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Seeing Is Believing: Experience Jesus through Imaginative Prayer

Seeing Is Believing: Experience Jesus through Imaginative Prayer

3.3 3
by Gregory A. Boyd

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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


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.

Editorial Reviews

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.

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Baker Publishing Group
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Meet the Author

Gregory A. Boydis senior pastor of Woodland Hills Church of St. Paul, Minnesota. He is the author of eleven books, including the best-selling Gold Medallion award winner, Letters from a Skeptic.
Gregory A. Boyd (PhD, Princeton Theological Seminary), formerly professor of theology at Bethel University, is senior pastor of Woodland Hills Church in St. Paul, Minnesota, 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 is also coauthor of The Jesus Legend.

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Seeing Is Believing: Experience Jesus through Imaginative Prayer 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Absolutely life changing! I'm reading it a second time just because there is so much put into this book, i don't want to miss anything! It has given me such revelation into my relationship with Christ that I am finding peace, healing, and a joy I thought I had lost! So thankful for this book! I recommend it to everyone!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
In his book 'Seeing is believing,' Dr. Boyd has redefined the words 'truth¿ and ¿real¿ to mean different things, they are no longer synonyms. On page 11 he states, ¿Wondering whether Christianity is real is not the same as wondering whether Christianity is true.¿ On page 13 he states, ¿Remember, it¿s not what we believe intellectually that impacts us; it¿s what we experience as real.¿ Dr. Boyd is telling us that the objective factual evidence that we tangibly discern and process with our intellect is less real than subjective experiences we don¿t confirm with our senses. Dr. Boyd goes on to define ¿spiritual truth¿ as internal subjective experiences. He states on page 15, ¿We have forgotten the truth that while the imagination certainly can be merely `imaginative,¿ it can also be the means by which we experience spiritual truths as real.¿ This may sound innocent, if spiritual truths experienced actually conform to objective truth ¿ Scripture and the historical record observed by men. This is exactly what is denied, however, and the process that Dr. Boyd provides us with constructs an ¿alternate reality¿ in his imagination that is disassociated with the objective historical record. He constructs a lie and he claims it ¿real.¿ He implicates his imagined ¿spiritual Jesus¿ into his lie and claims it to be true and Scriptural, because it works. I am not exaggerating. Dr. Boyd gives us the factual historical objective truth of an incident in his life. He had a cruel grandmother that didn¿t give him a present and called him bad which he recounts on page 117, ¿No, Greggie is a bad boy, and bad boys don¿t get presents.¿ This incident brings pain to his life. Dr. Boyd discovers the techniques of imaginative prayer and applies them on pages 118 through 122, progressing through a series of emotions from grieving to forgiveness. Dr. Boyd claims that Jesus personally leads him through this process. As the process unfolds, we see that what is happening is that Jesus Himself is changing the objective historical record witnessed by Dr. Boyd¿s sisters to a different story that never happened. This story evolves into the following account on page 121, ¿But this time, instead of seeing the angry wrinkled face of my grandmother, I saw the radiant, joyful face of Jesus. He leaned over the bag and peeked in with a wildly excited smile on his face. Instead of hearing my grandmother say, `No, Greggie is a bad boy,¿ I heard Jesus exclaim, `Oh, of course Greggie gets a present! He is such a good boy!¿ He rubbed my head vigorously as he said, `It¿s a very special gift. That¿s why I saved it for last.¿ I began hopping and flapping my arms even more excited than before as I looked again into the paper sack. And there I saw a huge red toy airplane.¿ Dr. Boyd has imagined, with the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and Jesus, a new historical record without witnesses that he now believes to be ¿real¿ and a spiritual experience of the truth. This is how the imaginative Jesus enabled Dr. Boyd to forgive his grandmother and find healing. It is the process of building a story that opposes objective reality, believing that it is inspired and therefore ¿real¿ and experiencing relief from the historical record that is now ¿unreal¿ so that forgiveness is possible. He states on page 123, ¿It is crucial to note, however, that forgiveness usually comes at the end of the healing process (i.e. imagined story believed as true), not at the beginning. Scriptures tell us of a different path to forgiveness which doesn¿t consist of my creating inspired ¿subjective reality.¿ When I realize that I am utterly sinful and undeserving, with a monumental debt towards God I am incapable of paying, destined to damnation - and God comes and dies for me and forgives my mountainous debt and gives me eternal life instead, the antithesis of anything I deserved or merited ¿ the gratitude that whelms up in my heart and mind at this realization enables me to fo