Book Review: Praying Upside Down by Kelly O'Dell Stanley

Me reading upside down...because perspective is everything

     The words we read shape us...for better or worse. The words I read in Praying Upside Down are challenging me to give grace, seek God, and look at my prayer life in a whole new way (hence the upside-down).

     It's rare these days to find a book that mingles so many pure, good, interesting things. In this, her book released May 1, Kelly O'Dell Stanley uses her background as an artist, entrepreneur, and human being to bring fresh perspective to one of the key aspects of Christianity: prayer.

     I have a few confessions.

     First, I cried. I cried in this book because when I was open to it challenging me and shaping me, I had some hurts resurface. There are several things in my life I didn't surrender to God until this whole upside-down thing happened.

     And it shook me up. It awakened me. I grieved over something the Lord had taken away from me, but at the same time, I was able to say "Blessed be the name of the Lord."

     And Kelly asks the reader to pray for the other people involved in the circumstance. That meant me praying a blessing over those who were benefitting even now from my painful misfortune. It meant me being able to sympathize with a sweet girlfriend going through the exact same thing I was.

     God is healing me, and I've been asking him to take away the scars of bitterness, and He is. He is. Slowly but surely, He is continuing to mold me into the person He wants me to be.

     Second, I am learning to forgive right now. Those of you who read my newsletter know that I had only a few scatterbrained thoughts about what God taught me in April. I can now say I am learning a lot about forgiveness.

     My father challenged me last night in a way I never expected him too, and I am finally forgiving someone for a grudge I've held since middle school. Seventh grade! Almost four years ago!

     It's not easy, but looking at prayer in a new light has healed me in those two areas.

     And Praying Upside Down was the kick I needed to make talking to God something simple and meaningful. I'd always known I could talk to God "anytime, anywhere." But the way she breaks it down (and includes lots of deep, silly, or just plain awesome stories) is a blessing.

     This book will get a 5/5 stars on Goodreads because I think you should read it too.


P.S. This post is real and honest and vulnerable. Sorry if you were not expecting to see my dirty laundry when you started it. It's just so infrequent that a nonfiction book moves me to tears or changes me like this. Please keep me in your prayers as I forgive others, in the process humbling myself.


  1. Madeline, can't tell you how moved I am by your words. Praying alongside you for complete and total healing. For God to soothe the hurting places, mend the breaches, and open your eyes to more of Him in every moment. So grateful that He used my book to touch something in you. I'm humbled and honored and amazed. And yet, He often surprises us, right? Still, I stand amazed, because I know that if that happened, it was HIM and not me. But I'm so grateful I got to be a part of it, and glad you shared these words and I got to read them. Thank you! P.S. LOVE the upside-down photo! :-)

    1. Thank you! Your words are so encouraging and inspiring.

  2. Madeline - This sounds like a great book and I will have to put it on my "to get" list soon! I wanted to thank you for sharing with your readers with such honesty, humility, and maturity. God has gifted you with many unique gifts and your ability to write, express yourself, and share how God is working in your life is an inspiration to all ages. Keep up the great job of being an encouragement to so many! Many Blessings to you!!

  3. Madeline, are you sure you're only a teenager? Because you write and sound like someone far older! You must have an old soul. I'm so impressed with how unpretentious you are and how open you are to hearing God's will for your life, not to mention the maturity in your writing. Keep going girl!. I pray that you continue to yield to the Spirit and all He has to show you. Great review!

  4. Hi Madeline! I am currently reading this Book and I love it! I am launching a new video series on my blog in which I record a google hangout with a few others to review and talk about books! I am planning one for this book sometime Mid June. Would you like to participate? You can read more about my idea here http://creativehouseblog.com/book-review-hangout-join-today/


Thank you for reading! Also, thank you for making my day brighter with your encouraging words. I cherish each and every comment. If you check back in a day or two, I should have responded to your note. Thanks for dropping me a line!