Before Amen by Max Lucado {A Review}

The Power of a Simple Prayer. 

Max Lucado admits he is a prayer wimp. Or as he actually states in the opening pages of his book, Before Amen, he is a recovering prayer wimp. With that line I was hooked. 

I struggle with prayer. Okay, I struggle with prayer when life is good. When things are going along smoothly, or as smoothly as they can in my life, I tend to forget to pray. I don’t take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. 

Shoot I barely remember to thank Him for each meal. Instead I choose to snarf it all down. Then I berate myself for not returning thanks for His blessing, His provision. 

Even sometimes when life is hard and it hurts I find it difficult to pray. Because sometimes I blame God for the difficulty. Okay, more than sometimes. I know mentally that I reside in a fallen world, and I daily battle my own sin nature (even though at times I do indeed forget that), I still often think God could just fix it all and I’d never be hurt again and life would be smooth. 

I often forget God. Period. In good times and hard times. He is often the last person on my mind. 

Yeah, and I have the audacity to call myself a Christian, a believer, a disciple-follower of Jesus. 

In Mr. FullCup’s job he has a time of prayer on the radio. Live. He prays fervently, passionately. People often come to me and express their gratitude for his prayers. They complain when they miss hearing his prayer for a day. 

I’ll admit, I get a little jealous. I don’t pray like that. I have never prayed like that. When someone asks me to pray in a group my mind goes completely blank. I can think of nothing intelligent…or stupid to say at all. In fact, it’s not just when I’m asked to pray in a group. Often when I attempt to pray on my own the same thing happens. 

Max knows people like that too. And while he doesn’t specifically say he’s jealous, I’m confident that he has felt those pangs of envy on more than one occasion. 

What is to be done with this? Why are some people “blessed” with a strong, vibrant prayer life and other people struggle just to string coherent words together when life is good? 

We aren’t alone in our struggles and questions. In fact, we’re in very good company. You see the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray. They didn’t ask Him to teach them to evangelize, to break bread and feed 5000 men, or how to raise someone from the dead, how to heal the sick, or how to make the lame walk. No, they asked Him to teach them to pray. 

Max condenses the Lord’s Prayer to six simple lines. Lines we can all easily remember and pray in a moment. These simple lines…easy to remember….are a springboard for our minds to add our own petitions. 

Father, You are good. I need help. Heal me and forgive me. They need help. Thank you. In Jesus name Amen. 

Since reading the book and following the prayer I find my brain can’t stop at “You are good”. My mind naturally adds more praise. He is good. He is the ONLY One who is Good. He is good no matter what the outcome is. 

I add what I need help with, what my problem is at the moment. I’m specific when I ask for healing and forgiveness. I specifically ask for specific people to have help with their specific need at the moment. If I don’t know, simply saying “they need help” is enough. God knows. 

If you struggle with your prayer life, if you wish you could pray better, longer, stronger, with more fire, faith and fervency, this book is for you.  The books is small enough read quickly, I read it in an afternoon. But powerful enough you’ll want to read it with pen in hand. You’ll want to pause often to pray. You’ll want to read it over and over. 

There is a study guide in the back of the book. So grab some friends and learn together. There is also a dvd with 4 sessions, perfect for studying with your Sunday School class, Bible study, small group or your church as a whole. 

I LOVED this book. The only think I was not in love with is something I don’t like about many Christian non-fiction books. The lack of capitalizing personal pronouns referring to God. 

I received a free copy of this book from Litfuse for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own. 

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