Michele Howe Dutch Sheets --- prolific author, international speaker, and senior pastor of Springs Harvest Fellowship in Colorado Springs, CO --- speaks his heart's desire on matters of intercession, prayer, and hope for the United States. Sheets's text is heavy on the biblical how-tos of effective prayer in matters both personal and governmental. He details in each of his 14 chapters the step-by-step mental, emotional and spiritual stances Christians must take for their petitions to make a significant difference in today's world and in light of eternity.
With a gentle wit, Sheets shares in abundance his own experiences of victories won and lost on the prayer front. He also excitedly describes those moments when spiritual breakthrough arrived and he realized the power of personal prayer as God's designed link to overcoming evil, experiencing an abundant life, and embracing a God-ordained vision for the world at large.
Sheets's writing is nothing if not contagious. His excitement on the topic of prayer (an oft-well worn one) will bring rejuvenation to even the most complacent Christian follower. In his opening chapter, Sheets defines the believer's motivation (a God-ordained one) to rule and govern. Citing Webster's Dictionary, men and women were created to direct and control; to maintain the superiority, and NOT "be lorded over by other people, evil forces, or even unfortunate circumstances." Sheets continues to explain that even though much of this "God-given propensity" lost the majority of its purity at the Fall, the innate longing to govern remains a God-ordained desire.
Sheets highlights the fact that most Christians live lives of quiet despair and defeat. Frequently, they are undercut and undermined by circumstances, complacency and fear. So what exactly does Sheets suggest? A three-point system for consistent victory --- developing a strategy to take control of one's "private" world that includes thoughts, body, and actions as the starting position; reaching toward one's "extended" world by way of governing over home, family, business and possessions; and finally, Christians must catch the vision of governing the "universal" world that includes institutions, cultures, societies and governments.
While this plan may appear simplistic, Sheets's method requires careful and wise forethought, continued exercise of faith, and an attitude of persistent fortitude. He proposes his personal tactics for achieving a life of consistent victory in all matters pertaining to prayer and the spirit realm (which in truth, overflows into every area of existence).
* Principle one: Becoming a Christian and living a life characterized by purity. These are no-brainer essentials for the man or woman who seeks to impact the world via prayer.
* Principle two: Adhering to "the principle of concentric expansion," meaning no one can claim more authority over one's own life than that person; as circles widen, authority decreases.
* Principle three: Developing a sound understanding and knowledge of God and the Bible.
* Principle four: Understanding God's heart and desiring to see that which He values most come to pass.
* Principle five: Learning to develop a listening and discerning heart that, in turn, accurately represents God's will.
* Principle six: Realizing that others' actions may in part determine a specific outcome or breakthrough.
* Principle seven: Accepting the assignment God has given and utilizing the authority needed to accomplish the task.
Avid readers of prayer books will discover realistic and pointed direction in Sheets's text. His call for prayer involvement in governmental issues has never been timelier.
Reviewed by Michele Howe on April 1, 2006