Happy Soul Tending Tuesday friends! I’m delighted today for you to meet my friend Amy Boucher Pye. Thanks to Marco Polo we are able to communicate in real time on Sundays about one of our favorite loves: American football. It is rare as a woman to find another woman who loves football as much as I do and knows what it’s like to cheer in a foreign land. She’s a fan of the Vikings, and I cheer for God’s team (Kidding! . . . .mostly!) the Broncos. More importantly, she’s an author and when I read her most recent book on prayer, I wanted you to know about it. It’s one that you will want for yourself and as a resource for those you are helping to spiritually grow. Without further ado, I’m delighted for you to meet my friend, Amy Boucher Pye.
Fellow Amy, thank you for being with Global Trellis! Could you tell us a bit about yourself and your cross-cultural experience?
I never thought I’d live overseas—this outside-of-America life has been one of God’s surprises. When at university, I went to a “M” conference and during the last evening, when the speaker asked people to stand if they wanted to commit to some kind of that type of work in the future, I stayed fully rooted to my seat. Instead, I told myself, I felt called to pray for America, my home country. Next to me my dear friend rustled and stood, and she’s been a partner in the Philippines all these years.
But seven or so years after that conference I met an Englishman, fell in love, and moved to the UK. Our “deal” was that we’d live for 5–7 years in England while he finished up his theological training and did his curacy (his apprenticeship time with the Church of England). Then we’d move to the States, to be closer to my family and to enjoy the delights of such things as good plumbing, Target, and pickles that aren’t overly sweet. And for the Americans to appreciate his accent.
As it’s turned out, Nicholas and I have been married 23 years—all in the UK! I’ve some periods of sadness and adjustment, but I can see how God has helped me to flourish here in this land, with these delightful people.
Ah, the redirecting of God. We get that! What’s your latest book about?
Prayer! It’s called 7 Ways to Pray, and it’s a book not only about prayer but one that gives people the tools to experience these practices. A big percentage of the book is me guiding us through the various ways to pray, because I want the reader to experience the wonder of meeting God. In the book we engage with praying with the Bible and praying through it, practicing the presence of God, hearing God, the prayer of lament, putting ourselves into a gospel story through our imagination, and the prayer of examen—looking back to move forward with God. Here’s the introduction and the first chapter if you’d like to take a gander.
What drew you to writing about prayer?
I love how when we turn to God, he runs towards us. I love how he’s met—and meets!—me in prayer, and I love helping others encounter him through prayer too. I’ve led retreats for many years, and a huge joy is hearing how people get in touch with our loving God through the prayer exercises. Often life-changing!
A couple of years ago I wanted to explore some of those who seeped their lives in prayer and so did a master’s in Christian spirituality from the University of London. I loved “meeting” people such as Teresa of Avila and Ignatius of Loyola, and gained so much through studying their lives and how they prayed. I share some of their prayer practices in the book, but not in a dry or academic way.
I saw a lot of potential for this book to be used in a variety of ways, such as personally, in a small group, or with someone a reader is discipling. What suggestions for using this book do you have for those three scenarios?
Yes, yes, and yes!
If you’re reading the book on your own, why not set aside a week for each practice? To start off on each topic, you could watch one of the interviews I did with seven amazing Christians (including Sharon Garlough Brown, Elisa Morgan, and James Catford). Keeping a journal can be a wonderful way to process your thoughts and prayers—and it’ll give you a special way to remember how you met with God.
In a small group – it’s a wonderful resource for a small group because of the hands-on nature of the book and the joy of praying together. To help if you’re leading the group, you can download the leader’s guide and you can also find seven five-minute video introductions for each chapter. Journeying together with others through these ways to pray can be such a rich experience.
I’m currently giving a seven-week online retreat (at two times to suit two different timezones). If you’d like to take part in this kind of an experience, I’m open to running it again in 2022. Send me an email (email@example.com) and let me know what time in the week works best for you (and of course what timezone you’re in).
If you’re discipling someone, you could work through the book together in a conversational way, perhaps using as a resource the leader’s guide I mention above. You could also use the Youversion seven-day devotional together that I created.
What’s your hope for this book?
That people will encounter God! He loves us, and loves hearing from us. Prayer is a practice that we can develop, but it’s an intimate conversation with the One who loves us, and so however feebly we may think we go about it, we won’t get it wrong.
Amy, thank you for sharing of yourself and pouring into us! 7 Ways to Pray is a wonderful resource for people to use personally and with those they are investing in.
As a way to help you tend your soul, leave a comment and two of you will win a copy of 7 Ways to Pray!
Amy Boucher Pye is a writer, speaker, and spiritual director. She’s the author of four books, including the award-winning Finding Myself in Britain. She writes devotional thoughts for several publications, including the globally recognized Our Daily Bread, and runs the Woman Alive book club. She and her family live in a spacious but drafty vicarage in North London. Find her at amyboucherpye.com.