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“Humanizing Prayer

A Review of
Mystically Wired: Exploring New Realms in Prayer
By Ken Wilson

Reviewed by Joshua Neds-Fox.

Mystically Wired: Exploring New Realms in Prayer.
Ken Wilson
Hardback: Thomas Nelson, 2010.
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MYSTICALLY WIRED - Ken WilsonKen Wilson’s Mystically Wired: Exploring New Realms in Prayer is either a practical manual for mystic prayer or a mystical manual for practicing prayer, depending on whether you emphasize the ‘Wired’ or the ‘Mystically.’  Wendell Berry might argue that applying language like ‘wired’ to our biology is a bad idea, since equating human beings with electrical systems is, at the very least, dehumanizing, and probably not the best theology. But Wilson is the pastor of the Ann Arbor Vineyard, a community squarely in University of Michigan territory. For strong left-brain thinkers, mystical prayer looks a lot like a neuro/genetic coping mechanism for anxiety and stress.  It could use a bit of demystifying, and Wilson, a good pastor, is willing and able to extend grace to his community and see things through their eyes.  His message to them (and us) is that a receptivity to what we commonly think of as mystical prayer is actually strongly supported by our neurobiology.  He’s humanizing prayer—and by extension, faith—for the scientific set.

Wilson takes the ‘wired’ metaphor seriously: he places prayer in the Trinitarian reality, which he characterizes as a network of love:

“God is a connected and connecting Being. When we are brought into relationship with God through Jesus, we are, as Jesus said, grafted into a vine as branches are—an early network metaphor to describe the kingdom of heaven (John 15:1-17)… Prayer is a powerful way to put us in touch with the reality that we are profoundly connected, that to be alive is to be embedded in a network of connections.” (70, 82)

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