Prayer can feel mysteriously difficult, boringly perfunctory and frustratingly out of our control. Often prayer brings us comfort, but sometimes, especially when there arent easy resolutions or prayers go unanswered, it intensifies and focuses our sense of longing, pain and care. And often God uses our times of darkness and desperation to awaken our hearts to the ache within us--and the cries of those suffering around us. Prayer is all about coming before God to face life head-on, with all its jagged edges of mystery, joy, longing and agony. In fact, says pastor Matt Woodley, prayer is actually a real encounter with the untamable God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and therefore our experience of it should reflect the power, mystery and even risk of entering into relationship with the Lord of the universe. In this book Woodley strips away all the religious-speak and presuppositions we have about prayer, distilling it to the essence of wholehearted engagement with the living God. Exploring an earthy, unadorned, jargon-free approach to prayer, Woodley unpacks a host of fresh synonyms for God-encounters, including prayer as desperation, invocation, mystery, astonishment, groaning and even absence. These marginal ways of praying compel us to engage marginal people--the desperate, the groaning, the victimized and the ignored. As we pray God will open our eyes to the pain of the world around us. With stories from his own experience and biblical and historical examples, Woodley gives fresh language to describe a life grounded in prayer that leads to compassion and service.