Q & A with Sharon Seyfarth Garner

Four Prayer Styles

Praying with Mandalas book image

Your book focuses on four prayer styles. Briefly describe each and how your book helps readers understand and apply them to their prayer life.

Lectio divina is praying with scriptures in such a way that people see how God is active and present in their lives. Reading scripture slowly, intentionally, and carefully listening for a word that speaks to our present circumstances helps make scripture relevant for our lives today.

Intercessory prayer is remembering the needs of others in prayer. So often we say to someone “I will pray for you,” but then amid the busyness of life we forget to do so. Praying with mandalas is a tangible way to be intentional about spending time with others in prayer and not letting our desire to pray for others simply fall through the cracks.

Centering prayer is a way to slow down our fast-paced lives so that we might be able to hear the still small voice of God. Unless we are intentional about slowing down and listening, we will rush by many opportunities to experience God. Centering prayer is one way to take a deep spiritual breath, relax, and see God in the moment.

The Ignatian Examen arises from a desire to see how God is alive and present in our daily living. This practical, step-by-step way to look for God in our daily lives can be a tremendous, life-giving practice. Again, it is all about intentionality. God is around us every moment of every day. We just need to open our eyes, ears, and hearts to see. The Examen helps us be with God on purpose when we remember to seek God’s fingerprints in our daily events.