PRAYER POWER: 30 Days to a Stronger Connection with God
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Reading Group Guide
Peter Lundell opens PRAYER POWER with a chapter on our hunger for God, not a bad place to begin. Lundell writes, "I have come to believe that the best thing we can have in life is not family, not love, not even receiving Jesus. The best thing in life is a hunger for God, because we will always get more of him." And while some may disagree with that statement, starting a book on prayer with a discussion of our hunger for God highlights the fact that although desperation may seem to be the only thing that prompts some people to pray, it's their longing for God that turns them in his direction to begin with.
This 30-day devotional follows a topical structure, which is helpful in focusing the reader's attention on specific purposes for and problems with prayer. A chapter on "Holy Passion," for example, doesn't just discuss the fire that seems to keep some faithful pray-ers at it with an enviable zeal, it also addresses the problems of a complacent attitude toward prayer and distractions that keep us from it. And the chapter offers at least one cure --- in this case, simplifying our lives to keep distractions to a minimum. (If you don't get the message the first time, no problem; the subject of distractions comes up several more times throughout the book.)
Lundell covers such topics as specific techniques (praying the scriptures, fasting while praying, being specific in making requests of God, praying aloud), logistics (using prayer lists, finding a time and place to pray, establishing routines, breaking routines) and corporate prayer (praying in a group, praying with others online, following through by serving those we pray with and for). Each chapter closes with a "prayer starter" that is related to the topic and is designed to help readers kick-start their own time of prayer.
One distinctive feature of the book is an appendix titled "Growth Gauges and Suggested Activities," with 30 sections that correspond to the individual chapters. The idea is to measure your current strengths with regard to prayer and use the suggested activities to grow in those areas where you may be weak. An example is the section on confession, which corresponds to Day 6, "Cleaning House." On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 meaning "never/almost never" and 10 meaning "always/almost always," readers assess their responses to two statements: "I regularly confess my sins." and "I regularly forgive." Suggested activities for this chapter include naming a sin in your life and repenting of it, and identifying someone you need to forgive and following through on it.
Lundell, pastor of Walnut Blessing Church in Walnut, California, and a former missionary to Japan, provides lots of anecdotes and biblical examples to shore up his points. The personal stories are particularly helpful in keeping the content fresh; otherwise, readers with a solid grounding in prayer and a dozen books on the subject in their bookcase may feel PRAYER POWER covers fairly familiar terrain.
Recommended as a starter on prayer or a refresher for those struggling with prayer.
--- Reviewed by Marcia Ford (email@example.com)
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