Monday, March 16, 2015

A simple prayer to help open your heart to God's presence

            We live in a time when many people are getting farther and farther away from God.  Many consider themselves "spiritual but not religious" they fall into the new category of religious affiliation called "the nones" and there's a problem with that. They're learning about God on their own rather than in community, and when they do that they often end up misinformed.  Luckily God doesn't give up so easily and many of those who turn from God because they can't grasp His true nature, find themselves being drawn back into His loving arms.
            Finding Your Way back to God: 5 Awakenings to Your New Life, (Dave Ferguson and Jon Ferguson, Multnomah, 2015) is, in a way, a reframing of the Parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-31) and reminds us that within each of our souls, there exists a  little of the Prodigal.  And like the son in the parable who was eagerly and warmly welcomed home by his father, our Heavenly Father has that joyous reunion prepared for those of us who stray. But we have to be willing and ready to return.
         The title worries me because it sounds like a self help book, a book that will tell us how we get back to God, as if it's all up to us, instead of being an act of God. The book, like the parable doesn't necessarily go there, but still… And in all fairness, the authors do point out that God wants to be found more than we want to find Him, so if we seek with an open mind and heart, He will make himself known.  
          Having said that, I enjoyed the book. The premise is simple, when people hurt, they are more likely to turn to God than when they seem to have it all together. And when they hurt, they don't need long involved theological discussions on the nature of God - they need simple tools to help them experience His presence in their lives. That simple tool in this case is a prayer, a simple prayer with various adaptations according to the situation. It goes like this: "God, if you are real, make yourself real to me."
           The authors invite the reader to explore 5 awakenings, that is recognize some things that we are searching for, and to apply this prayer in those areas. At the end of the book, there is a 30 day "wager" or prayer challenge (prayer the 'if you're real' prayer for 6 days over each of those areas, in combination with reflection and journaling. This is the process  
            -  Awake to longing: there's got to be more
            -  Awake to regret: I wish I could start over
            -  Awake to help: I can't do this on my own
            - Awake to love: God loves me deeply after all
            - Awake to Life: now this is living.

         So if you are believe that there is a God, but don't know him yet, this book may just be the thing that you need to get started on the path to abundant life that Jesus came to offer. A life that God desires for each of you.

         Worth the read 4/5

            For more information about the book or the authors click here or here.

"I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review."

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