I’ve heard good things about Sybil MacBeth’s previous book Praying in Color, so I was interested in checking out the new book which she wrote with her husband Andy. Praying Black and White: A Hands-on Practice for Men is a short, easy read. It’s meant to be. Reading the book is meant to spur the reader on to practice what the book describes. The MacBeths hope to enliven the prayer life of men who typically struggle with sitting and praying. Many men, they assert, have difficulty just sitting–they want to do something. They encourage men to pray, not with words, but with pen and paper. Simple doodles–lines and curves on paper–can become a prayer.

As I began reading I trudged through the first few chapters waiting to get to the hands-on practices. And it’s not that the first few chapters were bad–they described why we pray, the struggles men have with praying, what we bring to the table in prayer–it’s just that I wanted to get into the meat of actually “praying in black and white.” This happened in chapters six and seven. With the information in the rest of the book, I’ve been putting it into practice in my quiet times. I appreciate that I can utilize something I do naturally–doodle, draw, etc.–to use as prayers (and I admit to struggling with prayer). It’s a quick, simple read, but the thoughts contained therein are transformational for prayer life (and I see no reason why the principles have to just be for men). I recommend Praying in Black and White for anyone struggling with prayer who would like a new approach. I found it very freeing to realize that by doodling, I can stay more focused on God and pray through doing so.