Mystically Wired: Exploring New Landscapes in Prayer
September 15, 2016
Thoroughly enjoyed this book. Nice simple descriptions. May be promoting the emerging church in its recommended readings. But found no discrepancies with materials promoted. However, didn't review them 100%. Like most of man's materials, we need to take them with a grain of salt. Much was valuable, here, in taking the mystery out of mystical prayer; we are simply wired for it, like much else in the spiritual world, that for now we see only as looking through a mirror darkly. Gives an ease and freedom to praying constantly, as God is our constant companion, and enhances that most important relationship.
I recently read the book "Mystically Wired" by Ken Wilson and was pleasantly surprised. It's not often that you are able to find a book that takes prayer and makes it something completely approachable. Prayer is something that most people are intimidated by, so by making it approachable Wilson does something powerful for millions of people looking to get closer to God.
Wilson breaks the book into what I think are two basic sections: how God wired us to pray and relate to him, and then how we can actually go about doing that. The way that he breaks this down is key I think - first understand how it works, then understand how to make it work. Since this is a basic approach to most things that we encounter and tackle in our daily lives, it makes coming to God in prayer a completely realistic thing for someone who may have previously been nervous, intimidated, or just avoided prayer thinking it's too hard. By demonstrating that we're all wired to pray, explaining that we're all uniquely wired, and giving several practical ways to step into the shallow end of the "prayer pool", Wilson removes the barriers that most people have to engaging with God in prayer.
I was truly amazed by how incredibly practical this book was. There were several points at which I agreed with the author, appreciated his challenges, and felt encouraged to take simple steps to come to God in prayer. As someone who found my faith relatively recently, prayer is not always something that comes naturally to me. What Wilson does that I really appreciated was recognize that a lot of people are coming from this position of discomfort and present ways to get past and challenge those barriers. The thing that Wilson does that I found really handy was that he not only give several steps and tools with which to approach God in prayer; at the end of the book he provides an appendix of 10 steps for the reader to use as an easy reference. A month from now I won't remember every single thing that he spelled out in the book, but having an appendix certainly helps with that issue.
Something that may turn a person off to this book is that in the first chapter or two he heavily references the mystics in his discussion of how we are wired to pray. A lot of people may be turned off by this, but I would encourage anyone deciding to read this book to be patient with Wilson as his points are incredibly relevant if you hear him out with an open mind. I personally don't have any problem with the concept of mystics and mysticism, but I understand where this may be a put-off to some.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone looking for practical tools and understanding when it comes to prayer. Again - I caution that some may be turned off by the first chapter or two, but I encourage anyone who gets this book to seriously get past that and hear out the author. His points are valid, they make sense, and the fact he offers simple things that we can do to become more engaged in prayer on increasingly deep levels is great. The reviews on the back of the book all basically state that this was the best book on prayer that they had ever read - and on a lot of levels I would agree. If you struggle with prayer or are just looking to explore new/deeper areas of prayer - get your hands on this book.
I was looking for a book to help me deepen my prayer life, so when I was given an opportunity to review this one, I jumped at it. It says "Mystically Wired is a practical guide to cooperating with your brain's inate capacities in order to experience a richer, fuller prayer life. Your brain is wired and waiting to pray in new ways, enabled by a fresh understanding of some ancient prayer disciplines."
Sounds good, doesn't it?
I have to admit the book didn't do a great deal for me. The second half had some useful prayer techniques; and they are summarised nicely in the annexure, which is very useful. However the first half was focused on convincing us that our brains are scientifically wired to respond to activities such as prayer in a certain way. It felt at time as if the writer was trying to convince me that prayer was "scientific" and that our religious response is in fact a physiological response to the meditative aspect.
This is not what the writer was getting at, as he has some very real spiritual insights. But it felt a little apologetic at times, as if prayer needed to be explained.
Mystically Wired is more than practical, it is a life application on prayer. It gives me a sense of feeling comfortable with saying my prayers. Praying should not be a challenge to us nor should we feel intimated, we should feel privileged to be able to pray. This book is a great asset in developing a prayer life, Ken Wilson mention that our brain is already wired, we just have to activate it by making time to pray continuously. Prayer is a key essential in developing a relationship with our Heavenly Father. I would definitely recommend this book and to read it thoroughly knowing that you will benefit from reading this great book.