Some people are so eloquent with their prayers! They pray, and not only are you deeply touched, but immediately feel inadequate, like your prayers sound more like a child’s clumsy grocery list packed full of things like llamas, play-do, and a tree that grows money and candy.
Through the years I have become more confidant with my prayers and now am very comfortable praying out loud. I take it for granted that others are at different mile markers on the path of talking to God.
Recently, I was leading a bible-study and when I asked if there were volunteers to pray for certain prayers requests. People raised their hands, I assigned them topics and then began to pray, expecting them to follow my opening prayer with their assigned topics….like you do. Each person prayed, and then I closed the prayer time, and we were done. The next week as we were coming to a close, one of the women boldly said, “you’re not going to make us pray again are you?!” I was shocked. WHAT? Suddenly, because of the one women’s boldness, many of them were laughing and telling me that it was excruciating for them! They confessed that when I asked who wanted to pray for the requests they thought that I meant they would take those requests home and pray, privately, throughout the week. I had no idea that for many of them that was the first time they prayed out loud! I was embarrassed, convicted, and very aware of my ignorance to other’s journeys!
The beauty of prayer is that it’s deeply personal. The truth is that the Lord is always happy when his children talk to him. He is not concerned about eloquent words or structure. The Lord just wants to be in intimate communication with us. Yes, there are wonderful structures and suggested guidelines, but we can take the mystery and intimidation out of prayer and simply just talk to God.
When I saw the opportunity to review Jeannie Blackmer’s book, Talking to Jesus, I jumped at the chance. I love books on prayer and I am always looking for books to recommend to those who want to grow in their intimacy and confidence in communicating with the Lord.
Immediately I was impressed with this book. It is so simple! The author strips the mystery off of prayer and offers a fresh perspective that guides the reader through, not only communicating with the Lord, but also connecting with Scripture in a fresh and exciting way. Stating that prayer is simply talking to Jesus, she highlights the encounters throughout the book of Mathew where all manner of people actually talk to Jesus. Duh! Why is it the most simple concepts are so mind-blowing!?
Broken down into 21 small chapters (seriously, they average about five pages each!), Jeannie brings people’s encounters with Jesus to life in a captivating way! From the popular stories of the bleeding woman and Peter walking on water, to the lesser known and brief moment of connection between Jesus and a rash scribe who wants to jump on the Jesus train, each narrative takes the black and white stories and paints a rainbow of emotional and real color. The depth of her storytelling helps the reader connect in a visceral way to the “characters” in Scripture that we think we know.
She creatively connects us to the reality of the moment and then takes it even deeper through her own personal reflection and experience with the subject manner. I really appreciated her reflections. Bible stories often get glossed over because we think we know what they are about, or we don’t think they apply to us. Jeannie honestly reveals her own experiences or those whom she’s encountered, and suddenly a story that I hadn’t identified with lands much closer to home.
At the end of each chapter, Blackmer walks the reader through some personal reflection and guided prayer. It is so valuable for the reader to have some handles to hold onto as they step out in faith to talk with Jesus. The structure is so simple that anyone can do it! It isn’t intimidating, nor is it too deep that it feels scary. There is opportunity for growth and discovery no matter where the reader is along the path of prayer.
This book is great for anyone who wants to grow in their prayer life, but also I can see how valuable is would be as a small group study, or as a supplement to a Bible reading plan through the book of Mathew. Easy to read and powerful to digest, this book lends itself to be read in 21 days. I would even recommend partnering this book with a fast.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to connect with Scripture in a fresh way and who wants to grow in Talking to Jesus.
Joyfully talking to Jesus,