Frank William Boreham 1871-1959

Frank William Boreham 1871-1959
A photo F W Boreham took of himself in 1911

Friday, April 27, 2007

Boreham on Looking Slowly and Praying

F W Boreham often wrote about the importance of ‘seeing’ and his call to be ‘looking through’ ordinary things in order to experience the sacred. While Boreham did not use the term ‘prayer’ to describe this action, writer Alan Ecclestone, in his primer on prayer, teaches people to start by looking further at those commonly experienced “sudden annunciations which occur day by day and are not specifically religious in content at all.” Ecclestone continues:

"Praying at this point means deliberately prolonging, extending, savoring the expression of gratitude so that it doesn’t drop away unused and unexplored. To pray is to make the most of our moments of perception. You pause on the thing that has happened, you turn it over and over like a person examining a gift, you set it in the context of the past and future, you mentally draw out its possibilities, you give the moment time to reveal what is embedded in it."[1]

F W Boreham would have endorsed Ecclestone’s view that a useful starting point was to look slowly and deeply at the ordinary everyday things, but Boreham went on to call people to look reflectively at nature, history, art and literature until they experienced an “ampler vision of life.”[2]

Japanese theologian Kosuke Koyama defined the art of theology in simple terms when he said, “Theology … requires the mind to see something more in the ordinary things.”[3] Boreham adopted this approach in conveying theology to his unchurched readers. His role as a ‘pointer’ and his teaching on the art of ‘seeing more’ was an indication of the way he encouraged and trusted his readers to share in the task of theology.

Geoff Pound

Image: “look slowly and deeply at the ordinary everyday things.” A flower upon which to feast your eyes.

[1] Alan Ecclestone, ‘On Praying’, Spirituality for today, ed. Eric James (London: SCM Press, 1968), 31.
[2] F W Boreham, Mercury, 14 August 1943.
[3] Kosuke Koyama, 50 meditations (Maryknoll, New York: Orbis Books, 1975), 16.