Prayer Prescribed begins by describing disconnect syndrome: people disconnected from themselves, others, their surroundings and even God. Author Anne Borik then provides a system she calls Sign Chi Do to connect body, mind, and soul with breathing, moving and music. The uniqueness of this program lies in the fact that it’s grounded in prayer and offers specific hand gestures for the words to be focused on in each prayer, such as “grateful,” “gifted,” or “grounded.”
Borik, a practicing physician, delivers a convincing argument that the practice will yield medical benefits, including relieving stress and increasing flexibility, strength and endurance. (Those claims are underscored by the many testimonials included at book’s end.) She also gives beautiful explanations of the meaning of the prayers used, such as The Peace Prayer of St Francis of Assisi.
The downsides to the book could easily be corrected: the instruction for the hand gestures and movement is copy heavy, especially with the longer prayers, and would greatly benefit from visual illustrations. There are no recommendations for duration and frequency of the exercises to alleviate the symptoms of insomnia, depression, and other chronic illnesses mentioned. Also, while the author notes that every Sign Chi Do prayer pattern will be accompanied by its own music, implying there is a companion CD, she doesn’t explain how to order the CD. (DVDs are also mentioned without direct ordering information.)
The premise for Prayer Prescribed is solid, linking movement, breath and prayer. It’s a shame that it appears aimed exclusively to Christians (as the author often quotes Scripture and states many times that the reason for this practice is to experience His Presence in a more meaningful way that will lead to health and wellness.) Since the title does not reflect this, it could be misleading to non-Christian readers looking for a movement system of their own.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.