Greg Paul’s Simply Open: A Guide to Experiencing God in the Everyday begins with a seven-part prayer (open my: eyes, ears, nostrils, mouth, hands, mind, and heart), each of includes four things: releasing, receiving, becoming, and doing. Paul takes a chapter for each of these seven, beginning with a short introduction and then elaborating upon each of the four subsections. But this is not a book about prayer. The reader is viscerally drawn into Paul’s stories of wisdom and experience in becoming more open to God, ending each section with a reminder as to why we pray these things. The goal is to simply be open to God, and so also to others and ourselves as they should lead us to further and better glorify God.
We often fit our lives into closed systems we think provide predictable results if we simply follow the right steps, but this keeps us just that: closed, and often frustrated. We are too loud to hear what God is telling us, looking in the wrong places to see what is being shown to us, asking the wrong questions to understand the answer, always trying to do it our way, perhaps the way we’ve been told things work. Being open to God shoves all that aside and brings us into a posture of humility. We will continue to seek and question, among many other things, but the way in which we do them and our attitude toward a given response will be distinctly different—healthier…holier. Paul helps us make this change.
I could narrow down a particular group of people who should read this book—those who find themselves always needing an answer, struggle with humility, or hold tightly to their own plans—but I won’t. This is for everyone. I could say, “This is the best book I’ve ever read on prayer,” except that it isn’t a book about prayer. I could say many things, but what I really want to say is read it! I’ll be coming back to this one.
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