Michael Youssef’s new book, Life Changing Prayers has been one of the best surprises of my summer!
I suppose, (like most Christians) I feel guilty at times that my prayer life isn’t more vibrant than it actually is. Perhaps that is why I tend to avoid books on the subject of prayer—as I expect the author to wag his or her long parental finger at me—should-ing or ought-ing me with all that I am presently not doing.
How refreshing to read a book that does quite the opposite!
In his book, Life Changing Prayers, Michael Youssef uses heroes and heroines from the Bible with people we can relate to; ordinary people with struggles and failures just like ours.
Then he takes those stories and uses them to gently coax us into following their winning examples of faith, prayer, and perseverance.
I loved every word of Hannah, A Prayer of Brokenness.
(I suppose because I relate so well to her story.)
In the section on sorrow Dr. Youssef says, “You may understand from your own experience how Hannah feels… It may seem that your trial is unending and your prayers are unanswered, even as your sorrows mount to the sky. Remember, you have a provider who is limitless, a protector who is all-powerful, a promise that is unchanging, and possessions that are unfading. Hannah’s sorrow is deep as she prays this prayer of brokenness, but her sorrow will not last forever. God is about to bring joy into her life.”
And who can’t relate to the story of Jonah?
Please! Haven’t we all “done a runner” with God at some time in our lives? But listen to the encouragement this book offers to every discouraged prodigal.
“Was there ever a more reluctant and disobedient prophet in the Bible than Jonah? You may identify with Jonah. You may think, Jonah and I have a lot in common. I’ve made such a mess of God’s will for my life. When God tells me go, I stop; when He tells me stop, I go like sixty…”
But Dr. Youssef reminds us that Jonah prayed God’s words back to Him from the belly of that whale—and we can, too.
“That is what Jonah did. Out of his watery grave, he prayed the Scriptures back to God. Whenever you are in the belly of the beast, and you don’t know how you should pray, pray the Scriptures. Pray His promises: “Lord, You promised that I can cast all my cares on You, for You care for me. You promised that You would carry my grief and sorrows. You promised to give me the garment of praise in place of my garment of sorrow. You promised that You would never leave me nor forsake me. You told me not to fear, because You are with me. You promised to strengthen me and help me, to uphold me with Your right hand. You promised never to give me a spirit of fear but a Spirit of power and love and self-control.”
There is so much more…
Stories and encouragement from David, Eliezer, Daniel, Habakkuk, and Mary. I wish space permitted to list them all. If your prayer life needs a boost then I highly recommend this hopeful book. It has a down-to-earth comfortable style, that uplifts and encourages, as well as instructing.
I rated this book five stars on Goodreads and I will be recommending it to all my friends.
Life Changing Prayers is available now for preorder and will soon be available at all your major fine book retailers.
I want to thank Baker Books for sending me this complimentary copy in exchange for my review. I thoroughly enjoyed this book! I believe it is an ideal choice for home group, as well as church Bible studies. I am definitely giving my copy to the leader of our church’s Ladies Bible Study & Prayer Group as a suggestion for their Fall reading selection!
I thought I would close this post with one of my favorite quotes from the book:
“When we pray, we take a step away from this planet, with all of its distractions and sorrows and sufferings, and we set foot in the heavenly realm. We approach the throne of grace, and we commune directly, heart to heart, with God the Father. And when we bring the needs of our friends and loved ones and even strangers before His throne and lay them out for Him to see and to touch, we bring these souls close to the loving heart of God.”
And all God’s people said, “Amen!”