In a beautifully designed hardcover format, Jack Countryman has released a lovely gift book on prayer. Specifically, it’s about helping folks pray more effectively, with more heart and more purposeful intent. Unlike other journal-like prayer books, Countryman has written this text to be instructive as well as practical (and pretty).
The first pages open with a welcoming statement that God listens when we pray. Similar to Sarah Young’s style from JESUS CALLING, where she writes from the perspective of Jesus speaking directly to the reader, Countryman’s first pages have God assuring His children that He does listen. Next, the Introduction does just that: introduces the topic and principle of prayer to the reader. The author shares why prayer is the vital communication tool between God and His followers. He also reminds Christ followers that prayer “is the noblest activity of the human soul and it reveals much about an individual’s spiritual condition.”
"Unlike other journal-like prayer books, Countryman has written this text to be instructive as well as practical (and pretty).... GOD LISTENS is a book to buy and to share with everyone who longs for closer communion with God through prayer."
Countryman then describes the five principles of scriptural prayer: 1) What does God want me to learn from this passage? What truths is He teaching me? 2) What does God want me to become in light of these truths? 3) What does God want me to do in response to the lesson or the commandment found in this passage? 4) What promise does God want me to trust in? 5) What kind of prayer does this passage prompt?
The author then divides his prayers, which are composed of Scripture verses chosen with particular topics in mind and a detailed essay that unpacks the verses in prayer form. Following each prayer-essay is ample space for writing down one’s own words of prayer and/or prayer requests (and answers) or thoughts pertaining to the prayer.
Readers will be treated to beautifully written prayers under the general headings of confession, thanksgiving, praise, supplication and intercession. Also included are prayers listed according to subjects: love, joy, peace, temptation, comfort, healing and financial needs. Other general prayer topics are those to bring hope, help for the brokenhearted and protection.
Readers will find Countryman’s prayers on clinging to God’s promises in the midst of difficulty and trial especially comforting. He provides heartfelt cries from the heart on holding fast because God is an unchanging God who will deliver His people who trust, delight and commit themselves to Him. He gently guides Christians page by page to a deeper prayer commitment to God and similarly leads them to the Father so that they can lay their burdens down prayer by prayer. Readers will appreciate the beauty of this prayer book, not only for its aesthetic look and feel, but more importantly for how they will feel once they put the principles of prayer into daily practice.
GOD LISTENS is a book to buy and to share with everyone who longs for closer communion with God through prayer.
Reviewed by Michele Howe on November 20, 2013