Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Book Review: Prayers & Answered Prayers

Teaching our children to pray can be a challenging task.  Prayer should be honest and open communication with God, but to some can feel silly as you talk out loud to 'no one'.  Prayer can often get habitual with the same 'Thank you for this day. Thank you for this food. Amen.' mantra.  I'm thrilled to see this new tool by Thomas Nelson Publishing to help your tween girl dive deeper into the spiritual discipline of prayer.  
First, this book is actually two small books held together in an outer cover.  The top one is focused on "prayer" and the bottom is how God often answers prayer, scripture, and promises of God to feel confident that the prayers from above are resolved or can be taken to the Throne.  The outer cover is sparkly and colorful, making it enticing for most girls.  The top and bottom books correspond, so when you do the top page you find the matching page number in the bottom book.  For example, page 15 "prayer" assignment asks "Do you ever feel upset?  Do you go to your bedroom or hide somewhere when you feel sad?  Draw a picture of where you like to go when you feel sad."  Then on the bottom "answered prayer" book the same page number says "God is always with you, and he loves you.  Look up Isaiah 41:10 and copy it here."  Some pages are fill in the blank, drawing, thinking, action oriented, or creative.  

Second, the promises are all scripturally based.  I love the weaving of God's promises to answered prayer.  Even when our prayers seem to big to answer, God is always there providing comfort and peace.  There are also a lot of scripture and exercises that deal with body image, confidence, and how we were all uniquely and lovingly created.  I think it is a great way to reach tweens at a level they are concerned with.  But, it also stretches them to subject areas that are not on the forefront such as caring for the elderly or praying for our leaders.

These books are full color and thick, high quality paper- almost like postcards.  This would make a great gift, stocking stuffer, spiritual birthday gift, or devotional for girls ages 8-12, but I could see even some younger teens enjoying this layout without it feeling 'babyish'.  My 10 year old will connect very well and I feel this will help her in her spiritual growth.  My 6.5 year old is not quite ready for this tool.  I highly recommend the Prayers and Answered Prayers set from Thomas Nelson.

*I received a free copy of this book for my unbiased review.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Book Review: Rhythms of Rest

Finding time to rest, sabbath, and building white space into a rhythm of life is something coveted by most of our society, yet many fail to achieve at actually 'finding' the time to be still.  I know I often myself as a homeschool mom of four girls finding excuse after excuse of why I can't Sabbath.  It isn't that I don't want the rest, it is just the unending piles of laundry, dishes, meals to prepare, and children to keep track of simply don't lend themselves to what one thinks of a Sabbath rest.

Shelly Miller has come alongside women to encourage them to find a rhythm of rest, creating an opportunity to Sabbath.  She gives insights and inspirations through her Sabbath Society blog but has now taken her thoughts, stories, and Scriptural references and put them into a new book called Rhythms of Rest.  I found this book to be empowering and encouraging to find the Sabbath that works for me, my family, and also honors the commandment God has given to set aside time to make it holy.

Some of my favorite portions of the book were:

  • The difference between routine and rhythm
  • Resting is not a 'waste of time'
  • Seeing the Sabbath as a date or love letter between you and God
  • What Sabbath isn't (getting out of the legalism and rules of what sabbath 'should be'
  • Finding the Sabbath rhythm in each day or week that works best for you
  • Using the Sabbath to listen to God's whispers
Miller has inspired storytelling style of writing.  While seemingly disjointed at times or often bouncing from one story to another, Miller often brings it together in a later chapter.  Miller shares many personal stories, letters from Sabbath Society members, and quotes from other authors.  At times, these continual quotes from other authors caused a disruption in the flow of the story I was enjoying from her heart, but I do see the benefit of seeing how the Sabbath is God-breathed and for man's benefit.  

If you are looking into incorporating more rest or a rhythm of sabbath in your life, Miller's book is a great resource to add to your reading list.

*In exchange for my unbiased review, I received a free copy of the book from Bethany House publishers