crushed in the end. Foster’s words remind me that my God doesn’t work that way. I can rest assured that in every effort I make to draw closer to Him, He will only exceed my expectations!