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“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

– Philippians 4:6-7

Afternoon rays highlighted splatter-spots dappling my kitchen window. I corralled piles of dishes toward the sink. The third time since breakfast. My hands trembled as I scrubbed the grimy counter. Why is it always such a mess? Recurring, ugly streaks, just like my failures in business and publishing. I tossed the rag at the sill.

I marched out the front door with an announcement to any ears in range. “I’m going for a walk.”

As I strode under the oak canopy, I grasped the air at my side. “Walk with me, Jesus.”

My morning time of prostrate meditation remains a precious way to center myself before the day’s mission begins. Bedside prayer also offers great benefit, laying all needs and offenses in divine hands. Sometimes, I wrestle with overwhelming angst and need to break out of my conventions to better connect with God. Fresh perspective unstops the ears of my soul.

This common need resounds from world headlines to the soul cries of our neighbors–financial crises, illness, general household chaos. Circumstances shatter our peace. Life whirls around our heads, distracting us from intimacy with the Lord. In this tumultuous life, we need help centering our spirits in prayer.

Kelly O’Dell Stanley’s new book, Praying Upside Down, offers novel tools to uncork conversations with God. She expands our view of divine interaction beyond the formulaic ideas of conventional prayer. A graphic designer, she crafts an artistic pathway to spiritual intimacy. Her analogies and suggested applications prove easy upon a reader’s eye and attainable to a beginner’s soul.

Have you ever struggled to focus? Railed at the ceiling as if it were a blockade? Or felt your heart too overwhelmed to summon a prayer? Upside down experiences might just refresh your mind and reveal the path to renew your weary soul.

If you’re interested in Praying Upside Down, find out more information from Tyndale or check out Kelly O’Dell Stanley’s website http://www.prayingupsidedown.com/

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Start in the center, right? I’ve got strong cords for God’s calling, my work, family, and others branching out to hold my structure. Sounds good so far. Weave my efforts from calling through the next section of family and around others…keep going…to a few inches’ start. As long as I can keep focused and go slowly, the pattern looks great. No missed spines or rows. But, I can’t spend all of eternity weaving this basket. At the plod of perfectionism, it’ll take two lifetimes to finish this. A literal deadline looms ahead. I have to weave faster. Just as I’m getting the hang of weaving faster, the shape expands. I have to cover more area in the same amount of time? I got a rhythm on the calling part, but missed a payment. That could set my column out of shape a bit. Can’t miss it again. I didn’t get the house cleaning done. Time for laundry, and then work. Record keeping needs attention there, or it’ll get distorted. Oh, and extended family will be in town. I have three days to my event. Must weave faster, better steps. Missed sleep. Trying to fix it with relaxation, but now I’m behind on my deadline…

What kind of funky looking basket am I gonna end up with here, anyway? I’ve been trying to do all these things at once, and it doesn’t look like I accomplished anything. Is there anyone who did this right? Somebody who can help me out here?

Well, it just so happens, I do know a Guy.

The Master has been waiting for me to ask for help on this project. He said I could sit closer to Him so that I can hear Him call out the step-by-step instructions.

“Master, what about the top of the basket? How do you create the finished look in the end?”

He told me we’d get to the end when it’s time. I just have to listen for His voice and follow His guidance. He’ll tell me when to weave time over my calling and when to attend to the other details. I can get His help with a weekly pattern, so I don’t miss payments or stress out during visits with family. 

Well, that sounds less overwhelming already. And, even if I can’t envision how this basket will look when it’s done, I look forward to weaving it at my Master’s side. Thanks be to God!