I’m writing about The Power of Prayer this month, and these two books fit right into that theme.
Beth Guckenberger suggests starting with the end–Amen, So be it, Lord–to form the best prayer stance with God. She tells many colorful stories in a somewhat lyrical style to show how both starting with amen and not starting with amen produce different results.
About starting with amen, Beth writes:
If I could pray no other word ever again, I would be okay. Amen speaks affirmation and commitment. It says yes to a lifestyle where he is to be trusted and I can rest in him. When I talk to God, I start with amen, and, with it, we communicate intimacy and a sense of knowing.
She notes how Jesus often began his comments with the Hebrew word amen, which appears in the Gospels almost seventy times. He had confidence in the Father, and he modeled confidence in prayer for us.
I enjoyed Beth’s balance of Bible stories with enhancements from the original contexts, and her personal stories as a missionary and foster parent. Her illustrations are rich, complex, and profound. This book is best sipped slowly and savored one chapter at a time so you are able to appreciate the deep meanings.
Here are a few of my favorite quotes from the book:
- Each time I say amen, it’s like lifting a huge barbell with my faith muscle. It simply makes me stronger.
- He has treasures for me, hidden wealth in secret places, and I want to go there and hear him call me by name.
- Every single time we put to death our natural selves and tap into our spiritual selves, we put God on display.
- A prayer that starts with amen lets go. It pivots and feels conviction and makes course corrections. It’s an eager student and doesn’t care who gets credit.
Some of Beth’s insights have already made a significant impact on my prayer life. I am realizing that when I keep the end in mind, I have greater peace and hope. If you are looking for a contemplative book with rich stories to inspire your prayer life, Start with Amen is for you.
This book is a practical resource covering every possible angle on prayer. Bill Thrasher writes as a teacher, and I appreciate his thorough approach, humble attitude, and worshipful standpoint.
Featuring 30 brief chapters perfect for daily reflection, this book could be used as a one-month prayer life restart manual. The book is written with sound theology and strong Bible emphasis, and it is enlivened with many stories from Bill’s life, the lives of his friends, and stories of great Christians in history.
These are my top ten favorite practical takeaways from the book:
- I can give God the first hour of the day, the first day of the week, and the first few days of every year in prayer, and he will completely transform my life. (Chapter 1)
- Prayer is helplessness plus faith. (Chapter 1)
- I need to see my temptations as a prompt for prayer. (Chapter 4)
- I can learn how to pray without criticizing. (Chapter 5)
- Our society is addicted to noise, and a fruitful prayer life requires a quiet space. (Chapter 7)
- I can gain comfort by knowing Jesus better in prayer. (Chapter 10)
- Daily prayer can lead to “soul happiness.” (Chapter 11)
- Scripture meditation can enhance my prayer life. (Chapter 11)
- The Bible shows me how to pray lovingly for unsaved people. (Chapter 11)
- Every temptation toward anxiety is a call to pray. (Chapter 25)
I need to read this book again to gain all the components I need for a revolutionized prayer life. Since it’s a compact, easy read, I plan to go through it one chapter at a time for the next 30 days and record one action step per chapter.
A Journey to Victorious Praying is leading me closer to God, giving me greater peace, and helping me love other people through a renewed prayer life.
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