We have all heard the phrase, "Dance like no one is watching" but what if we changed that to "Pray like no one is listening" or better yet "Pray knowing the One is listening". This is the freedom felt after reading Max Lucado's new book, Before Amen. If you haven't figured it out, it is a book about prayer but it is much more than that as well. It is a book that encourages a lifestyle of prayer. It is more about one's heart and the need for prayer. If you read my blog then you know that I am hoping 2015 is a year full of transformation for me personally. In college I realized that God has gifted me with an intercessory calling but it has been far too long since I have really pressed into this or exercised that gift with intensity very much more than what Max calls PWA - Prayer Wimps Anonymous prayers. I am praying that 2015 will bring about a change in my prayer life as I press into the Lord and free myself from having to say the perfect words during prayers and let go into the depths of my heart.
It was eye opening for me to be reminded that the first followers of Jesus asked for prayer guidance, not a million other things. And what did Jesus give them? He gave them a prayer. As Max says, "a quotable, repeatable, portable prayer" found in Luke 11:1-4.
you are good. I need help. Heal me and forgive me. They need help. Thank you. In Jesus' name, amen"
Simple, right? And easy to remember. Max expands on each of the portable prayer elements and shows you how this prayer can become a cherished friend.
I loved the chapter on gratitude and alphabetizing your blessings. I feel as though I have been vulnerable to negativity lately and that can be poison to a person. As Max states in his book, "gratitude is a dialysis of sorts, it flushes the self-pity out of our systems". So, I am going to alphabetize my thankfulness right now.
I am thankful for...
Art, animals, and asparagus
Butterflies, belly laughs, and birthdays
Cats, cuddles, and crafts
Dish washers, dark chocolate, and David
Eyeglasses, elevators, and eggs
Fly swatters, funny jokes, and first moments
Giggles, guitars, and grapes
Hearts, health, and healing
Ice, Imaginations, and ice cream
Juggling, jars, and jewelry
Kids, kitchens, and kites
Ladybugs, lamps and letters
Mom, milk, and music
Nurses, nuts, and numbers
Oranges, onions, and origami
Parades, picnics, and personality
Quiche, quilts, and quarters
Roses, rainbows and rabbits
Sun, scissors, and sweaters
Tea, trees, and triangles
Underwear, umbrellas, and utensils
Vacations, visitors and vegetables
Water, women, and wind
X-rays, xylophones, and xtra
Yahtzee, yellow and you
Zippers, zig-zags, and zeroes
Wow, I feel better. I want to be one with a grateful heart, one that prepares the way for the Lord.
I enjoy Max Lucado's work so much - Punchinello and Hermie and Friends are some of my kids favorites. I love that Max is so simple with his writing and yet so profound. This book is not just words, it is truly about life application and I really believe that it could help inspire a prayer movement!
Also, Before Amen is not intimidating: 100 pages, plus a 60 page study guide included. It's no surprise to me that this book is Family Christian's book of the year.