Saturday, July 15, 2017

The Weekly Prayer Project by Scarlet Hiltibidal

The aim of the author is to provide readers a way to intentionally be quiet and hear God better. There are 52 devotions divided into seven sections representing the different types of prayer found in the Bible. Each devotion has a Scripture, a short devotion, and two journal prompts with plenty of space given for thoughtful writing. Some of the responses are involved and may take a few days to complete, such as finding three truths about God's character and relating them to burdens. (53)

There is much I like about this book. I like that space is given right after the devotion for journal entries. No extra notebook is needed. I like that Hiltibidal included lament as one of the sections. That is a valuable spiritual discipline we often ignore.

There are also a few things I don't like about the book. It is somewhat shallow. For example, when writing about God's mercy, she says, “When you are sick and suffering, He is sad. He cares. He heals.” (24) There is nothing about the purposes of God, such as His discipline or the lessons that may be learned in such a situation.

She uses at least one verse out of its context. John 16:20, about sorrow turning to joy, records what Jesus specifically said to His disciples about His death and resurrection. Can we really take that verse and make it a universal truth for Christians? Perhaps another verse would have been a better choice.

The book also contains some sloppy theology. When writing about the feelings as a follower of God after sinning, she concludes, “...your feelings should compel you to repent, to turn from the wrong you've done. This change ultimately leads to salvation.” (112) This might give a reader the wrong impression, that changed behavior must come before salvation.

I also had an issue with some language or sentence structure. She writes, “Try to identify an area of your life where God isn't as present as He should be.” (89) God is present. Period. There is no “should” about it. Perhaps she could have asked readers to identify areas in life where God's presence is not sensed or felt. That puts the responsibility to experience God's presence on us, where it belongs.

I like the style of the book, a Scripture, a devotion and journal prompts. Unfortunately, it suffers from issues that could have been corrected by careful editing.

My rating: 3/5 stars.

Scarlet Hiltibidal is a curriculum writer and blogger. She has a degree in biblical counseling and worked in a Christian elementary school before she started writing. She is mother to three girls, one recently adopted. She lives in the Nashville area. You can follow her blog at https://scarlethiltibidal.com/.

Zondervan, 144 pages.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.
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