How to Develop a Life of Prayer: The Soul at Rest Book Review
Life feels easily overwhelming for me right now.
With baby number four on the way, homeschooling, trying to keep the house in order, and navigating the seas of being a self-employed family, there is no shortage of things to keep me wound up tightly.
The responsibility feels consuming. And thus, peace and rest become long forgotten in favor of late night work and anxious striving.
I think that’s why The Soul at Rest by Tricia McCary Rhodes ministered to me so much. This is a 40 day journey designed to lead the reader into deeper connection with God through prayer and awareness of His presence in the midst of the commotion of life.
I long to enter into God’s peace and receive what He is offering. I know it’s available, and yet too often I don’t exercise the self control to be still with him.
Lately I have been more like Martha than Mary.
But the truth is, as Tricia so eloquently puts it,
There is a hidden beauty in our busyness: God created us for work, for the pleasure of productivity. Yet our heavenly Father has always intended for our doing to flow from our being, for our active lives to be energized by souls that have learned to rest in relationship with him
That’s the critical piece. Not that “doing” is wrong, but that it must flow from “being” with the Father. He’s not far away from any one of us, and in fact, if we are His children, He lives in us and we in Him.
As my college mentor often reminded me, “We are human beings, not human doings!” We must simply learn to access the fullness that is presently available to us.
To grow in prayer and awareness of God requires study, seeking, and practice. It doesn’t necessarily happen without intention, and yet the riches of God lay in wait as we scurry about distracted and frazzled.
In The Soul at Rest Tricia teaches about many different aspects of prayer and invites us to try them. Her words are drenched in grace and depth. I love that.
Prepare and plan for prayer
In the years before I was hit by the bus known as “motherhood” I enjoyed daily, prolonged time in God’s word and in prayer –for years. And for years, I was proud of that.
However, God is kind enough to humble us. Since then, this very thing has felt like an ongoing battle, riddled with inconsistencies failure. I never seemed to hit my stride for long before faltering in some way, for some reason.
At first, I felt disqualified from spiritual life as a result. But ultimately, I learned to lay aside legalism, and trust that God loves me no matter what, that He is with me, and that He can help me put into practice all that I have learned in the past and all that I am managing to learn now. I have seen that His faithfulness does not depend on me, but I have also seen how transformative it is to set aside time to spend with Him.
Tricia says it like this:
“Over time and in his infinite patience, God revealed how all that I had done was a gift of grace, that all along it was he who had been drawing me, enabling me, empowering me, and transforming me”
By God’s grace, we are able to set our intentions, prepare a place, and choose a time to spend with God. He longs to meet with us, and He is eager to make us more like Him. Because of His grace, He doesn’t abandon us when we fail, but rather helps us to make a new plan and keep pressing deeper.
The Soul at Rest provides a helpful guide for how to do this, as well as daily prompts to take action. I love that! It becomes the catalyst for daily time with God, and also a step by step guide.
Wait on the Lord
We can’t bridge the gap between God the Father and ourselves. He did that through Christ. We can’t force His hand according to our desires and will, nor can we make Him “fit” what we think He should be. He just IS. That is His name, “I Am,” and He is perfectly wise and perfectly loving.
What we can do is learn to wait on Him. Not to control Him or our time with Him, but to rest in Him and receive from Him. He invites us to submit our requests to Him, praying according to His will. To do that, we must know His will. To know His will, we must know Him. And to know Him, we must pour into our relationship with Him.
In The Soul at Rest, Tricia teaches several different methods of prayer and invites the reader to practice them over the course of 40 days. This book is filled with helpful instruction and sweet invitation to spend time with God. I hope you’ll check it out for yourself!
*This book review was sponsored by Tyndale House Publishers. All opinions are my own.
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