In THE ULTIMATE CONVERSATION, well-loved pastor, teacher, speaker and author Charles Stanley does a fine job convincing readers to take their cares and burdens to the Great Problem Solver (God). Stanley has written yet another right-on-the-mark text that is both inspirational and practical. His premise is simple: Whatever your problem, whatever you’re feeling, whatever you’re afraid of, God stands ready to listen and to speak.
As in much of his previous works, Stanley attracts readers’ attention by sharing his own times of trouble and unbelief, and how God overcame every doubt he ever had. His father died when Stanley was an infant, and he admits to a lifelong struggle with longing for a real father he never had. The difficulties, he cites, include trying to wrap one’s heart and mind around trusting in the father figure of God when he never had an earthly father. Along a similar line, he realizes that many readers wish they could forget the impact their earthly fathers had on them, so why would they ever trust God as the unseen heavenly father enough to talk to Him in prayer? Stanley spends considerable time answering this question and offers various portions of scripture that describe the great love God has for people.
"[W]ell-loved pastor, teacher, speaker and author Charles Stanley does a fine job convincing readers to take their cares and burdens to the Great Problem Solver (God). Stanley has written yet another right-on-the-mark text that is both inspirational and practical."
Once folks get past their doubts, fears and objections to starting conversations in prayer with God, Stanley shows them how it’s done. With everyday language so familiar to his humble down-home style, he shares how easy it is to address God primarily because He longs for them to do so. Specifically, Stanley describes the benefits of prayer and how one can learn to pray by using different sections from the Bible and speak them back to God. He also focuses on the importance of understanding who God is so that Christ followers come to Him expecting Him to hear them, assured He will listen and answer (in his way and time), and rest in that comforting knowledge.
Other elements of effective prayer that Stanley teaches here include: how to listen to God and learning to hear the sound of His voice; understanding Christ’s example of intimacy with the father; finding out what exactly Christ taught us to ask for; developing a better knowledge of how the Holy Spirit serves as our ambassador in prayer; the wondrous lessons learned only in the silence; how to overcome battles through prayer; intercession for others’ needs; accepting the fact that waiting is a part of prayer; and finding peace and joy in His presence…forever.
Stanley’s words find their mark in readers’ hearts for two good reasons: he has a heart for God, and he isn’t afraid of sharing his own weaknesses, fears and inadequacies. So much of how he communicates with readers is how God wants His children to communicate with Him. Readers will find much value in the topic and the personal way in which Stanley presents it.
Reviewed by Michele Howe on December 12, 2012