Author Kristen Johnson Ingram was photographing Native American dancers at an Oregon pow-wow when an official tapped her on the shoulder and asked her to stop taking pictures. “This is the prayer the dancer is doing,” he explained. For people of faith, Ingram realized, there are many forms of prayer besides the ones we speak with our lips: Devout Jews bow while reading Torah; Episcopalians stand, sit, or kneel in church; exuberant Christians raise their arms; and mystics of all denominations walk while murmuring the Jesus Prayer. As Christians, we can use our entire bodies to praise God, transforming simple acts like hearing music, looking at shafts of sunlight, or walking in the woods into acts of prayer that celebrate God’s presence in everyday life.
Beyond Words is a book for spiritual adventurers who seek new ways to pray. Readers can put into practice the concepts they find here, making the book not just a source of inspiration but a springboard to action that deepens their prayer lives and draws them closer to God.
"This gem of a book invites the reader to pray in ways old and new, including everything from music and gardening to television shows. The foundational unity of Kristen Johnson Ingram's vision expresses itself in a wondrous diversity of practice that invites us to savor prayer, and life, in all its variety." --Mary Earle, author of Beginning Again
"For years, Kristen Ingram has been a thoughtful, imaginative, and faithful guide to the life of the Spirit. Here once again she invites us into the adventure of prayer with the wisdom of a true elder. She is the best spiritual director, for she knows that it is in the dirt of our daily life that we discover the dust of God's glory."
--The Very Rev. Peter Eaton, dean, St. John's Cathedral, Denver, Colorado
"Such fun! Such wisdom! Such holiness! This book is a prayer. Read it, pray it, live it. Your life can become a prayer."
–Donna Fletcher Crow, author Seasons of Prayer: Rediscovering Classic Prayers Through the Christian Calendar
"Making contact with the Creator of the universe is no small thing. But for Kristen Ingram, who has the audacity to believe, experiencing God through prayer is as natural as breathing. And in this book, she's shown the rest of us how it's done."
--Kathleen Stephens editor, Upper Room Resource Development
"Kristen Ingram is an incarnational contemplative after my own heart. She expands our understanding of prayer and grounds it in the human body and the body of the earth where the Word Made Flesh mercifully chose to dwell among us."
-- Mother Tessa Bielecki, director of the Spiritual Life Institute, Crestone, Colorado, and author of Teresa of Avila: Ecstasy and Common Sense
"Ingram's book is one of the best books on prayer that I have ever read . . . [It] is not so much about choice as it is about abandonment-abandoning oneself to God through prayer, not by speaking, but by walking (with suggestions for those who cannot walk), dancing, listening to music and nature, gardening, eating, even watching television. If you want something richer than words in your prayer life, this is a wonderful place to start. Ingram made me want to try things I have tried before in the expectation that this time I would figure out how to make them prayer. I love Henri Nouwen's and Jane Vennard's books on prayer, but if you are going to buy just one, buy Ingram's."
-Lutheran Woman Today
"Ingram writes about ways to transform aspects of daily life into acts of prayer . . . Those open to the possibilities of ‘doing prayer' will find their lives enriched."
-Good News, Diocese of Connecticut