Becca Anderson begins with a reflection upon religious scholar Hudson Smith in her book Prayers for Calm: Meditations, Affirmations, and Prayers to Soothe the Soul.
“I loved the irony,” Anderson writes, “that this premier academic who has such a deep understanding of all the religious rituals throughout history, had created such an uncomplicated practice for himself.” This reference was to the man’s simple and beautiful daily habit of doing a little yoga, a little reading from pages of sacred text, and then meditating or praying “for at least five minutes” each morning. The key here is the practice, or ritual, no matter its simplicity, being done daily…
“Whether people are conscious of it or not,” Anderson continues, “our lives are centered upon rituals such as prayer. The weekly Wednesday night pizza and movie with the kids is a family ritual. It could be greatly enriched by adding a spiritual aspect- perhaps a child could share the highlight of their week so far, and photos or memories could be added to a family album to be treasured for generations to come.” To aid in creating such rich quality time, this latest of Anderson’s books contains resources to use to build daily spiritual practices- across faiths, denominations and ritual backgrounds- to, eventually, become inspired and, as she encourages, “most of all, to find a place of calm and serenity you can turn to anytime you need it.”
Becca Anderson is described as having come “from a long line of preachers and teachers from Ohio and Kentucky.” Bucking that stereotype, Anderson became a women’s studies scholar and penned The Book of Awesome Women. Spiritual practice, however, is of paramount importance to her as she credits it with helping her recover from cancer. Her many other books that encourage and inspire include Think Happy to Stay Happy and Everyday Thankful, as well as the The Woman’s Book of Prayer. She runs a “Gratitude and Grace Circle” that meets monthly in various venues in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Payers for Calm is built upon twelve months of topics. January’s section contains Reassurances for Uncertain Times. February reminds ”You Are Not Alone: Affirmations of Love and Support.” March contains serenity prayers. April invites “Spring Back From Anything.” May encourages “Blooming Under Pressure.” June contains “Blessings for When You’re Stressing.” July strengthens for “Staying Calm When Anxiety Strikes.” August offers “Meditations for Moving Forward.” September reminds about “Finding the Stillness Within.” October brings “Calming Contemplations.” November promotes “Attitudes of Gratitude.” Lastly, December brings “Comfort and Joy” with “Looking Ahead to a New Year Reset.”
All of the chapters contain a sampling of wise words from the saints, classic poets, well-known authors, ancient philosophers, the writers of Biblical and other sacred texts, and even Mr. Rogers and Winnie the Pooh. Each chapter includes its own special page of devotionals for reflection and a “Prayerful Practice” section to use as a guide for living out what’s been read. From Theresa of Avila to the prophet Mohammad, Anderson includes something for everyone.
Let nothing disturb thee;
Let nothing dismay thee;
All things pass:
God never changes.
All that it strives for.
He who has God
Lacks for nothing:
God alone suffices.
– St. Teresa of Avila, 16th Century
If there were ever a time when any of us might be in need of calm, grace, and excellent community, it would be now. Anderson describes the creation of prayer circles and, at the end of the book, includes suggestions for inviting what she calls “Circles of Grace.”
Prayers for Calm: Meditations, Affirmations, and Prayers to Soothe Your Soul is a pretty, well-designed, and attractive book with a powerful impact as reference invoke moments of peace even in the midst of turbulence. More information about Anderson’s book and her work is shared in her writings at thedailyinspoblog.wordpress.com.
Let the journey toward inner calm, wholeness, and peace begin in each of us and ripple outward!
Text ©2021 Michele Caprario Images provided by Mango Publishing, used with permission
Prayers for Calm: Meditations, Affirmations, and Prayers to Soothe Your Soul
By Becca Anderson author of The Woman’s Book of Prayer
Attractive AND practical gift or personal tool: $16.95