I have an invitation for you.
I want to invite you to begin each day of 2023 with a simple spiritual practice. It’s the brilliant prayer that Jesus taught his students at the beginning of his public movement. Jesus promised that anyone who practices these words will flourish (Matthew 7:24).
I’ve practiced Jesus’s prayer for many years. And I’ve found that it’s a powerful exercise for a delightful, sustaining, fierce flourishing. Praying with Jesus has so inspired me that I wrote Flourishing on the Edge of Faith as an accessible reintroduction to Jesus’s spiritual practice for our time. I believe it’s the key to the beautiful life that Jesus himself embodied and promises us still today.
When we allow its water to sink deep into every area of our lives, this prayer irrigates an integrated human maturity in us. Our deepest desires and greatest fears, our highest hopes and most intimate vulnerabilities are reconnected. Our roots go deep into nourishing ground-waters, our lives begin to open, and a fruitful flowering bursts out of us.
Like a good story, Jesus’s prayer has a beginning, a middle, and an end. And like the best stories, his prayer takes us back to the beginning and forward afresh into a deeper experience of resilient flourishing that never truly dies. I love that Jesus originally taught his prayer to a wildly diverse crowd of people and promised them that if they practiced his words, they would all flourish. It’s for everyone.
Here’s my summary of what we’re practicing when we pray with Jesus:
The easy part is that many of us already have Jesus’s prayer downloaded in our heads. But the trickier part is letting it sink into our bodies, our souls, and our ways of feeling, desiring, and relating to one another.
This is why I talk about practicing Jesus’s prayer – not simply “saying” it from memory. We need to allow Jesus’s words to penetrate, saturate, and nourish the deepest layers of our humanity, including our places of pain, insecurity, and aggression. Allowing this to happen energizes our attention, endurance, and openness to spiritual pleasure.
I’m amazed by where Flourishing on the Edge of Faith is traveling and what readers/listeners are saying about it. After less than two months, it’s already visited China, Guatemala, England, Ethiopia, Chile, Germany, Jamaica, the four corners of the US, and elsewhere. People are reading it solo, in small groups, for classes, on vacation, and in the hospital. The reviews coming in have been extremely encouraging.
Here’s a sample of the thirty-four 5-star reviews on Amazon so far:
“Flourishing felt like a cool glass of water in a spiritual drought, as if written directly to me and my friends juggling faith and deconstruction.”
“Even if I was born into a Christian family and I have a Christian family of my own, I can’t say that I am a practicing Christian or a church-goer… I have never prayed in public. It scares me, as prayer is a way of revealing one’s inner self to God in the presence others, say the family. It’s at once a private and public act. It’s this mysteriously self-revealing and creative practice that Andrew masterfully engages with in his new book and manages to make it appear a less intimidating act. I can now try to pray without fear and practice it everyday.”
“If you or someone you love have struggled with faith, perhaps in light of the cult of personality within the church and outside it, or if you’ve despaired over gross social injustices; if you have wondered what the point of it all is, or wrestled with questions about God even existing, I can’t recommend this book highly enough.”
“Pulling from a wide-ranging library of sources (Amanda Gorman, Henri Nouwen, Michael Pollan, bell hooks, Kendrick Lamar, W.H. Auden…) Andrew produces a compelling synthesis that casts The Lord’s Prayer in a radiant new light. Full of profound implications for both spiritual and worldly matters, Flourishing is bound to unsettle, challenge, and invigorate any reader. A rare ‘must read.’”
“This beautiful book made me want to pray. DeCort’s writing about faith is clear and emotionally honest. This book could change your life.”
“A spiritual life raft! This is a great book if you have ever felt spiritually homeless!”
I’m so grateful that Flourishing is resonating and becoming a trusted companion for people from such different places who are seeking a flourishing life and praying with Jesus.
And so I return to my opening invitation: would you commit to practicing Jesus’s prayer every day for the rest of 2023 and see how it might influence your flourishing this year?
If you decide to go on this journey, consider taking Flourishing with you as a companion. The book’s seven chapters unpack each of Jesus’s seven practices, and the appendix offers practical strategies for how to pray with Jesus every day. Flourishing is available from all major booksellers around the world including:
Lastly, if you read Flourishing and enjoy it, would you give it a 5-star rating and brief review on Amazon? This will help more people discover it, and I’d be so grateful for your empowerment!
As we journey into 2023, please join me in this simple but life-changing practice of praying with Jesus:
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread
And forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.
Don’t lead us into temptation but deliver us from evil.
Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory – forever.
Each of these seven lines is a sip of water and a deep ocean. I hope you drink deep and dive in each day this year!
May you flourish!
P.S. If you love Flourishing‘s artwork, please follow the brilliant Holly Harris on Instagram