Housewife Theologian

The Gospel Interrupting the Ordinary

Book Review:

Written By: Aimee Byrd - Feb• 08•12

Prayers of the Bible, Susan Hunt (P&R, 2011)

Prayers of the Bible, Leader’s Guide, Susan Hunt (P&R, 2011)

Do you feel near to God when you pray, or are you just shooting down the list? How do you pray for the strength to forgive when you are deeply hurt and offended? Are you a life-giver or a life-taker? If we know that God is sovereign and has foreordained whatever comes to pass, what’s the point of praying anyway? Sometimes our prayers can seem so powerful, and other times we need some help to get out of a prayer-rut. That’s why I love reading books on prayer. Susan Hunt does this by studying various prayers in Scripture.

First I should make note that this book is meant to be used in a women’s Bible study group. If the women in your church are looking for a study, this is a winner. Hunt is a solid, biblical teacher. If you are timid about leading a study—maybe you are unsure how to go about putting together a lesson—Hunt does all the preparatory work for you. The Leader’s Guide is all you need to be well equipped.

There is a great introduction in the Leader’s Guide called, “Preparing to Teach.” In it you will find helpful ideas to lead any small group, along with specific details on how to make this particular one a success. That begins with prayer. Hunt will help you along in praying for the group, as well as suggestions for prayer times during group. Included are some ideas given for activities to get to know one another better and build community within the group. While I like the purpose, I always feel like these “get to know you” activities are forced and a little juvenile. However, I love her ideas on getting the group involved in service to the church, and sharing prayer stories. The Guide is divided into the same chapters as the book. Each chapter gives you the lesson plan. Just as with the book, the lesson is peppered with wonderful quotes and helpful questions to enhance the discussion. It also includes a handout to photocopy for each lesson. Like I said, all the work is done for you—a great resource for a first-time Bible study teacher.

This is one of those books that gets better as you read it. The chapters focus on different themes in prayer that are gathered from particular prayers in Scripture. Chapters 2-4 all glean from Christ’s glorious prayer recorded in John 17 (Glorify, Sanctify, Unify). Each chapter offers Scripture to read, theological exposition, along with practical application. For example, after reading Psalm 51:13-17 she teaches:

When we truly repent, we are prone to become stuck in sorrow over our sin and to wallow in guilt. Faith moves on. When God’s mercy touches our misery it becomes a ministry. Sin is never private, it always hurts others. Our restoration can bless others (77-78).

The chapters also end with a “Reflect and Pray” section that usually includes Scripture, questions, and guidance for prayer regarding that study’s theme. In reading each chapter before the corresponding meeting, there is much to meditate on. This sets the group up for profitable discussion. For me, two important elements in a women’s study are rich theology and personal depth. Hunt goes two for two in Prayers of the Bible.

I will end this review with the theme of her study and the verse that introduces every chapter:

The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth (Psalm 145:18).

Amen to that.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

6 Comments

  1. Ann Beaulieu says:

    Hi Amiee,

    Thanks so much for the book review! Just so happened that I had bought that book in November 2011 and as of yet had not had the time to do the study.
    But you have just given me the taste of opening the book up!! I love Susan Hunt as a author which is why I bought the book in the first place. But being so busy I had forgotten I even had it.

    I think my husband is right after all! I do have to many books ;)

    Blessing
    Ann

    • Aimee Byrd says:

      Of course you don’t have too many books, Ann. If you can’t get to them yet, be a library for someone else. It is a good thing to be able to trust an author and just buy their book to get to later though, isn’t it? I think this study will be a great way to get women to share their testimonies with one another–the chapters are set up well for that.

  2. Tim says:

    “Do you feel near to God when you pray, or are you just shooting down the list?” My answer is yes, Aimee. I’m just glad that no matter how I feel about – and in – my own prayers, I can rest in knowing that the Holy Spirit is praying for me and with me. I can’t get closer to God in prayer than that.

    If I can digress from the prayer theme for a sec, when you said “I always feel like these ‘get to know you’ activities are forced and a little juvenile”, it reminded me of a marraige retreat we just went on. The speaker was good and we enjoyed spending time with friends and getting to know some other people better, but the “get to know you” activities themselves were just tiresome. Why does each session have to start with something like go-around-your-tables-and-describe-the-first-time-you-kissed? Eew, no thanks! For one thing, that’s really personal (and I actually decided not to participate). For another, frankly I’d rather not think that much about how other couples at church started locking lips and swapping spit. See what I mean? Eeeewwwwww!

    Sorry to gross anyone out,
    Tim

    P.S. I did another guest piece. Keri Wyatt Kent asked me write on the Bride of Christ for her blog: http://keriwyattkent.com/soul/?p=1073. I hope you (along with our other friends here at HWT!) get a chance to read it.

    • Aimee says:

      Tim, you crack me up. But I feel the same way. My poor husband is always subjected to “team building activities” as a teacher,. He doesn’t understand why the people who design these think that just because he teaches 4th grade, it must mean he wants to be treated like one. Much of our 300 level courses in college for an education major were like this as well. I guess enough people like them.

      • Tim says:

        What a coincidence, because I crack myself up too! Happens all the time. I’m my own best audience, I’ve found.

        And about those training sessions: I worked at camp a lot, both resident and day camp settings, so I get the need for these activities in the right settings. But seriously, there’s a time and place for everything. I’m such an introvert that I’ve decided the right time and place for me to participate in them is never and nowhere.

        Bah humbug and all that.

        ;-)
        Tim

  3. Brooke says:

    Well, both of you are cracking me up. I enjoyed reading the comments!And the book looks great too, need something to take on my trip seester.

What do you think?