How to Pray When You Can’t Sit Still is a new ebook by Shannon Hale, (available through Amazon.com for $3.99).
Shannon writes to those of us who want to pray more. Her unique insights come from living up close and personal with family members who have been diagnosed with attention deficit. But all of us know what it’s like to have our attention drawn away from prayer toward a thousand demands a day, so even those who aren’t affected by attention deficit have much to gain from her scriptural insights and practical applications.
My favorite chapter is called “Elijah’s practice: Retreat in the Real World” (This follows the chapter called “’Elijah’s Prayer: I’m Worn Out!’”) Let me share some of her words:
“Retreat is simply a choice to break from the pull of everyday life for a set amount of time … a choice for solitude in body and in mind, a simple act of listening. Retreat is meant to equip us to be more joyful, more loving, and more effective in the ‘real life’ God has given us—including the areas where we feel exhausted and forgotten. When we define retreat this way, it opens up a new world of possibilities for spiritual renewal no matter what our stage of life…. Set out with an idea of how you will spend your time and what you are seeking from God, but be ready for Him to take you in an entirely different direction.”
Some months ago I took personal guided retreat in my home using a prayer packet designed by Shannon. The surprising thing was that the prompts asked me to change locations for each segment. Somehow this did actually change my perspective and alert my soul to a new focus. Having a guide gave shape and purpose to the time. I found it very rewarding. The retreat chapter of her book functions much the same way. Not only does she suggest numerous types of retreats you could arrange for yourself, she also offers suggestions for how to effectively structure the time.
Another great insight in this book is a broadened definition of prayer and a helpful picture of what it might mean to weave prayer into daily activities, like an exercise routine. Parents of busy children will find all kinds of practical suggestions. By the end of the book you’ll know you’ve gained a new friend in Shannon. You can keep in touch with her via her blog: DistractedByPrayer.blogspot.com