Item description for Seeing Is Believing: Experience Jesus through Imaginative Prayer by Gregory A. Boyd...
Overview Boyd believes that the way to true spiritual transformation and feeling the presence of God comes from rest and reality. Here, Boyd teaches readers how to use God's gracious gift of creative imagination to know him better and feel his presence in their daily lives.
Publishers Description One of the most common problems with Christians in our modern secularized world is that they don't feel the reality of Jesus. Sure, they believe in him and love him, but he somehow doesn't seem to enter their daily lives in a real sense. Some might say, "You ought to pray more." Others would advise, "You ought to witness more." While this may be true, we don't get closer to God just because we "ought to." Boyd believes that the way to true spiritual transformation and feeling the presence of God in your life comes from a little R and R: rest and reality. Boyd encourages readers to stop striving and learn to rest in an experience of Jesus as real. The best way to do this, he says, is through imaginative prayer. Experiencing Jesus will teach readers how to use God's gracious gift of creative imagination to know him better and feel his presence in their daily lives.
From Publishers Weekly Boyd, author of Letters from a Skeptic and God of the Possible, makes a
powerfully persuasive argument for the use of imaginative prayer by
Christians, then outlines a method for beginning the practice. He begins by
describing the paralyzing effect of the " `try harder' solution" for spiritual
growth. His description of this futile striving and its source in false ideas
of identity rings true, although occasionally his emphasis on the negative
role of action is overdone. The real treasure of the book is found in the
second and third sections, where he mines 15 years' experience of leading
imaginative prayer conferences. He provides a vivid description of the power
and effectiveness of the imagination in settings like prayer and worship. In
addition to a careful biblical basis, Boyd gives a survey of historical
figures (from Julian of Norwich to Saint Ignatius and John Wesley) who have
used and advocated imaginative prayer. He explains the basic idea of the
prayer technique he calls "resting in Christ" and courageously offers his own
experience as an example of how this technique can bring healing. Aware that
visualization techniques can be controversial among evangelicals, he explains
possible sources of distrust and offers answers to the most common objections.
The final section illustrates the power of imaginative prayer for healing
with three moving stories from those who have used the technique. (Apr.)
Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Awards and Recognitions Seeing Is Believing: Experience Jesus through Imaginative Prayer by Gregory A. Boyd has received the following awards and recognitions -
Christianity Today Book Award - 2005 Award of Merit - Spirituality category
Citations And Professional Reviews Seeing Is Believing: Experience Jesus through Imaginative Prayer by Gregory A. Boyd has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
Christianity Today - 05/01/2004 page 68
Publishers Weekly - 02/23/2004 page 72
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Gregory A. Boyd, formerly professor of theology at Bethel College, is senior pastor of Woodland Hills Church where average attendance has grown to 5,000 since he helped plant the church in 1992. He is the author of many books, including the critically acclaimed Seeing Is Believing and the best-selling Gold Medallion Award-winner Letters from a Skeptic. He lives in St. Paul, Minnesota. Al Larson is a national board certified counselor and the president and founder of Dynamics of Growth Inc., a counseling, consulting, and training organization. He lives in Oakdale, Minnesota.
Gregory A. Boyd currently resides in the state of Minnesota. Gregory A. Boyd was born in 1957.
Reviews - What do customers think about Seeing Is Believing: Experience Jesus through Imaginative Prayer?
Refreshing insight for dutiful but bored pray-ers Aug 31, 2005
Dr. Boyd has been blessed with one of the keenest minds in American theological circles today. Seldom will you find such a combination of honesty, careful scholarship and passion in one "package" as you do here. Seeing Is Believing is just the prescription for those Christians who know they should pray but find no satisfaction in their praying. Boyd opens up the reality of genuine communion with the God who longs for our fellowship like few writers on the scene today. While there will always be those who react in knee-jerk fashion to any thought that is new to them, honest hearts who long for intimate communion with Jesus will appreciate this wonderful and Biblical book which validates the experience of thousands of hungry seekers throughout spiritual history who have found that God is more than just a concept or a theological tenet--He is a Person who wants to be experienced by His creatures.
A truly healing experience Aug 31, 2005
I admit it. I bought the book for someone else - someone who was going through a very difficult time and was looking for answers and inner healing. But I decided I had better read it all the way through before giving it to him. I was only a few chapters into it when I found myself sobbing, and pouring my own heart out to the Lord. Praise God for Dr. Boyd's insights on prayer and on the importance of opening our hearts, our minds, and our experiences (past and present) to Jesus so He can lovingly heal each one. What was especially touching to me were the examples Dr. Boyd shared from his own life and how, through his own times of intimate prayer, Jesus healed even the most painful of memories. I recommend the book to anyone who desires to experience the loving touch of God and His healing presence in their own lives.
A misleading title; a powerful message Apr 22, 2005
"Seeing is Believing: Experience Jesus through Imaginative Prayer" may be a misleading title for Boyd's book on using our imaginations as receptors for commmunicating with God. Many people that have posted reviews seemed to have bought the book hoping for a biblical analysis on prayer. Had that been Boyd's intention in writing this book he would have failed miserably. Thankfully, however, that is not Boyd's aim and he makes that clear throughout.
Boyd is not primarily teaching in this book how to pray; rather, he is endorsing an ancient Christiant tradition that works supplementary to prayer. He calls this "resting in Christ" and it is essentially a time of devotion with God in which you enter into an experience with Him instead of simply going through a list of religious observances.
Though Boyd does not quote great amounts of Scripture in order to back up the practice of resting in Christ, he does use a great deal of Scripture to show how people in the Bible experienced God through visions, dreams, and true encounters. So the questions becomes: why do we not tend to experience God this way in 21st century American society? Boyd believes the problem isn't with the way God communicates, but with the way Christians have become obsessed with the importance of the physical and have essentially determined that anything that can't be touched, smelled, etc. is merely imaginary.
Boyd conludes by showing how to "rest in Christ," a practice that will allow us to open ourselves up to the Holy Spirit in order to experience Jesus rather than just have intellectual knowledge about Jesus. He shows us a devotion that Christians have been practicing for hundreds of years, from Ignatius to A.W. Tozer. This book is not for everyone, but if given a chance it has the ability to help you become more passionate about worship, more devout about prayer, and more experiential in your faith through encounters with Jesus Christ.
Isn't the Bible Enough for All Different Pray-ers? Apr 16, 2005
I just finished the book. I was struck with how extra-Biblical it was. I didn't see Mr. Boyd use Moses or Hannah or David or Jacob or Samuel or Daniel or Jeremiah or Mary or Paul or Jesus Himself as role models of how best to pray. He chooses people and techniques beyond-the-Bible as the most effective praying to REALLY EXPERIENCE God.
Just because something "seems to work","feels so right", "suits different people's personal preferences" is no justification to depart from the way Jesus and Scripture teach us to pray to the Father. The writer gives the sad impression that the Bible is deficient and insufficient to teach the Lord's people on praying. We need Agnes Sanford's inner teachings and other mystical misunderstandings from Roman Catholic Jesuits and New Age practitioners to "heal our pasts". So long as it "works for me" then let me be. Live and let live. Don't criticize.
True love shows concern when brothers & sisters go astray, especially with important Bible truths. True compassion speaks truth in love. In heaven when we're all perfect, it won't matter. But here on earth when we're all IMperfect, it DOES matter. Straying sheep led by straying shepherds need more than prayer, but to be brought back to the truth of Scripture, the arms of Jesus, back to the flock and away from the wolves.
Please pray for those who imagine this book is in agreement with the Bible when in fact it departs outside the Word of God. Pursue its popularist practitionings at your own peril. Don't say you haven't been lovingly warned of what Paul himself urged: "DON'T GO BEYOND WHAT IS WRITTEN!"
Is Jesus' way of praying in the Bible enough? Read all His prayers and what he taught us and see for yourself.
"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we DO NOT SEE. This is what the ancients were commended for." (Hebrews 11:1-2) Follow the way of the ancients. Beware of the byway of the moderns.
Seeing is Deceiving Apr 8, 2005
I saw this book on the Goodwill shelf for a buck and was drawn like a moth to flame. My prayer life has been dry lately and I was looking for some Bible insight to reconnect with the Lord. Suffice to say this book had lots of inner-sight but little properly-interpreted Bible. No sooner had I finished the book than I got out my NKJV, NASB, and NIV to check out the verses cited. I was truly amazed that a mega-church pastor, former theology prof & PhD published author could get his exegesis so wrong so consistently. The book seems a rambling, repetitive excursus on one excerpted text sequence: 2Cor.3:14-4:6. I counted its use or allusion over 40 times in 220 pgs. It was used very superficially with no independently verified cross-checking by other scholars (none cited in the notes)as to its intended meaning. To say nothing of missing the crucial context of 2Cor.3-5 as Paul's complete discourse on the subject. To say nothing further of not addressing other crucial scriptures that entirely negate the whole plot. I was faced with a choice. Either embrace this practitioner's extra-biblical belief system about primary point of contact/ main receptor with the spirit world being envisionary/ imaginative picturing-in-the-mind of what we want to be real. Or search Scripture itself for Holy Spirit-bestowed insights into prayer. Jesus says, "When you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father Who is UNSEEN.." (Mt.6:6) Jesus does not teach us to envision-imagine-conjure up an icon of God to bolster our sagging prayer life or really encounter the Lord. Jesus says, "Blessed are those who have NOT SEEN and yet have believed." (Jn.20:29) Doubting Thomas-theology of 'seeing is believing' is rebuked here in favor of the blessed faith that biblically teaches the opposite:'believing despite not seeing'. Peter says, "Though you have NOT SEEN Jesus, you love Him; even though you DO NOT SEE Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.." (1Pet.1:8) Peter does not lament the fact of Jesus' invisibility as a deterrent to true Christian experience. Nor does he advocate visualization-in-the-mind's-eye to compensate for lack of sight. Faith is the goal, not fixation on focused imagery to facilitate believing. Paul says (conveniently omitted in this book): "So we fix our eyes NOT ON WHAT IS SEEN, but ON WHAT IS UNSEEN. For what is SEEN IS TEMPORARY, but what is UNSEEN IS ETERNAL...WE LIVE BY FAITH AND NOT BY SIGHT." (2Cor.4:17,5:7) This imaginative-praying practitioner preaches that Seeing is Believing; we become what we see. Virtual-reality in the mind is the missing dimension of true spirituality. Regression-projection erases and replaces bad past memories with inner healing. The Bible says otherwise. I choose Jesus', Peter's, Paul's teachings on Scriptural Prayer over any substitute that impersonates things in our mind as objects of worship/prayer. My story has a happy ending. This book went back to Goodwill. I got "Praying the Psalms" in exchange.