Kate Braestrup’s new book is Beginner’s Grace and is a book about prayer: learning about it, thinking about it, finding occasions to engage in it. Kate talks about occasions of prayer that are present in one’s everyday life, and offers some simple words that people can use if they don’t already have their own. She describes prayer as a “practice”, like yoga, or medicine.
For people who want to pray but aren’t sure how to begin, or can’t remember to pray, or don’t know what to say, she firsts suggests that you try linking praying to another activity that you are unlikely to forget to do on any given day: eating, toothbrushing. She also shares some small prayers that you can say if you don’t already have one in mind. My favorite is the all-purpose, universal, emergency prayer that Kate says everyone already knows: “OhGodOhGodOhGodOhGodOhGodOhGod!!!”
Other prayer-worthy occasions: bedtime, plane rides, loved ones leaving the house for the day (“threshold” prayers), illnesses and accidents. Kate also shares stories from her job as the chaplain to the Maine Game Warden Service, which are always interesting. What I love about Kate’s writing is that she delivers her message with such warmth and humor that you almost don’t realize that you are actually learning from her writing.
My only other comment is this: I listened to this book on audio CD, and was disappointed that it was not read by the author, as were Marriage and Other Acts of Charity, and Here if You Need Me. I think reading it was a “lesser” experience than it would have been if Kate’s voice had delivered her own words. (Oh, and that whole part about “feet?” Whaaaa….?)