How do I pray using the photos? I just look at them. "Prayer," wrote St. Therese, "is a surge of the heart." I just look at the pictures, one by one, and let my heart surge to God for each person. A photo captures much of the essence of a person. As I gaze at each photo, the person it represents becomes present to me, complete with personality traits, strengths, weaknesses, memories, conversations, needs, etc."21 Ways to Worship" is chock-full of practical ways like this to lift your heart to God. The 21 ways each have their own short chapter where Flynn explains an approach, sometimes including his personal experiences, sometimes including a prayer he has written, and often including scripture or a quote from a spiritual master.
Sometimes actual words of prayer come to mind and are offered; sometimes there are no words. Essentially, I am simply lifting each person up to God in whatever way and for whatever period of time seems called for. It varies from day to day.
Although the book is written to help direct an hour of Eucharistic adoration (prayer in front of the Eucharist), you can use these ideas and techniques any time to help your prayer life. In fact, I often forgot that the direction of the book was toward adoration. I'd come away from a chapter thinking about my experience with a particular approach in prayer. That is not to say that Flynn is not focused on Adoration. It is just a wonderful reminder that prayer is always conversation with God. Adoration is conversation with God right at His feet in the Eucharist.
I particularly enjoyed the art that headed each chapter. I only wish that they would have been made larger so that I could have made out the details more easily on some of the complex pieces. They provided yet another way to lift our hearts and minds to God in worship.
Unfortunately, I did not enjoy Flynn's corny headlines quite as much. I realize they are included to pull the reader in and make them more comfortable. I think my tolerance decreased as the book went on because each chapter was so short that the next chapter head was continually popping up. Your milage may vary. They didn't detract enough to keep me from reading the book and the rest of each chapter was not corny, thankfully, but well written.
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The publisher has very generously provided a free copy of "21 Ways to Worship." It will be given away on June 6, 2013.
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