Saturday, October 9, 2010

Review: Confessions of a Prayer Slacker by Diane Moody

Confessions of a Prayer Slacker by Diane Moody
Genre: Christian Non-Fiction
Pages: 170
Date Published: 2010
Publisher: Journey Press (the nonfiction division of Sheaf House)
Source: Joan at Sheaf House provided me with a review copy. A million thanks Joan!
Rating: 5 of 5 stars

Book Description (from the back of the cover):
So, what's your excuse?
--Prayer is a waste of time. I know. I prayed for a pony when I was a kid and never got one.
--God's got His hands full. He doesn't have time for my piddlysquat prayers.
--I don't know what to say. I don't know how. It's just too awkward.
--I've got bad knees. I can't kneel. It doesn't count if you don't kneel.
Talk about your lame excuses...
Let's face it. Most of us are clueless when it comes to prayer. Why is that? And how come we've never done anything about it? In Confessions of a Prayer Slacker, author Diane Moody traces her own personal prayer journey with a touch of humor and a healthy dose of transparency. "Isn't it about time we stop this merry-go-round of prayerlessness, wuit acting like a bunch of spiritual babies, and get serious about this thing called prayer? Without it, we'll never experience the warm, one-on-one relationship God desires to have with each one of us."
 ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊

I admit that I've been in a prayer funk recently, and that lately my prayer life has been kind of sparse, limited to grace before dinner and prayers of praise to God on Sundays. I tend to get squeamish about asking Him for things or praying when things are rough because I don't want to sound like a whiner, but I do throw up brief requests for strength on a regular basis. What kind of prayer life is that?!

I haven't always been this way--I remember how enriching and encouraging it felt to spend time talking to God and reading His word on a daily basis. But life seems to have stepped in and distracted me from that all-important relationship. So, I admit it, I sound like a prayer slacker and that is one of the reasons why this book called out to me so insistently. I was really hoping that this book would give me a kick in the posterior and get me motivated to dedicate more one-on-one time to God every day. It did that and more--it gave me a lot of food for thought as well.

Now that I've finished the book, my copy is filled with little sticky tabs, marking interesting or important passages that I want to return to. Diane has provided a wonderfully motivational book that acknowledges her own weaknesses while at the same time helping other prayer slackers get closer to the point of becoming prayer warriors. Diane dispels a wide range of excuses, beautifully illustrates God's desire to spend time with you, and gives the reader a step-by-step process to be well-prepared and equipped to meet with Him every day.

I loved her visual explanation of Jesus waiting for her in the family room, each morning, with a hot, steaming cup of coffee, just waiting to have time together with her (pg. 63). That visual was really effective--I think I needed that visual to help get me motivated. Who could stand up Jesus for morning coffee?? It gave me a lot to think about. Prayer is more than just giving God a list of things to do or sending him a thank-you card. It is part of a relationship, during which you spend quality time in His presence and in His word.

I also really appreciated her "Gotta Haves" - a list of things that you should set aside for your morning prayer time. Her suggestion of keeping a prayer journal was helpful, but even more helpful was that she explained what it was. Her discussion of what worked for her in a prayer journal and why was excellent and I could finally see why a prayer journal would be a useful thing.

Throughout this book, Diane's sense of humor sparkles and draws you in to the conversation, as if you are having tea and chatting. I admit that I sometimes have a hard time getting through non-fiction because my attention wanders, but I had no problem sticking with this book. Here's an example from the introduction:
So once and for all, let's take a hard look at this matter of prayer. Don't worry. I won't be bombarding you with buckets of Latin or Greek terms (just a couple), nor will I be doing an exegesis of scripture. (Is it just me, or does "exegesis" sound like Exit, Jesus? And I'm sorry, but that's just wrong.) Instead, let's see if we can't drop-kick all the excuses and find out about the significant, intimate treasure that awaits each one of us if only we'll make time to spend with God (pgs. 6-7).
So if you feel like your prayer life is a bit stale, or you need a jump-start for some really quality prayer time with God, I highly recommend that you pick up this book! It would be an excellent choice for Bible studies too--with 16 chapters and study questions at the end of the book, participants would definitely have a lot to talk about.

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