In her debut collection of verse, Coleman investigates reasons for prayer.
There are a number of self-help and Christian inspiration books that look at prayer, but Coleman’s take presents a unique concept that stands apart. Instead of offering a listing of prayers or a “how-to” approach, the author asks readers to pray for people they don’t know and may never meet, with a poetic compilation of people worthy of readers’ sentiments. The idea came to the author soon after September 11, 2001; Coleman, who lost several friends and acquaintances that day, turned her thoughts to the many survivors and the depth of their suffering. Praying for strangers led her to a greater sense of interconnection with humanity, and she felt a distinct calling to care for people through prayer. Her short, poemlike descriptions of this wide range of people in need of prayer will evoke readers’ sense of compassion and justice: “A single dad with a family of daughters needs a prayer today. / He is trying his best but sometimes he is overwhelmed.” A variety of worthy subjects—victims of Agent Orange, hospice workers, struggling teenagers, girls sold into the sex trade, recovering alcoholics—all find a page in Coleman’s book. The author, who divides the book into chapters that provide a basic order to the collection, shrugs off convention and urges readers to use this volume however they feel most comfortable: “If you find a page in the book that resonates with you and you want to remain for a few days on that page, do so.” Non-Catholics may not immediately recognize the concept of the book from its title—the term “intention” in relation to prayer is an almost exclusively Roman Catholic usage—but this book will find a wide audience among devout readers.
An unusual yet inspiring take on prayer.