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I Heard God Laugh: A Practical Guide to Life's Essential Daily Habit

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Is Your Life Working? Most of us are trying to put together the jigsaw puzzle we call life without a very important piece. Over time this becomes incredibly frustrating. In this extraordinary book, Matthew Kelly powerfully demonstrates that we cannot live the life we have imagined, or experience the joy we yearn for, unless we learn to tend the soul. From there, with his cl Is Your Life Working? Most of us are trying to put together the jigsaw puzzle we call life without a very important piece. Over time this becomes incredibly frustrating. In this extraordinary book, Matthew Kelly powerfully demonstrates that we cannot live the life we have imagined, or experience the joy we yearn for, unless we learn to tend the soul. From there, with his classic style of practical wisdom, he teaches us how to remedy this problem. When our bodies are hungry, our stomachs growl. When our souls are hungry, we become irritable, restless, confused, overwhelmed, exhausted, anxious, discontent, and tend to focus on the things that matter least and neglect the things that matter most. Are you taking care of your soul? Are you feeding it and nurturing it? Or are you ignoring it and neglecting it? The reality is, most people have never really been taught how to tend their souls. I Heard God Laugh will help you to do just that, and so much more. If you ever wondered how Matthew Kelly has been able to write and speak the way he has over the past three decades, he is about to share his secret with you. As he shares what transformed his life, along with intimate details of his own journey and struggle, he teaches us how to apply the great spiritual lessons learned to our own lives. At every turn he floods the reader with hope and demonstrates unmistakably that the best is yet to come!


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Is Your Life Working? Most of us are trying to put together the jigsaw puzzle we call life without a very important piece. Over time this becomes incredibly frustrating. In this extraordinary book, Matthew Kelly powerfully demonstrates that we cannot live the life we have imagined, or experience the joy we yearn for, unless we learn to tend the soul. From there, with his cl Is Your Life Working? Most of us are trying to put together the jigsaw puzzle we call life without a very important piece. Over time this becomes incredibly frustrating. In this extraordinary book, Matthew Kelly powerfully demonstrates that we cannot live the life we have imagined, or experience the joy we yearn for, unless we learn to tend the soul. From there, with his classic style of practical wisdom, he teaches us how to remedy this problem. When our bodies are hungry, our stomachs growl. When our souls are hungry, we become irritable, restless, confused, overwhelmed, exhausted, anxious, discontent, and tend to focus on the things that matter least and neglect the things that matter most. Are you taking care of your soul? Are you feeding it and nurturing it? Or are you ignoring it and neglecting it? The reality is, most people have never really been taught how to tend their souls. I Heard God Laugh will help you to do just that, and so much more. If you ever wondered how Matthew Kelly has been able to write and speak the way he has over the past three decades, he is about to share his secret with you. As he shares what transformed his life, along with intimate details of his own journey and struggle, he teaches us how to apply the great spiritual lessons learned to our own lives. At every turn he floods the reader with hope and demonstrates unmistakably that the best is yet to come!

30 review for I Heard God Laugh: A Practical Guide to Life's Essential Daily Habit

  1. 4 out of 5

    Katherina Blowers

    The main message of this book was really good, but it took far too much filler to get there. One star down simply because this idea could have been said better on fewer words

  2. 4 out of 5

    Steven R. McEvoy

    Over the last 6 years I have read books by Matthew Kelly 29 times, and that does not count some of his children’s books that have been read many times over. I am always excited when a new volume from Matthew is coming out, and eagerly await its release. This was the second of two that released around the same time, the other being Coach 365 Days of Inspiration for Coaches and Players. Next to Rediscover the Saints, this is my favorite book by Matthew Kelly, that I have read to date. This is one Over the last 6 years I have read books by Matthew Kelly 29 times, and that does not count some of his children’s books that have been read many times over. I am always excited when a new volume from Matthew is coming out, and eagerly await its release. This was the second of two that released around the same time, the other being Coach 365 Days of Inspiration for Coaches and Players. Next to Rediscover the Saints, this is my favorite book by Matthew Kelly, that I have read to date. This is one of those books that every Catholic, nay every Christian could benefit from reading. It is a fantastic read, and as soon as I finished it, I put but in my; to be read pile. It will be a book I know I will return to again and again. The description of this volume is: “Is Your Life Working? Most of us are trying to put together the jigsaw puzzle we call life without a very important piece. Over time this becomes incredibly frustrating. In this extraordinary book, Matthew Kelly powerfully demonstrates that we cannot live the life we have imagined, or experience the joy we yearn for, unless we learn to tend the soul. From there, with his classic style of practical wisdom, he teaches us how to remedy this problem. When our bodies are hungry, our stomachs growl. When our souls are hungry, we become irritable, restless, confused, overwhelmed, exhausted, anxious, discontent, and tend to focus on the things that matter least and neglect the things that matter most.” I highlighted several passages on my first reading of this volume and some of them are: “We cannot live without the hope that things will change for the better, and we are not victims of our circumstances.” “You are who and what you are still capable of becoming. You are your realized and unrealized potential. God sees you and all your potential, and he aches to see you embrace your best, truest, highest self. He yearns to help you and to accompany you in that quest.” “Wherever you are, whatever you’re feeling, however life has surprised and disappointed you, I want to remind you of one thing: The best is yet to come! There are times in life when this is easier or harder to believe, but the best is truly yet to come.” “The essential piece most people are missing is a vibrant spirituality.” “Nothing will change your life so completely, absolutely, and forever like learning how to really pray. In prayer we learn who we are and what we are here for, what matters most and what matters least. Through prayer we discover the-best-version-of-ourselves, and are given the courage to celebrate and defend it in each moment of each day. In prayer we learn how to love and be loved, because we discover that we have been loved, are loved, and will continually be loved by God.” “If you truly want to seek and find these answers, this is work for the soul. These are matters that are between you and God.” “The essential practical virtue of prayer is patience—which is also the essential practical virtue in all relationships.” “I am often asked: “Why do you pray?” I pray because I cannot thrive without it.” Those few samples will give you an idea of the worth of this volume. This is a book about making prayer central to your whole life. It teaches, it encourages, and it challenges it. Matthew outlines: The Prayer Process: 1. Gratitude 2. Awareness 3. Significant Moments 4. Peace 5. Freedom 6. Others 7. Finish The book also contains the prayer of surrender. The chapters in this volume are: Part One: The Unexpected Life A Question to Begin The Missing Piece The Habit The Promise of This Book Finding Your Reason Habit and Potential The Challenge Soul Note Part Two: My Spiritual Journey The Invitation: Ten Minutes a Day The First Surrender The Day My Life Changed Forever My Hope for You Soul Note Part Three: Life’s Essential Habit Teach Us to Pray Sharing the Joy The Prayer Process Your Best Days The Basics What Is Your Image of God? There Is Power in a Name Begin Today Soul Note Part Four: Six Powerful Spiritual Lessons The Longest Journey Six Seismic Shifts The First Shift: Begin the Conversation The Second Shift: Ask God What He Wants The Third Shift: Give Yourself to Prayer The Fourth Shift: Transform Everything into Prayer The Fifth Shift: Make Yourself Available The Sixth Shift: Just Keep Showing Up! Six Life-Changing Awakenings Soul Note Part Five: The God Who Gave Us Laughter Does God Have a Sense of Humor? I Heard God Laugh The Deep Waters The Delight of God Busy Is Not Your Friend Soul Note Epilogue: Do You Hear That? This is one of those books I wish I could put in the hands of all my friends. A book I would love to have given to my daughter’s grade 8 graduation class last year. And especially in 202 it is a book many of us would benefit from reading. I strongly encourage you to order 2 copies of this book, one for yourself and one to pass on. This book is one of Kelly’s best and one all Christians should read! Read the review on my blog Book Reviews and More and reviews of other books by Matthew Kelly. Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2020 Catholic Reading Plan!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Tamara

    Excellent, excellent, excellent.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Amanda Lauer

    Short, easy to read book laying out a simple seven-step outline for how to pray that Kelly learned when he was a teenager. It would be easy enough to implement into your life if you're trying to establish a daily prayer habit. This is similar to a prayer a friend taught me several years ago called the ACTS prayer. A = adoration, C = contrition, T = thanksgiving and S = supplication. I say this prayer to start out each day and to end each day (telling God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit that I love th Short, easy to read book laying out a simple seven-step outline for how to pray that Kelly learned when he was a teenager. It would be easy enough to implement into your life if you're trying to establish a daily prayer habit. This is similar to a prayer a friend taught me several years ago called the ACTS prayer. A = adoration, C = contrition, T = thanksgiving and S = supplication. I say this prayer to start out each day and to end each day (telling God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit that I love them, asking for forgiveness for any sins I committed in the course of my day, thanksgiving for all the blessings that come to me each and every day, and asking for blessings for myself, friends and loved ones and the world). Either way, establishing an ongoing conversation with God is a good thing. The title of the book refers to a story that Kelly related in the last section. I'm not 100% sure how that connects to his prayer routine, but it was a touching moment in his life.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Marie Iverson

    Great read. Easy read. Very insightful and timely! My take-aways: 1) Learn to pray daily with this Prayer Process 2) Next time you sense danger, uncertainty, discouragement, anger, just repeat the name of Jesus over and over, slowly.... "Jesus"...."Jesus"..."Jesus" 3) ASK God/Jesus/The Holy Spirit to come and 'sit next to you' throughout your day; while doing dishes, while driving, folding laundry. It's the 'little' times when we can also spend time with God. 4) Go deep. Schedule time, if you need Great read. Easy read. Very insightful and timely! My take-aways: 1) Learn to pray daily with this Prayer Process 2) Next time you sense danger, uncertainty, discouragement, anger, just repeat the name of Jesus over and over, slowly.... "Jesus"...."Jesus"..."Jesus" 3) ASK God/Jesus/The Holy Spirit to come and 'sit next to you' throughout your day; while doing dishes, while driving, folding laundry. It's the 'little' times when we can also spend time with God. 4) Go deep. Schedule time, if you need to, with God. Would you answer the phone in the middle of a conversation with God? No! Daily prayer - Daily time - Daily silence with God.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    3.75 stars. Matthew Kelly’s “I Heard God Laugh” is a book that talks about how to pray more, what the prayer process looks like, and how to involve God more in your day-to-day life. Kelly is one wise man, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading the content of his book. The writing is mediocre, but besides that, this book hit hard. Kelly talks about the importance of praying 10 minutes a day for 21 days to establish a habit of daily prayer and what this prayer process looks like. I really like how he sup 3.75 stars. Matthew Kelly’s “I Heard God Laugh” is a book that talks about how to pray more, what the prayer process looks like, and how to involve God more in your day-to-day life. Kelly is one wise man, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading the content of his book. The writing is mediocre, but besides that, this book hit hard. Kelly talks about the importance of praying 10 minutes a day for 21 days to establish a habit of daily prayer and what this prayer process looks like. I really like how he supports many of his points with scripture quotes, as it shows what he’s talking about is real and is proven in the Bible. When praying, Kelly says it’s important to include gratitude, awareness, significant moments, peace, freedom and others in what you say to God. He says what many people do is ask God to help them with this and help them with that, but what we really should be doing is asking “God, what do you think I should do?” and thereby open up your life for God to guide. Trust is so incredibly important, and lays the foundation for one’s divine relationship. Another point about this book that I appreciated is how Kelly states that God can be involved in all the parts of your life, not just church on Sunday’s. We can ask God to mow the lawn with us, to do our homework with us and to come to lunch with our friend. God wants to be involved in every moment of our day, and he is delighted when we invite him along. Lastly, I like how Kelly makes a point about busyness and how this is not our friend when making a relationship with God. Busyness takes us away from prayer and leads us to be more weary and overwhelmed. But when we become more available to God and pray, we discover the real meaning and purpose of our life, we can discuss what is giving us anxiety and we can therefore be more intentional about our life outside of prayer time. In general, I think Kelly gives some really convincing arguments about how to maintain daily prayer with God. All it is is a conversation, just like you have with anyone. The writing isn’t ~spectacular~ because Kelly is a little redundant with some of the things he talks about, but the content is amazing. I recommend this book to all Christians or to anyone who is starting to form a relationship with God and needs some instruction.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Lysandra

    I wanted to read a Christmas book, but could not figure out how to find it in all the books I have in my kindle. Then, this book arrived from my church. It encourages you to form a habit of daily prayer. Ten minutes for 21 days. Up to the challenge!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Abbie

    Matthew Kelly has done it again!! He had delivered another incredible message through his faith, his story and his mission. This book is wonderful, impactful and truly one of the best reads I’ll read all year!! Every catholic should read this book!!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Cindy Cannon

    Will continue to go back time and time again to thought provoking questions throughout his book.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Anne Gazzolo

    Powerful read that I just sat down and read all the way through in one sitting. Recommended for anyone wanting to grow closer to God.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Anna-Marie Ryan

    I'm not usually a big fan of Matthew Kelly books, but this one was definitely an exception. A powerful and convicting reminder of the simplicity of prayer and the importance of learning to listen to and converse with God daily. This is a quick but insightful read, a practical guide to the often over-complicated (and thus frequently discarded) practice of daily prayer. The Prayer Process he outlines is a wonderful introduction to an expanded and simplified Ignatian examen style of prayer, and cou I'm not usually a big fan of Matthew Kelly books, but this one was definitely an exception. A powerful and convicting reminder of the simplicity of prayer and the importance of learning to listen to and converse with God daily. This is a quick but insightful read, a practical guide to the often over-complicated (and thus frequently discarded) practice of daily prayer. The Prayer Process he outlines is a wonderful introduction to an expanded and simplified Ignatian examen style of prayer, and could be easily implemented by any person of faith (or even someone who wants to explore the reality of God and the spiritual life but doesn't know where to begin). Highly recommended for anyone who seeks to find peace amidst daily chaos and develop a more intimate relationship with God.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    I have mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, it has great advice. It is primarily about the benefits of daily prayer. It's written in a conversational style, the kind of book you could breeze through in a few days. I tried to pace myself to read sections at a time, then reflect for a while before jumping into the next one. My favorite part was probably the section titled "Busy is not your friend." Sometimes our society mistakenly equates more demands on time with more importance. But I have mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, it has great advice. It is primarily about the benefits of daily prayer. It's written in a conversational style, the kind of book you could breeze through in a few days. I tried to pace myself to read sections at a time, then reflect for a while before jumping into the next one. My favorite part was probably the section titled "Busy is not your friend." Sometimes our society mistakenly equates more demands on time with more importance. But how important are some of those demands? Still trying to take some of the advice to heart but overall a worthwhile read. Why the mixed feelings? The title made me think I was going to read something that made me smile more. I thought there might even be a little humor.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Bonnie Westmark

    There hasn’t been a Matthew Kelly book I didn’t like, but this is my favorite. I’ve recently started contemplative prayer with a group on Zoom and everything about this book resonates with what I’m learning. Sister Lucy, at St.Placid Priory, taught me how to pray using Lectio Divina. I see that is how Matthew Kelly prays as welI, and this book is basically a lesson on how to pray using Lectio. I so enjoy his personal stories to reinforce his messages, and would recommend this book to anyone who There hasn’t been a Matthew Kelly book I didn’t like, but this is my favorite. I’ve recently started contemplative prayer with a group on Zoom and everything about this book resonates with what I’m learning. Sister Lucy, at St.Placid Priory, taught me how to pray using Lectio Divina. I see that is how Matthew Kelly prays as welI, and this book is basically a lesson on how to pray using Lectio. I so enjoy his personal stories to reinforce his messages, and would recommend this book to anyone who wants to build a closer, stronger relationship with God through prayer and contemplation.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Mel

    A quick and approachable read. Whether or not you have a prayer life, this book can benefit you. The main purpose is to remind us that prayer is not intimidating - it's a conversation with our Creator. When we set aside even just 10 minutes of silence to still ourselves before Him, we will likely end up noticing that 10 minutes is more than 10 minutes in more ways than one. Glad to have read it and to pass it on to new hands. A quick and approachable read. Whether or not you have a prayer life, this book can benefit you. The main purpose is to remind us that prayer is not intimidating - it's a conversation with our Creator. When we set aside even just 10 minutes of silence to still ourselves before Him, we will likely end up noticing that 10 minutes is more than 10 minutes in more ways than one. Glad to have read it and to pass it on to new hands.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    The title of this book obscures what the book is really about. This is a wonderful, short read about talking and listening to God. Call it prayer if you want. This was a freebie give away in some of the Catholic churches in Texas this Spring. Thanks to my Mom for grabbing a copy for me. I wonder if she has read it. The author, Matthew Kelly, has an easy to read style that reminds of Bob Goff. Kelly is passionate about the important role that prayer can play in one’s life and his desire is that th The title of this book obscures what the book is really about. This is a wonderful, short read about talking and listening to God. Call it prayer if you want. This was a freebie give away in some of the Catholic churches in Texas this Spring. Thanks to my Mom for grabbing a copy for me. I wonder if she has read it. The author, Matthew Kelly, has an easy to read style that reminds of Bob Goff. Kelly is passionate about the important role that prayer can play in one’s life and his desire is that the reader just start and then just keep going. 10 minutes a day. There are a couple of helpful formulas in the book but here is the best list: 1. Begin the conversation 2. Ask God what he wants 3. Give yourself to prayer 4. Transform everything into prayer 5. Make yourself available 6. Just keep showing up Here is a phrase that the author believes we need more of and that we would be better off if we could get more of: CAREFREE TIMELESSNESS Think about it. I know I am. JIM

  16. 5 out of 5

    Chrissy Axley

    I am always hesitant to read books about prayer and people's faith journeys. I find myself comparing my journey and begin to fear I am failing. This book reaffirmed what I am already doing is enough and gave me some new things to add to my journey. Highly recommend this book. I am always hesitant to read books about prayer and people's faith journeys. I find myself comparing my journey and begin to fear I am failing. This book reaffirmed what I am already doing is enough and gave me some new things to add to my journey. Highly recommend this book.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Leener

    Easy to read, encouragement for developing a daily habit of prayer. Author shares his testimony of the impact of being taught to pray. I took away a desire to not just be consistent in my prayer time, and some additional strategies for praying with God, but to practice being in His presence. MK calls it..."to just be." Good basic, easy read. Easy to read, encouragement for developing a daily habit of prayer. Author shares his testimony of the impact of being taught to pray. I took away a desire to not just be consistent in my prayer time, and some additional strategies for praying with God, but to practice being in His presence. MK calls it..."to just be." Good basic, easy read.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Pauline

    One of Matthew Kelly’s best books yet!!! I enjoy everything I’ve read by Kelly. He’s down to Earth. I feel as though he’s been along the same spiritual journey as I have. But, his insight, wisdom and sharing from his life helps me to examine my own. Thank you again, Matthew Kelly!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Patty

    Simple and profound.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Wayne Wang

    A very quick read. Easy and succinct like most of his writing. If you don't think daily prayer is for you, think again. A very quick read. Easy and succinct like most of his writing. If you don't think daily prayer is for you, think again.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Rocky Parra

    My favorite Matthew Kelly book so far. I love the simple, yet profound prayer process he introduces to help those of us who struggle with making daily prayer a habit. His language is readable. His stories are relatable. Matthew does a beautiful job of meeting his readers wherever they are in their spiritual journey.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Teresa

    First inspiring book of my 2021 reading plan- as always, Matthew Kelly gives me plenty to review as I look at my own prayer and faith practices.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Lynn

    Although there was some good content in this book, I think the author’s editor let him down badly. Had he turned this in as a English assignment in high school, the red pen of doom would have struck many a repetitive phrase, and the accusation of “too much filler” would have been noted. I also think that using phrases like “my Prayer Process” and “best-version-of-yourself” cheapen and make gimmicky the privilege we have in going to our Lord in prayer - I almost expected to see the TM sign after Although there was some good content in this book, I think the author’s editor let him down badly. Had he turned this in as a English assignment in high school, the red pen of doom would have struck many a repetitive phrase, and the accusation of “too much filler” would have been noted. I also think that using phrases like “my Prayer Process” and “best-version-of-yourself” cheapen and make gimmicky the privilege we have in going to our Lord in prayer - I almost expected to see the TM sign after these. Unfortunately for the author, I had just listened to a series of lectures by Elisabeth Elliot on prayer that were rich in Scripture, God-centered, and not at all geared toward becoming the “best-version-of-yourself.” However, as I said before, there were some genuinely helpful observations about prayer, along with Scripture references that redeemed the message of the book; an exhortation to pray more and to pray consistently should never go amiss, kitschy phrases notwithstanding.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Lee Coleman

    For the last four or five years my parish has been gifting parishioners with a different Matthew Kelly book at Christmas time. Instead of reading it right away, I typically wind up putting off reading the book until Lent. This is now the third Matthew Kelly I have read. On the plus side, his books are generally on an interesting (albeit similar) topic and they are quick, easy reads. But on the down side, this is my least favorite of the three. The book is focused on teaching people how to pray For the last four or five years my parish has been gifting parishioners with a different Matthew Kelly book at Christmas time. Instead of reading it right away, I typically wind up putting off reading the book until Lent. This is now the third Matthew Kelly I have read. On the plus side, his books are generally on an interesting (albeit similar) topic and they are quick, easy reads. But on the down side, this is my least favorite of the three. The book is focused on teaching people how to pray and encouraging people to make a daily habit of prayer by committing to praying every day for 21 days for 10 minutes. The book is 111 pages long and it could easily be shortened to 50 pages or less. It's repetitive, it has totally unnecessary "motivational speaker phrasing" through out, and his seven step process feels more formulaic than effortless. One last pet peeve of mine is the title. I "get" where he was going with it, but it is not integrated well with his main focus on learning to pray and he doesn't bring any revelation or insight into the concept of God laughing. It felt tacked on and inserted in as a cool image he wanted to stick into one of his books but clearly didn't have enough to expound about it. What I loved about the book was his reminiscing about how his prayer life changed over the years. I think everyone who prays regularly has experienced this transformation. You start out saying formal prayers by rote, and usually to ask for something good or to pray for something bad not to happen. And as you mature, almost instinctively you begin to pray in gratitude. You begin to pray for others. You begin to pray for peace or acceptance when you might not get what you want-instead of praying for what you want. So I DO love this idea of teaching people what prayer can be; that it can be MORE than what you remember associating it with as a kid. He sticks in some lovely concepts that always speak to me. 1. "You are not what has happened to you. You are not what you have accomplished. You are not even who you are today or who you have become so far. You are also who and what you are still capable of becoming. You are your realized and unrealized potential". 2. Prayer requires patience and peace is the fruit of prayer. 3. Learn to "listen" as you pray and not just talk. And while he only obliquely touches on MY favorite piece of advice for people who want to improve their prayer experience- consider praying with others. Back in 2020, my parish started a daily Zoom rosary for the month of May, in honor of Mary. No one was able to go to church, anxiety over the pandemic was still high, and I was able to connect with an amazing group of fellow parishioners I never knew before. When the month was over, we all wanted to continue meeting up for rosary and here we are almost a year later still praying together for about 25 minutes a day (whenever we are able). This habit brought me immeasurable peace at a time when working as a front line nurse was extremely scary and exhausting. I look forward to praying every day with others WAY more than I do praying alone (which of course I still do as well). I'm happy to see many people did love reading this book. I just found the writing was not his finest.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Rosemarie

    I love that when you go to my church for Christmas mass you get a free book as a gift! What an ingenious way to get book lovers to go to church :) Seriously, I think it's a great tradition that all churches should adopt. This is a great little book that talks about how to make prayer a daily part of your life. It's very well written and the message is simple. Prayer is not a burden that you must work into your already overcrowded schedule, but a way to bring peace and joy to that schedule in a wa I love that when you go to my church for Christmas mass you get a free book as a gift! What an ingenious way to get book lovers to go to church :) Seriously, I think it's a great tradition that all churches should adopt. This is a great little book that talks about how to make prayer a daily part of your life. It's very well written and the message is simple. Prayer is not a burden that you must work into your already overcrowded schedule, but a way to bring peace and joy to that schedule in a way you never would have imagined. I have experienced this phenomenon for myself. In fact, Kelly talks about a special time in his life when he was younger and first learned how to pray - really pray. He began going to the church and just sitting in silent prayer for increasingly longer periods of time. It got to the point where the priest did not want to wait for him to finish so he could lock up at night, and decided to give Kelly the keys! Like, "Just lock up whenever you're done, Son." Some people might not believe that anyone would want to sit in prayer for hours, but I believe it. When I was in my early 20s, I had a job that was located a short walk from the center of town. I took the bus, which let me off on one of the main intersections. However, it got there a bit too early for me to go into the office. If I took the later bus, I got there too late. Right on the corner where the bus dropped off, was a Catholic Church. I began going in there each morning for 10 minutes or so just to kill some time. At first, it was just a place to sit down and get out of the rain or cold. But then I started praying. I had been a practicing Catholic all my life and thought I knew about prayer. But this was different. It was more like having a friend to confide in. It got to the point where this time was my favorite part of the day. I couldn't wait to get there in the morning, and if I missed a day of work, I really missed the morning prayer time. Depending on the season, there may or may not have been a morning mass going on when I arrived. But I never paid any attention to the mass. I just sat, in the very last pew, silently talking to God. Having this time with God was an amazingly powerful force in my life. I've tried to duplicate it several times over the years, but the job, location, church, timing, etc. never quite matched up in the same way again. But that's okay, because as time goes on, I only realize even more how special that time in my life was. It was a gift that God gave to me at a crucial time in my development. While reading this book I started taking a few minutes to pray each morning and I hope to continue that. I read one small section each morning as a way of segueing into the prayer - so maybe that's a good way to approach reading this book if you are not familiar with daily prayer. I'm already thinking of what book I can replace this one with for my little morning ritual. It was good to read about Kelly's experience and be so wonderfully reminded of my own. I've never heard anyone talk about an experience so similar to my own before. I encourage everyone to read this book and give prayer a chance in your own life!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Greg Loughnane

    The book in 3 sentences: Matthew Kelly bases this book around the idea that "prayer is life's essential habit." He tells the story of how he "learned to pray" when a mentor of his took him into church and read each of the most famous biblical passages from the Gospel of Matthew, one-at-a-time but with plenty of space for reflection, and how it changed his life forever. The center of gravity of the book is his custom "Prayer Process" that takes 10 minutes per day, and the book finished with "six p The book in 3 sentences: Matthew Kelly bases this book around the idea that "prayer is life's essential habit." He tells the story of how he "learned to pray" when a mentor of his took him into church and read each of the most famous biblical passages from the Gospel of Matthew, one-at-a-time but with plenty of space for reflection, and how it changed his life forever. The center of gravity of the book is his custom "Prayer Process" that takes 10 minutes per day, and the book finished with "six powerful spiritual lessons" and a short story where he recalls the epic moment in his life when he "heard God laugh." My personal take in 3 sentences: This book was given to me as a gift by my mother, thus making it obligatory reading for me. This is single-handedly the worst writing that I've ever seen actually published in book form, from the mind-numbing word repetition, to the lack of sentence structure and complete thoughts, to the bad-high-school-student grammar, to the completely off-putting "I-know-better-than-you-about-everything-my-young-Padawan" voice of the author, to the constant information-referencing with no actual references (short of biblical ones), to just the general vibe that mimics that of prose transcribed by the secretary of an old-school divorce lawyer talking into a cassette recorder. Giving the devil his due is necessary here; and I appreciate some of the actual lessons that Matthew provides in his own way, including the ideas that you should take time for yourself every day and work towards the best version of yourself in a disciplined way, that working on developing your own "image of God" is important, that you should pay attention to your soul, that you should attempt to see what wisdom you can glean from reading the Bible, that it's important to just keep showing up every day, to attack the things you're least looking forward to, to ask yourself tough questions, to realize that being busy is not your friend, to the reality that if you miss your meditation/mindfulness/prayer time in the morning it's tough to get back on track, and that really listening to your kids and others is extremely important; however, I have to also note finally that there are more ads in the back of this book then I've seen in any other book, ever.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Rev. M. M. Walters

    "I heard God laugh" is a reference to the oft-repeated aphorism: If you want to hear God laugh, tell Him your plans". Matthew Kelly manages to reconfigure the statement, but my first thought is going to be God's reaction to my carefully laid plans for my future. As the title says, this is a practical book. It is especially so for those who are just beginning or want to begin a prayer life. For anyone who already has a prayer life, this book is a refresher of what we already know. It is not that t "I heard God laugh" is a reference to the oft-repeated aphorism: If you want to hear God laugh, tell Him your plans". Matthew Kelly manages to reconfigure the statement, but my first thought is going to be God's reaction to my carefully laid plans for my future. As the title says, this is a practical book. It is especially so for those who are just beginning or want to begin a prayer life. For anyone who already has a prayer life, this book is a refresher of what we already know. It is not that the book has no usefulness for the "professional" but the simplicity and repetition in the book can lead to an "I've heard this all before" attitude. For the beginner, though, the simplicity and repetition help to clarify the main point. Prayer does not have to be complicated. Kelly recommends ten minutes of conversational prayer every day. Ten minutes does not seem like a long time, but it is just a beginning. If one is faithful to the discipline (and prayer does take discipline), one eventually gets to the state of prayerful timelessness in which time passes quickly without our realization. The important thing is to start. No matter where you are on your faith journey, there is something here that can help you move further along. It may be something new; it may be something old that you may have forgotten. As they say in the Nike commercial "Just do it!"

  28. 4 out of 5

    Haleigh

    I do like the simple message of daily prayer and the 6 steps to help you do it. However, the theme of the book being laughter was a brief part of one chapter. I understand the ties the author was making between that theme and daily prayer but it feels like the first 2/3 of the book was repeated ideas (spouted in the style of a late-night infomercial promise) about daily prayer and then a quick connection was made to humor in humans and God and then the book was over. Overall, I also struggle wit I do like the simple message of daily prayer and the 6 steps to help you do it. However, the theme of the book being laughter was a brief part of one chapter. I understand the ties the author was making between that theme and daily prayer but it feels like the first 2/3 of the book was repeated ideas (spouted in the style of a late-night infomercial promise) about daily prayer and then a quick connection was made to humor in humans and God and then the book was over. Overall, I also struggle with the value of the book. It was a quick read as it is but within those few hours of reading, there was so much repeated. Often 2 adjacent sections, just a page aware from each other would begin with the exact same sentence, followed by some slightly different points on the same topic - it just didn't flow. Perhaps the same style works for speaking a sermon but doesn't come across in this format? I could have removed the repetitious aspects and more concisely got the same point across in less words than a New Yorker article. While I understand that brevity helped convey how easy the call to action is and does allow us to get started right away, it feels like I didn't need to spend $25 on a hardcover book to reach the same outcome.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Ian

    Are you the kind of person that loves motivational speakers? Are you looking for spiritual guidance delivered with the breathless promises usually found in infomercials? But wait! There's more! Do you want advice with all of the specificity of a horoscope? Do you believe that all of life's myriad and complicated problems have a single, simple answer? Then this book is for you. Sarcasm aside, different audiences respond to different voices. For me, the truly bad writing got in the way of any mess Are you the kind of person that loves motivational speakers? Are you looking for spiritual guidance delivered with the breathless promises usually found in infomercials? But wait! There's more! Do you want advice with all of the specificity of a horoscope? Do you believe that all of life's myriad and complicated problems have a single, simple answer? Then this book is for you. Sarcasm aside, different audiences respond to different voices. For me, the truly bad writing got in the way of any message Kelly wanted to deliver. Reading this book was like speaking to someone with a big piece of spinach wedged between their front teeth - I could not get past the distraction of his style to really engage with the substance of the book. While I'm sure there are some people who think this type of book is great, I'm not one of them. I would have given the book a single star based on the writing, but gave it an extra star because I think the author's basic message (i.e., prayer may enhance your life) is uncontroversial if not universal. Not recommended.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    This Lent I focused on reading a bunch of religious books -- several of them on prayer. Others I read were written by priests and they were good in their way. But the priests both spent a lot of effort stressing how prayer is different for each person; there is no right and wrong way to go about it; no one can prescribe the way you should pray. This book is written by an enthusiastic lay person whose tone is more like this: "We all need prayer, but we don't grow up being taught how to pray. This This Lent I focused on reading a bunch of religious books -- several of them on prayer. Others I read were written by priests and they were good in their way. But the priests both spent a lot of effort stressing how prayer is different for each person; there is no right and wrong way to go about it; no one can prescribe the way you should pray. This book is written by an enthusiastic lay person whose tone is more like this: "We all need prayer, but we don't grow up being taught how to pray. This is what worked for me, and I think it would help you get started, too! Give it a try!!" He doesn't bog down in disclaimers and caveats, and he is full of joy. I found the tone so infectious and exuberant that it really inspired me. I'm sure it doesn't hurt that the tips he gives and the experiences he shares align pretty well with my own experiences of prayer already. But still, I feel like if someone didn't have a history of praying and wanted to start, this would be a great first book to read.

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