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A Year of Living Prayerfully: How a Curious Traveler Met the Pope, Walked on Coals, Danced with Rabbis, and Revived His Prayer Life

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Is Anyone Listening? Do My Prayers Really Change Anything? Jared Brock sensed that something was missing in his prayer life, so he embarked on a yearlong journey to rediscover the power of prayer (and eat some delicious falafel). FOLLOW JARED ON A 37,000-MILE TRIP AROUND THE WORLD AS HE... * Dances with Hasidic Jews in Brooklyn * Discovers the 330-year-old home of Brother Law Is Anyone Listening? Do My Prayers Really Change Anything? Jared Brock sensed that something was missing in his prayer life, so he embarked on a yearlong journey to rediscover the power of prayer (and eat some delicious falafel). FOLLOW JARED ON A 37,000-MILE TRIP AROUND THE WORLD AS HE... * Dances with Hasidic Jews in Brooklyn * Discovers the 330-year-old home of Brother Lawrence * Burns his clothes at the end of the world * Attends the world's largest church * Attempts fire walking (with only minor burns) Although up to 90% of us pray, very few of us feel like we've mastered prayer. A Year of Living Prayerfully is a fascinating, humorous, globe-trotting exploration of prayer that will help you grow your own prayer life. While filming a documentary about sex trafficking, Jared and Michelle Brock felt a deep need for prayer in their personal lives. In an effort to learn more about prayer, the couple traveled the globe, exploring the great Judeo-Christian prayer traditions: in mountains and monasteries, in Christian communities and cathedrals, standing up and lying down, every hour and around the clock. Jared's witty reflections on his fast-paced journey will both entertain and inspire you to think about your own prayer journey. Join Jared on a rollicking modern-day prayer pilgrimage... you'll never pray the same again.


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Is Anyone Listening? Do My Prayers Really Change Anything? Jared Brock sensed that something was missing in his prayer life, so he embarked on a yearlong journey to rediscover the power of prayer (and eat some delicious falafel). FOLLOW JARED ON A 37,000-MILE TRIP AROUND THE WORLD AS HE... * Dances with Hasidic Jews in Brooklyn * Discovers the 330-year-old home of Brother Law Is Anyone Listening? Do My Prayers Really Change Anything? Jared Brock sensed that something was missing in his prayer life, so he embarked on a yearlong journey to rediscover the power of prayer (and eat some delicious falafel). FOLLOW JARED ON A 37,000-MILE TRIP AROUND THE WORLD AS HE... * Dances with Hasidic Jews in Brooklyn * Discovers the 330-year-old home of Brother Lawrence * Burns his clothes at the end of the world * Attends the world's largest church * Attempts fire walking (with only minor burns) Although up to 90% of us pray, very few of us feel like we've mastered prayer. A Year of Living Prayerfully is a fascinating, humorous, globe-trotting exploration of prayer that will help you grow your own prayer life. While filming a documentary about sex trafficking, Jared and Michelle Brock felt a deep need for prayer in their personal lives. In an effort to learn more about prayer, the couple traveled the globe, exploring the great Judeo-Christian prayer traditions: in mountains and monasteries, in Christian communities and cathedrals, standing up and lying down, every hour and around the clock. Jared's witty reflections on his fast-paced journey will both entertain and inspire you to think about your own prayer journey. Join Jared on a rollicking modern-day prayer pilgrimage... you'll never pray the same again.

30 review for A Year of Living Prayerfully: How a Curious Traveler Met the Pope, Walked on Coals, Danced with Rabbis, and Revived His Prayer Life

  1. 4 out of 5

    Natalie Vellacott

    This was definitely a unique book which will make it appeal to some. However, I'm not sure that the reader will learn much about Christian prayer, the subject of the book. It is more of a study in the traditions and practices of various religious denominations and some cults. It is interesting none-the-less but my concern is that it might lead some people down some dangerous paths. Christians who are not grounded in the Word might be side-tracked to pursue some of these extra-biblical ideas whic This was definitely a unique book which will make it appeal to some. However, I'm not sure that the reader will learn much about Christian prayer, the subject of the book. It is more of a study in the traditions and practices of various religious denominations and some cults. It is interesting none-the-less but my concern is that it might lead some people down some dangerous paths. Christians who are not grounded in the Word might be side-tracked to pursue some of these extra-biblical ideas which wouldn't help them grow in spiritual maturity and could be a distraction. Brock and his wife travelled to many countries of the world during his year of living prayerfully. They investigated prayer practices in the places they went to and took part in the religious customs as they went. This included attending a Benny Hinn meeting, walking on coals, a visit to Westboro Baptist church, going to North Korea, meeting the Pope and somehow having lunch with him and a number of other things. Brock entered fully into his experiment and took part in a lot of rituals that were questionable for me. He resisted the command to bow before an idol in North Korea but participated in a lot of other mystical practices and superstitions that I would personally have avoided. Whilst protestant himself he seems to have no issues with ecumenism and quotes a number of mystics, catholics and cult leaders. The question really is how far one should go in attempting to learn how to pray ... Brock adopted some of his new discoveries into his daily prayer routine including a lot of time in silence. Each person needs to work this out for themselves before God but contemplative spirituality was stamped on quite a lot of this book. Whilst Brock avoids and rejects some of the extremes he encounters, he doesn't seem to be aware of other potential dangers. A reader might enjoy this for the historical research value particularly as he visited some hard to reach places and shares how customs have advanced over the years. Brock writes in an easy to read, casual style, I didn't find his humour that amusing but others might. I don't recommend this as a guide to learning how to pray. Prayer is simply a means of communicating with God. We have enough examples in Scripture and I don't think we need to make it complicated or follow rituals. Christians may want to read this book for the travel/history aspect but just be wary of being unduly influenced. It is clean--there is no bad language, violence or sexual content.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Paula Vince

    Jared Brock and his wife, Michelle, wanted to be more effective in their prayer lives. He claims to have been more of a dwarf sapling than the giant spiritual oak he wanted to be. What follows is a fascinating pilgrimage around the world to locations of several prayer greats, some living and some dead. If there were any secrets to a powerful prayer lifestyle along the way, Jared was determined to find them. What he offers us is not another 'how to' book on prayer techniques, but a candid series Jared Brock and his wife, Michelle, wanted to be more effective in their prayer lives. He claims to have been more of a dwarf sapling than the giant spiritual oak he wanted to be. What follows is a fascinating pilgrimage around the world to locations of several prayer greats, some living and some dead. If there were any secrets to a powerful prayer lifestyle along the way, Jared was determined to find them. What he offers us is not another 'how to' book on prayer techniques, but a candid series of interviews and research in which he finds out what has worked best for others. I enjoyed this book, especially because it's the sort of trip I'd love to take myself. Jared draws us into his own experiences in such a way that we might have tagged along on his travels. It's easy to trust him to be the ideal guide, because of his obvious earnestness to cut through any waffle and commercialism to the gems beneath. Some of the places he visited I wouldn't be able to get to anyway, such as the Greek Orthodox community of Mount Athos, where no females are allowed. Others I might not want to explore, such as North Korea, Westboro Baptist Church and some of the more militant parts of Israel. In fact, Jared Brock was seriously worried for his own safety at times. Firewalking at a Tony Robbins convention was the least of his danger. Some of his highlights include a face-to-face meeting with Pope Francis at the Vatican, walking the famous Camino de Santiago in Spain, which incorporates the Apostle James' resting place, and discovering the site of Brother Lawrence's monastic kitchen in France. He also went to Dr David Yonggi Cho's enormous Yoido Full Gospel Church in Seoul. All this is just scratching the surface. He ended up with several eye-opening and thought-provoking takeaways from this smorgasbord of destinations. Some are in his frequent, amusing footnotes. The book is interspersed with quotes from well-known people. On a more prosaic note, I was shaking my head over the number of significant landmarks which turned to be unexpectedly closed when Jared arrived, or access was denied for whatever reason. The fact that I'm not the only person this sort of thing repeatedly happens to is a revelation in itself. With so many vastly different philosophies and habits to examine, he was looking for recurring themes or major breakthroughs. Jared was no unbiased reporter. He's always ready to give his personal opinions in his wrap-ups. He lets us know when he's amazed or aghast, and most times, his feelings coincided with mine. There are so many saints and prayer greats to quote from, but I'll finish with a quote from Jared Brock himself to sum up this book. 'A lot of people, myself included, are guilty of treating God like a self-help guru. Prayer is our mantra, a way to bolster our confidence and psych ourselves up for whatever challenges lie ahead. To some extent it works. But prayer isn't a mind game. It's not a pseudoscientific technique for achieving success in life. It's a deeply intimate form of communication with the lover of our souls. Prayer isn't about self-improvement. We don't gain confidence. We enter God's. We don't become a better person. God conforms us to the image of His Son. We don't attain perfection. We're covered by the spotless Lamb.' I'm so glad that, as he made the effort to make this pilgrimage, he didn't keep the experiences and insights to himself. Thanks to NetGalley and Tyndale House for my review copy.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Steven R. McEvoy

    This book was recommended to me by my mother-in-law. She was reading it and loving it. She was laughing out loud, laughing so hard she has to stop reading. The idea of the book I though was really intriguing, travel the world, encounter other faith traditions, focus on how they pray, and learn to find your own way into prayer. When I started the book I was very eager to follow Jared around the world and through the various traditions. And to be honest for the first few chapters the excitement st This book was recommended to me by my mother-in-law. She was reading it and loving it. She was laughing out loud, laughing so hard she has to stop reading. The idea of the book I though was really intriguing, travel the world, encounter other faith traditions, focus on how they pray, and learn to find your own way into prayer. When I started the book I was very eager to follow Jared around the world and through the various traditions. And to be honest for the first few chapters the excitement stayed. But slowly it began to feel like a lot of disrespect and insincerity and my reading slowed. In fact the book took me almost a year to the day to finish reading. Each time I picked it up again I was hoping for something more in the next chapter, and with the let-down it was at times months before I gave another chapter a shot. Now to be fair, 15-20 year ago when I was in university, involved with campus ministries this is the type of book that would have made the rounds and most people would have loved and raved about. The non-denomination, evangelicals would lap this type of book up. But with the passing of time The chapters in the book are: Foreword - Mark Buchanan Author's Note How My Journey Started Chapter 1: Hamilton, Ontario Chapter 2: New York City - Hasidic Jews Chapter 3: Israel Chapter 4: Mount Athos, Greece - Greek orthodox Chapter 5: Italy - Meet Pope Francis Chapter 6: Spain - Camino de Santiago Chapter 7: France - Brother Lawrence and Taize Chapter 8: Eastern USA - Quakers Chapter 9: The Outer Limits - Benny Hinn, Tony Robbins, and Westboro Baptist Church Chapter 10: Korea Chapter 11: England - CIM Chapter 12: Hamilton, Ontario - Read 60 books An Invitation Seven Ways to Pray Acknowledgments As a person with a religious studies degree, and even though I specialized in Christianity and Catholicism, I was required to take a number of courses outside my areas of focus. I have studies a number of the tradition's that Jared visited, and seems to somewhat mock, or at least not take seriously. By the time I finished I felt that the book was like reading an Adam Sandler film, some people laugh, some people find it funny, but I just do not get the humour and it comes off more as disrespect and insincere. They only really good thing was the Seven Ways to Pray and that could have been a wallet card without all the extra padding, and even then meh. Overall the book reads like someone with time on their hands, and the means to just travel around and play at being spiritual. I believe the idea behind the book had a lot of potential but just falls flat. I can only think of one or two people I could recommend this book to, one is in campus ministry still and would be able to pull pieces from this book and put together some good talks. The other an ex-evangelical would like to read it just to tear it apart. For my part I finally made it through but sort of wish I had not made the effort. I really struggled with rating it and wish I could give it 2.5 stars out of 5, but because that is not an option err on the side of caution and give it 2. No if you are a fan of Donald Miller, or Robin Sharma, or Mark Batterson, or Rob Bell you will likely love the book so have at it. Read the review on my blog Book Reviews and More.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca Jo

    I cant say enough about this book. The journal a man took over a year to find out what prayer means to others, to different religions, to different countries - how it can change in his own life & bring he & his wife closer to God. The travels & adventure took him literally over the world as he went to Italy, England, North Korea & leading him to leaders of churches, including a face to face with the pope, getting near Benny Hinn & even trying to get in to see Billy Graham. This book is so full of i I cant say enough about this book. The journal a man took over a year to find out what prayer means to others, to different religions, to different countries - how it can change in his own life & bring he & his wife closer to God. The travels & adventure took him literally over the world as he went to Italy, England, North Korea & leading him to leaders of churches, including a face to face with the pope, getting near Benny Hinn & even trying to get in to see Billy Graham. This book is so full of insightful information about the different ways people believe in God & the way we can relate to Him, but its also full of real life experiences, full of history of how things came to be & of course, full of humor. The little side notes marked on the bottom of the pages usually had me laughing - literally - out loud. It was also so sad to see how people believe in North Korea, to the opposite side of South Korea in the biggest church that has 7 buildings that are basically sky scrappers. Or the people in Westboro Baptist Church that feels so selected by God & has the most messed up view of God's love & grace then anyone I've ever read about. But the call Jared has to pray for these misguided people is something that still lays on my heart. God can reach them as well as the people of North Korea, as the people who live Anywhere, USA that all need Jesus. Not to give any spoilers because I think we all get this - but like Jared found out, a trip around the world doesn't show what prayer is - its basically a Dorothy moment - in your own back yard. It's about your faith in our Father. Returning to our first love. Spending time with your Father. Just talking. Just communicating. I can't recommend this book enough - I really can't. It's full of amazing words that will stir your soul... & maybe change the way you pray daily yourself.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jason Stanley

    So, when I received a copy of Jared Brock‘s A Year of Living Prayerfully, I thought the timing was incredible. In his book, Jared, like other writers before him, goes on a year-long journey to learn more about prayer and go deeper in his own prayer life. You can get a sense of his humor. While he takes the reader on a serious journey into the meaning of prayer in our lives, he does it with grace and humor. Like a good preacher, who brings the congregation into a place of trust and wonder, Jared b So, when I received a copy of Jared Brock‘s A Year of Living Prayerfully, I thought the timing was incredible. In his book, Jared, like other writers before him, goes on a year-long journey to learn more about prayer and go deeper in his own prayer life. You can get a sense of his humor. While he takes the reader on a serious journey into the meaning of prayer in our lives, he does it with grace and humor. Like a good preacher, who brings the congregation into a place of trust and wonder, Jared brings the reader along for the crazy things that happen to him. From not bowing in North Korea to attempting to meet Billy Graham, Jared’s humor provides an entrance for this journey. The spiritual life has often been described as a journey, so it is appropriate that Jared literally goes on a year-long journey to learn about prayer. What I appreciated about Jared’s writing, as much as his humor, was the teaching that he did along the way. He did not assume the reader knew everything about all the places and people he mentioned, nor did he assume the reader was stupid. He struck a good balance as he narrated church history, theology, and his own experiences. And best of all, Jared gives solid advice at the end of the book, the end of his prayer journey. “One year ago, prayer was a way of asking things from God. Today it has a prized new definition for me: prayer is simply a constant communion with Christ.” And this is what Jared reminds us of: prayer is relational. It’s not so much following the rules or reciting the right words. It’s about spending time with our divine Parent. Whether you feel like something is missing in your prayer life or just looking to refresh your prayer life, Jared’s book would be a good fit for you.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kara of BookishBytes

    Mr. Brock is a practicing Christian with pretty consistent experience praying. But, in an attempt to deepen his communication with God, he sets out to experience a variety of the world's prayer traditions and philosophies. He spends time with Greek Orthodox monks, goes to a Tony Robbins seminar, attends a televangelist revival, visits Jerusalem and, yes, meets the Pope. As the author describes his varied experiences, he also shares which of his experiences and the prayer styles he encountered fe Mr. Brock is a practicing Christian with pretty consistent experience praying. But, in an attempt to deepen his communication with God, he sets out to experience a variety of the world's prayer traditions and philosophies. He spends time with Greek Orthodox monks, goes to a Tony Robbins seminar, attends a televangelist revival, visits Jerusalem and, yes, meets the Pope. As the author describes his varied experiences, he also shares which of his experiences and the prayer styles he encountered felt meaningful--and which didn't--and why. I enjoyed hearing his perspective. He seemed sincere and humble and to be honestly seeking for a deeper and richer prayer life and I appreciated his perspective on faith and prayer.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Rebekah Fay

    I picked up this book when Jared Brock came to speak at my church, River Hills Christian Church in Loveland, Ohio. I loved this book! I learned so much about prayer and chuckled quite a bit along the way (especially at the footnotes). So insightful, informative, and humorous. Highly recommend!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Liza Gutierrez

    I enjoy this book so much.Is a not stop laughing.As well as a very delight reading.Five stars

  9. 5 out of 5

    Sophie Rayton

    I thought this was lots of fun and a great idea. Jared and his wife Michelle come across as very nice and fun people. I disagree with some of his views, but that didn't spoil my enjoyment of the book. I thought this was lots of fun and a great idea. Jared and his wife Michelle come across as very nice and fun people. I disagree with some of his views, but that didn't spoil my enjoyment of the book.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Eliza Fitzgerald

    This was better then I expected. I thought it was just going to be silly (and some of it was) but he actually comes away with some really good insights about prayer through his journey.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Cfkotula

    The author compares prayer methods and meanings across continents in this funny and fascinating travelogue to exotic locales. The visit to North Korea was especially chilling! I found the tips on improving one's prayer life to be practical and inspiring. The author compares prayer methods and meanings across continents in this funny and fascinating travelogue to exotic locales. The visit to North Korea was especially chilling! I found the tips on improving one's prayer life to be practical and inspiring.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Nora St Laurent

    I enjoyed this couple’s thought-provoking journey that had them searching the globe to learn about prayer. What is it? How is it done? This young couple had been passionate about prayer and their faith since middle school, but lately, their prayer life was stale. They were sensing a deep need to connect with God again, especially after becoming aware of some horrific realities in the world as they filmed a sex trafficking documentary. The author says, “These issues towered over us and exposed th I enjoyed this couple’s thought-provoking journey that had them searching the globe to learn about prayer. What is it? How is it done? This young couple had been passionate about prayer and their faith since middle school, but lately, their prayer life was stale. They were sensing a deep need to connect with God again, especially after becoming aware of some horrific realities in the world as they filmed a sex trafficking documentary. The author says, “These issues towered over us and exposed the gaping holes in our spiritual walk”….”We wanted to be prayer warriors, but we felt like prayer wanderers.” The author explains that prayer had become a mechanical routine. He admits, “If I’m really honest, God was my Santa Clause.” The author describes their journey, “For our year of living prayerfully, I compiled a list of Judeo-Christian faiths, sects, and denominations. The plan was to research their prayer methods, traditions, and beliefs. We’d travel the world to meet religious leaders, prayer experts and everyday people who have made prayer a vital part of their lives.”… “This book is simply an old-school record of a prayer pilgrimage, for all those who, for whatever reason, can’t go on one for themselves.” I liked how they systematically went about getting answers about prayer from all points of view. I enjoyed the many quotes that started the chapters. This is one of my favorites, “Prayer is exhaling the spirit of man and inhaling the spirit of God.” I felt like I was walking by their side on this journey and saw things through their eyes I’d most likely never see in person. I also loved the author's sense of humor. I found myself laughing out loud several times. There was an amazing turn of events that allowed Jared and his wife to get a face to face meeting with the Pope. It was a divine appointment. Here’s an example of his well-timed humor. There is a side note to readers about how they were dressed to see the Pope. He states,….”On such short notice, we didn’t have time to make a shopping stop….” “I had asked our host in Rome if I could borrow a few items….The shirt was enormous, reminiscent of billowing ship sails. The pants, on the other hand, were 4” too short, exposing both my white socks and my pasty white ankles.” “I pulled my pants lower, not unlike a Brooklyn gangster whose arrest we had witnessed a few months earlier. I looked in the mirror. I looked like a mafia bodyguard in a parachute at a funeral.” “I had kept the shoes and shirt, but switched back to denim. My wife, on the other hand, had no alternate clothing options. They say that success in life is doing the best you can with what you’ve got, and we had tried our best.” “We met the Pope in jeans and yoga pants.” That scene still makes me laugh. I liked how the book was divided into various places their research took them. They started in Hamilton, Ontario, then they traveled to New York. City, Israel, Mount Athos, Greece, Italy, Spain, France, Eastern USA, the Outer Limits, Korea and England. This is a young couple’s search for a deeper, more alive and meaningful prayer life. It made me think about my own faith walk and how I pray. I was inspired not only by what they discovered on this adventure but by how the Lord orchestrated many “divine” moments for them. This book was fun, informative, honest, inspiring, and entertaining. It was a breath of fresh air. I couldn’t get enough of. It’s a keeper. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising” Nora St. Laurent TBCN Where Book Fun Begins! www.bookfun.org The Book Club Network blog www.psalm516.blogspot.com Book Fun Magazine SVP Promotions

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    This book was hard for me to rate. It's not the first time that I've wished goodreads had half stars so I could rate something more accurately. For me this book is a solid 3.5, halfway between liked it and really liked it, which I think is actually a big accomplishment for Brock since (for reasons detailed below) I'm not the target audience even though, reading the fun goodreads blurb, I thought I was. First, I want to talk about some of the things the book has going for it. Brock's writing style This book was hard for me to rate. It's not the first time that I've wished goodreads had half stars so I could rate something more accurately. For me this book is a solid 3.5, halfway between liked it and really liked it, which I think is actually a big accomplishment for Brock since (for reasons detailed below) I'm not the target audience even though, reading the fun goodreads blurb, I thought I was. First, I want to talk about some of the things the book has going for it. Brock's writing style is very pleasant, and despite the fact that he and I are quite different people, I found him easy to relate to and extremely likable. I'm sure you'll like him too. The structure of the book is also interesting, and I think it works. Each chapter is devoted to a different country or region, and usually also to a different religion. It made it easy to split up my reading in a way that worked- a chapter here when I had a minute, a chapter there when I had another. There were also a few sections of the book that REALLY worked for me. Brock's anecdotes about his experiences with the Westboro Baptist Church were really gripping, as was his chapter about his time in North Korea. There were other interesting moments for sure (the Pope, nudist colonies, Quakers...) but none of them packed quite the punch these two did for me. What stopped me from giving this book 5 (or 4, I suppose) stars was two things. One was just a matter of taste/interest. Had I known what this book was really about, I probably would not have picked it up. That doesn't mean this book couldn't be a 5 star experience for someone else, and I feel a little bad deducting for it, but I have to take into account my overall enjoyment of the book and it wasn't wholly doing it for me. The description makes it sound like this is a humorous look at Brock's unusual experiences over a prayerful year. There is some of that, but this is at heart a love letter to prayer, it's power, and what it means to others, to Brock, and maybe to you. There's nothing wrong with that but it's not what I expected and it's not something that is of especial interest to me, unfortunately. My other criticism is more substantive and involves how the book is laid out. I already said I liked how the chapters were each divided to a geographical area. However, I did not like how each chapters was itself subdivided. Basically, they were one part history, one part (usually funny) anecdotes, one part serious reflections. In all honesty, I could have done with less of the history bits, since they sometimes really disrupted the flow of the experiences Brock was having for me. Also they weren't always that interesting, but what can you do. Overall I do truly think this is a very solid effort and would highly recommend it to anyone who is ready to explore their own prayer life. I received this book as part of Goodreads First Reads program.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Thomas Tijerina

    In his book, A Year of Living Prayerfully, Jared Brock explores “man’s desire to know the mind of god.” He is humble in believing that his prayer life falls short and that there is much more knowledge to be acquired on this subject. As he embarks on a journey to far away places to learn from some of “the best” in the world, he finds that the more he learns, the more questions he has. Jared manages to keep an open mind in most situations by injecting a bit of his humor into every situation, which In his book, A Year of Living Prayerfully, Jared Brock explores “man’s desire to know the mind of god.” He is humble in believing that his prayer life falls short and that there is much more knowledge to be acquired on this subject. As he embarks on a journey to far away places to learn from some of “the best” in the world, he finds that the more he learns, the more questions he has. Jared manages to keep an open mind in most situations by injecting a bit of his humor into every situation, which made learning about different prayer practices very enjoyable. In my opinion, a book like this can be very unifying and reconciling. With a broader understanding of religious practice and a broader worldview, we can begin to humanize those who are different from ourselves, and those who seem to have what we believe to be peculiar methods of practicing Christianity. Jared paints a great picture of not only the knowledge he acquires along the way, but also how it affects his personal relationship with God, and how it can be applied to his life. He states, “Prayer is about steeping in the Spirit of God so loving that He totally changes you.” Some of the highlights for me were funny moments, like the ones spent with Hasidic Jews in New York City. There were some scary moments, like praying in North Korea. There were some great learning moments, such as the Ignatian prayer practices he learned about in Spain. There were some beautiful lessons learned in France on sharing a common life. There were some important criticisms and realizations on American theology, as well as some questionable moneymaking practices in other countries. The last highlight I’ll mention is his personal growth and reflection. I would recommend this book to those with an adventurous spirit, to those who wish to become a little bit more culturally competent in a light hearted way, and to those who are honest enough with themselves to acknowledge that they may not have all of the answers when it comes to religious denominations and prayer. You will learn more about Christianity and its roots. Incidentally, you will also take away some knowledge about community and have some good laughs doing so. I received a free copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Charity Andrews

    From the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, to the "Men's Only" Island in Greece, with a stop at the Westboro crazies, Jared went around the world. These are only a few of the destinations that he visited in his year of learning to pray. Oh yeah, lunch with the Pope? Wha??? His great wit, charismatic personality, VERY PATIENT wife, and desire to learn new things leads him on a once in a lifetime journey that will keep you turning the pages. Through it all, he is seeking the different ways that people pra From the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, to the "Men's Only" Island in Greece, with a stop at the Westboro crazies, Jared went around the world. These are only a few of the destinations that he visited in his year of learning to pray. Oh yeah, lunch with the Pope? Wha??? His great wit, charismatic personality, VERY PATIENT wife, and desire to learn new things leads him on a once in a lifetime journey that will keep you turning the pages. Through it all, he is seeking the different ways that people pray and worship God through different "Bible believing" sects/denominations/whatever you want to call it. It was a really fun book with so much information. Loved it. Would definitely recommend!! Thank you, Tyndale House, for this awesome read. As always, this is my honest opinion. Here's to many more!!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jason

    This book is an interesting collection of prayer practices around the world. It is presented in a snarky conversational format. Everything was going fine until the last chapter, the wrap up. When the writer drives passed a strip club he prays that God would close the establishment down and in nearly the same breath he prays for the people of Westboro Baptist, not that it closes, mind you. It was clear throughout the book that author disagrees with WB but it is bothersome that he is willing the c This book is an interesting collection of prayer practices around the world. It is presented in a snarky conversational format. Everything was going fine until the last chapter, the wrap up. When the writer drives passed a strip club he prays that God would close the establishment down and in nearly the same breath he prays for the people of Westboro Baptist, not that it closes, mind you. It was clear throughout the book that author disagrees with WB but it is bothersome that he is willing the condemn sex workers with unemployment rather than trying to pray for the hate to leave the WB hearts and their hateful organization to close. Few people who would be interested in reading this book would agree with me on this but I feel like the priority is messed at the end.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Amy

    For someone like me who has a hard time finishing books, A Year of Living Prayerfully was refreshing, hilarious, and had my attention to the very end. I was sad when it was over, and tried to stretch out the last couple chapters as long as I could! I also laughed out loud often, which is unusual for me. Jared has done an excellent job telling stories in an engaging way, and I would definitely recommend this book to those who want to learn about prayer or simply have a superbly enjoyable read!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kim

    Jared Brock is not a curious traveler, but a conservation Christian. Throughout the book, I shuddered-especially when a group of Conservative Jews welcome with open arms with a great deal of discussion about their faith with a great amount of trust. But Brock leaves, praying that their young daughter to become a Christian. Later on, Brock notes that he is praying for the entire community to become Christian. This provides a very limited, Christian-centric view of the world's religions. Jared Brock is not a curious traveler, but a conservation Christian. Throughout the book, I shuddered-especially when a group of Conservative Jews welcome with open arms with a great deal of discussion about their faith with a great amount of trust. But Brock leaves, praying that their young daughter to become a Christian. Later on, Brock notes that he is praying for the entire community to become Christian. This provides a very limited, Christian-centric view of the world's religions.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

    Best book I've read this year! Honest, interesting, seriously thought-provoking -- Jay is a great writer and thinker. I was happy to tag along on the trip I wish I'd taken. Best book I've read this year! Honest, interesting, seriously thought-provoking -- Jay is a great writer and thinker. I was happy to tag along on the trip I wish I'd taken.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Missy

    Chapter 2: "Pray like work won't help and then work like prayer won't help." On marriage: "Together, we're trying to approximate one human being." Chapter 6: "In a crisis, be aware of the danger, but recognize the opportunity." "Pray as if everything depended on God and work as if everything depended on you." "Socrates said that the unexamined life is not worth living." "Silence is an excellent room for prayer." Chapter 7: "Converting our unceasing thinking into unceasing prayer moves us from a self-c Chapter 2: "Pray like work won't help and then work like prayer won't help." On marriage: "Together, we're trying to approximate one human being." Chapter 6: "In a crisis, be aware of the danger, but recognize the opportunity." "Pray as if everything depended on God and work as if everything depended on you." "Socrates said that the unexamined life is not worth living." "Silence is an excellent room for prayer." Chapter 7: "Converting our unceasing thinking into unceasing prayer moves us from a self-centered monologue to a God-centered dialogue." "In your life of prayer and meditation seek the word which God addresses to you and put it into practice at once. So read little, but dwell on it." Chapter 8: "I love God as much as the person I love the least." (Quote by Dorothy Day) Chapter 12: "Strength is gathered on the journey not gathered at the outset." "True progress quietly and persistently moves along without notice."

  21. 4 out of 5

    Susanna Bowers

    I liked this book. The chapters tended to be a little too long but I enjoyed the content and was interested in hearing all the different ways people practice prayer. Personally, I read it to learn more about prayer so I would have preferred a clearer explanation of the different practices of prayer for the reader, maybe with a section at the end of the chapter. Otherwise, the book is just your story, rather than a way to invite others to pray more, something I think the author was trying to do. I liked this book. The chapters tended to be a little too long but I enjoyed the content and was interested in hearing all the different ways people practice prayer. Personally, I read it to learn more about prayer so I would have preferred a clearer explanation of the different practices of prayer for the reader, maybe with a section at the end of the chapter. Otherwise, the book is just your story, rather than a way to invite others to pray more, something I think the author was trying to do. In general though, I was impressed with his thoughts and reflections and enjoyed the self-deprecating humor. I don't know I would recommend it to others but if you chose to read it on your own, I would say, "Good choice."

  22. 4 out of 5

    Caden

    This book took my imagination around the world. Jared Brock's description of his journey through living prayerfully was well written and entertaining to read. I was inspired through each religion and, simply, individual and group thoughts on prayer. As thoughtful as one can be in a year of living prayerfully with multiple religions, I was pleasantly surprised at Mr. Brock's ability to string together some of the accessible essences of prayer. I especially enjoyed reading about founding figures i This book took my imagination around the world. Jared Brock's description of his journey through living prayerfully was well written and entertaining to read. I was inspired through each religion and, simply, individual and group thoughts on prayer. As thoughtful as one can be in a year of living prayerfully with multiple religions, I was pleasantly surprised at Mr. Brock's ability to string together some of the accessible essences of prayer. I especially enjoyed reading about founding figures in religious practice I was not prior exposed to, or had really thought of. This review does not do the book justice.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Lee

    Not for me. The premise is very interesting, and if I were a mainstream evangelical Protestant, it would be a good fit. As it is, I am a liberal of the Anglo-Catholic tradition, an Episcopalian with universalist perspectives, and I found it to be exclusivist and a bit disrespectful (but I do not believe that was intended) of other religions. I found Jared's voice to be lively and entertaining, and did laugh out loud a few times. Just not in sync with my theology, so your mileage may vary. I made Not for me. The premise is very interesting, and if I were a mainstream evangelical Protestant, it would be a good fit. As it is, I am a liberal of the Anglo-Catholic tradition, an Episcopalian with universalist perspectives, and I found it to be exclusivist and a bit disrespectful (but I do not believe that was intended) of other religions. I found Jared's voice to be lively and entertaining, and did laugh out loud a few times. Just not in sync with my theology, so your mileage may vary. I made it about halfway through before deciding to stop.

  24. 4 out of 5

    antony

    A great read A great read. This is one of those books that inspires you without trying to. Follow the author and his wife around the world to famous locations where great men and women changed the world by prayer and spiritual practice. Not only do you learn about a variety of prayer traditions and how to practice them yourself, you learn about the history of the prayerful and you also get to enjoy the crazy tale of world travellers not always getting what they expected, but sometimes getting much, A great read A great read. This is one of those books that inspires you without trying to. Follow the author and his wife around the world to famous locations where great men and women changed the world by prayer and spiritual practice. Not only do you learn about a variety of prayer traditions and how to practice them yourself, you learn about the history of the prayerful and you also get to enjoy the crazy tale of world travellers not always getting what they expected, but sometimes getting much, much, more . It really liked this book.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    4.5 stars I'm a sucker for books about life experiments, but I didn't expect this book to be all that spiritually significant. I was wrong. Jared Brock explores a number of prayer traditions spanning the breadth of the church and Christian history, although by no means does he conduct an exhaustive survey. His honesty, thoughtful commentary, and storytelling more than compensated for the occasional snark. I really enjoyed this book and plan to delve deeper into some of the prayer traditions he de 4.5 stars I'm a sucker for books about life experiments, but I didn't expect this book to be all that spiritually significant. I was wrong. Jared Brock explores a number of prayer traditions spanning the breadth of the church and Christian history, although by no means does he conduct an exhaustive survey. His honesty, thoughtful commentary, and storytelling more than compensated for the occasional snark. I really enjoyed this book and plan to delve deeper into some of the prayer traditions he describes.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Cynthia James

    Revisiting all I've learned about prayer I've learned about Taize, Jesus Prayer, Ignatian meditation and contemplation when I was in my early 20's through my retreats at the Carmelite Sisters. I'm so glad to be able to revisit all these prayers through this book. This is a well-written book about one man's journey into understanding what prayer is, which offers a lot of valuable insights and information. It's spiritually uplifting and entertaining at the same time. It also raises some very import Revisiting all I've learned about prayer I've learned about Taize, Jesus Prayer, Ignatian meditation and contemplation when I was in my early 20's through my retreats at the Carmelite Sisters. I'm so glad to be able to revisit all these prayers through this book. This is a well-written book about one man's journey into understanding what prayer is, which offers a lot of valuable insights and information. It's spiritually uplifting and entertaining at the same time. It also raises some very important ponderings about Christianityand faith.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Anita

    I read this book to fulfil the goal read a book on prayer. i didn't really know what to expect, but he made some good points espiscally about taking time to listen when we pray, and how prayer should be more of a conversation than just a santa list of items. i'll confess i don't pray as much as i should. i'm much more comfortable with the scripture study side of christian living. this book makes me want to pray though. bonus: it also funny I read this book to fulfil the goal read a book on prayer. i didn't really know what to expect, but he made some good points espiscally about taking time to listen when we pray, and how prayer should be more of a conversation than just a santa list of items. i'll confess i don't pray as much as i should. i'm much more comfortable with the scripture study side of christian living. this book makes me want to pray though. bonus: it also funny

  28. 5 out of 5

    Amanda Mouttaki

    I really wanted to like this book because I liked the challenge behind what the author was doing. But while he spent time exploring the Jewish and Christian religious traditions, and given he was in Israel/Palestine and had the opportunity to learn a bit about Islamic traditions he chose not to. Instead this portion of the book was riddled with prejudices and judgments. I quit the book after slogging through that portion. There was a great opportunity there, what a shame.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    Part travelogue, part spiritual quest, this is a book I, at least, won't quickly forget. Jared "Jay" Brock travels (sometimes with his wife, Michelle) to such disparate places as Jerusalem; Mount Athos, Greece; Rome; Pyongyang, North Korea; Topeka, Kansas; and even the White Tail Chapel, a nudist church in Ivor, Virginia. This is the story of Jay's quest to discover a deeper, more meaningful significance of prayer in his daily life. Part travelogue, part spiritual quest, this is a book I, at least, won't quickly forget. Jared "Jay" Brock travels (sometimes with his wife, Michelle) to such disparate places as Jerusalem; Mount Athos, Greece; Rome; Pyongyang, North Korea; Topeka, Kansas; and even the White Tail Chapel, a nudist church in Ivor, Virginia. This is the story of Jay's quest to discover a deeper, more meaningful significance of prayer in his daily life.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    This is a prayer-focused travelogue, written by a young guy with a really great sense of humor. I enjoyed his musings on the different compartments of Judeo-Christianity he intentionally sought out, and the different prayer techniques he discovered in each one. I had a hard time putting this one down due to Jared's hilarious and documentary style writing. This is a prayer-focused travelogue, written by a young guy with a really great sense of humor. I enjoyed his musings on the different compartments of Judeo-Christianity he intentionally sought out, and the different prayer techniques he discovered in each one. I had a hard time putting this one down due to Jared's hilarious and documentary style writing.

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