Pray the Scriptures

Pray the Scriptures is listed as “40 day prayer experience” in which you study passages of scripture (by theme) and practice praying those scriptures.  It includes a daily reading as well as some pointed questions for the reader to meditate on and respond to every day.  At first I was a little nervous about the whole process, but I quickly came to look forward to my daily reading of the book.

One thing I particularly appreciated is that completing the book in order wasn’t necessary – since it is part-workbook and part-devotional, I was allowed to jump around and focus on the theme/topic that to me on that particular day was “where I was at,” so to speak.  Each chapter contains a scripture reference that you will read (typically a longer paragraph or even several paragraphs rather than a short 1-2 verse excerpt), followed by some questions to get your mind thinking and your heart meditating, and each question is actually a prayer “prompt” to get you started.  I found it a great exercise to do, and it brought a freshness to my prayers that had been missing for quite some time as well as taught me a method of praying I had not practiced much leading up to reading this book – but one I have continued after finishing it.

If you’re looking for a book to help renew your passion for prayer and your relationship with the Father, or even if you just want something to give you a new method for praying, I would strongly recommend this book.  Overall, I’ll give it 4/5 stars.

211030_w185For the record, I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest (though not necessarily favorable) review.


Book Review: It’s Not About Me by Max Lucado

Perhaps it’s appropriate that I review a book entitled It’s Not About Me on Labor Day weekend – a weekend that seems to celebrate the importance and power of the individual.  According to the Department of Labor’s website, Labor Day is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers.  The focus of this book could not be further from a celebration of individual workers!

I reviewed another Max Lucado book earlier this year and did not give it a favorable review, largely in part because of the writing style and content.  But It’s Not About Me is a much better read and seems to feel much more like what I’ve come to love about Lucado’s writing.  The thesis of the book is very simple (and it’s found in the title): life is not about us but about Christ.  He begins this book by reminding us that we are reflectors for Jesus and then spends the next 12 chapters exploring the different ways we are called to reflect Christ to others.

Perhaps the most convicting part of It’s Not About Me for me was the chapter on success.  Not necessarily because I’m such a “successful man”, but more because of the analogy he draws to advertising agencies.  These agencies, Lucado reminds us, exist for one purpose only: to make someone (or something else) known.  Few people have heard of Foote, Cone, and Belding, but you’d be hard pressed to find someone who couldn’t identify the slogan “When you care enough to send the very best.”  The advertising company’s success became intertwined with Hallmark’s, but the focus of the company was not on itself – rather, it was on Hallmark.  And we play the same role in relation to existing for Christ – Lucado goes so far as to call us “Heaven’s advertising agency.”

Read these words, taken from Chapter 13 of the book:

  • “From where does success come?  God.”
  • “And why does he give success?  For his reputation.”
  • “God lets you excel so you can make him known.”
  • “Why did God help you succeed?  So you can make him known.” (must be a pretty important concept since he repeats it almost verbatim!)
  • “Why are you good at what you do?  For God’s sake.”

That idea stands in stark contrast to the focus of Labor Day – a day celebrating the success of “us”.

Included with the book is a small-group discussion/study guide, something I’m appreciating finding in books more and more – and because of that I’m going to give this book an extra ½ star, for a final rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars.

I received this book free from the publisher through the book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

Book Review: Deeper into the Word – New Testament by Keri Wyatt Kent

Deeper into the Word – New Testament is subtitled “Reflections on 100 words from the New Testament”, and it is exactly that – reflections.  I have been reading through the book as a devotional – looking at specific words in an effort to better understand the original meanings behind what is written in scripture.  This is not a “Bible Study” book in terms of replacing a good Bible dictionary or or concordance, though it does give some great insights into certain words in the NT, and its use as a devotional tool is wonderful.

While the endorsements on the back of the book claim this book belongs in the reference section of serious Bible students, I believe you’ll better and more thorough sources out there if you’re interested in doing in-depth word studies.  Deeper into the Word will serve as a nice spring-board for your study, and it might help you find some words of interest, but for the person seeking an in-depth reference tool this definitely does not suffice.  Overall I’ll give it 3 out of 5 stars.

I received this book free from the publisher through the Bethany House Publishers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255