My rating: 5 of 5 stars
(Reviewer’s note – I am an independent writer. I am also a freelance reviewer for Howard Books, a division of Simon & Schuster. What this basically means is that I am on an email list, and the publisher notifies me of new releases. If I see a book that I like, they will send me a copy. In other words, I choose the book that I wish to read and I write a review and post it on my websites. My reviews are based solely on the merits of the book, and I receive no remuneration from the publisher or author, other than a copy of the book, in exchange for posting a review on my blogs. I also post my reviews on GoodReads. The following is my review of Marilynn Chadwick’s ‘Sometimes He Whispers… Sometimes He Roars’. Thank you – vmls)
A small confession. When I first read the email synopsis of Marilynn Chadwick’s ‘Sometimes He Whispers… Sometimes He Roars’, I almost passed on the book. I mean… I didn’t really need another book on ‘how to pray’… I thought I was doing okay there.
Guess what happened?
God whispered to me. (Ouch!)
I read the book.
“I laughed… I cried… I fell in love…” I did all of this and more as I read this truly inspirational book.
The phrase ‘life-changing’ is probably one of the most over-used phrases in the English language, right? It seems that everything from automobiles, books and movies to cleaning products are ‘life-changing’. The term has become a cliché.
‘Sometimes He Whispers – Sometimes He Roars’ is as far away from a cliché as the east is from the west. This is an incredible, amazing, and, yes… life-changing book! From the opening pages, Marilynn gets right to it. In the introduction, she gives us, in a nutshell, six steps she followed to develop a deeper, more effective prayer life –
1. Be Alert
2. Be Specific
3. Pray With Authority
4. Agree With Others In Prayer
5. Arm Yourself With Spiritual Strength
6. Answer God’s Call
These steps are described in greater detail in the six parts of her book and the chapters within – a journey in itself, for me. Marilyn developed them during her ten year journey following the event that changed America, and the world, forever – September 11, 2001. This book will change your life, forever.
Not counting the Bible, ‘Sometimes He Whispers – Sometimes He Roars’ is without a doubt the most inspiring book I have ever read. Heart-warming and poignant, Marilynn takes the reader on a journey of discovery as she relates her and her family’s life in a post-9/11 world and what prayer has brought to her life and the lives of others… how she was called to pray for the world and what prayer can bring to the world.
What is ‘prayer’? Merriam-Webster states that prayer is a noun, meaning –
“… a formula or sequence of words used in or appointed for praying …”
“… the act or practice of praying to God or an object of worship…”
“… a devout petition to God or an object of worship…”
“…supplication, thanksgiving, adoration, or confession…”
Technically, those ‘definitions’ are correct, but… you know what? And… it took me a long time to figure this out; this is what prayer is –
“… a spiritual communion with God.”
So, what… you mean, like a conversation with God? Yes, exactly!
Conversation… from the Latin conversari, meaning “to live with, keep company with”.
So then…when we pray, we are keeping company with God. How cool is that? Wow… that just gave me a little shiver!
In ‘Sometimes He Whispers – Sometimes He Roars’, Marilynn Chadwick helps us prepare for the most important conversations we will ever have, beginning with the first step – ‘be alert’. Sounds simple enough…
Does anyone remember that old Neil Diamond song, popularized by The Monkees, – ‘I’m A Believer’? There is a line from the song that, for a time, pretty much summed up my feelings about prayer…
“…seems the more I gave… the less I got…”
Seems a bit ungrateful, doesn’t it? After all, God answers all of our prayers, doesn’t he? It may not be the answer we [thought we] were looking for, and it may not come as quickly as we would like, but… He does answer.
The question then begs… are we listening?
Just as it takes more than perfect eyesight to ‘see clearly’, it takes more than perfectly functioning ears to ‘hear’ His voice. It takes an open heart… it takes faith.
We renew our mind… and our faith… by staying in the Word; reading… believing… having faith… in His word. One of the little ‘challenges’ (that’s probably not really the right word) Marilynn offers up is the ’21 days of John’.
Marilynn reminds us of His promise and shares with the reader ‘tools’ she has developed that will… to borrow a phrase… ‘take your prayer life to new levels’; levels unimagined before. Tools with which, we will “learn to hear the voice of God.”
The best way to hear the voice of God, and… no, it’s not rocket science… but sometimes we need a reminder, is to read His words. Marilynn offers the reader an incredibly effective tool – the 21 Day Experiment… “… a way to discover how God’s word can add power to your prayers – and your life.” With that as its stated purpose, there is only one Book in the entire Bible that is a perfect ‘fit’… the Book of John, with exactly 21 chapters. Read a chapter a day… bring His words into your heart and into your mind… see what a difference it makes. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Thank you, Marilynn, for this amazing tool.
“Yeah, okay… but, there is just so much to pray for…” you say? “Where do I start?” Another confession… I have said the same thing… more times than I want to admit. It’s not a perfect world… we’re not a perfect people… it can all be so over-whelming, I know. But, that’s okay because Marilyn is going to give us some tools to take the ‘whelm’ out of prayer.
Do you like lists? You’ll love this one. A simple tool Marilyn talks about is ‘The List’ – a list of daily ‘themes’ to pray over. I love how she assigns a day of the week for each theme –
Mondays: Pray For God To Prohibit Evil
Tuesdays: Pray For God’s Provision
Wednesdays: Pray For God’s Miracle-Working Power
Thursdays: Pray For God’s Problem-Solving Wisdom
Fridays: Pray For God’s Presence
Saturdays: Pray For God’s Purpose
Sundays: Praise God For His Goodness
Marilynn shows how this will help bring structure and specificity to our prayers. And, when we couple this tool with the next one…
Another wonderful tool… especially to those of us who love lists… is the Chubby Book. In Chapter Four, Marilynn introduces us to ‘The Chubby Book Method’. In previous chapters, she talks about ‘staying alert and ready for prayer throughout the day’… ‘listening and watching’. Marilyn goes on to discuss ‘being specific’… finding ‘watchwords’ in the Bible to help focus our prayers and see the answers. Marilyn brings all these pieces together in what she calls her ‘Chubby Book’. People and places to pray for… specific needs… types of prayer (the ‘theme’ list noted above)… these all go in your Chubby Book.
But, what exactly is the ‘Chubby Book”, Veronica? Is it an electronic device… an app for my iPhone… what?
Just as prayer is most effective when it is simple and specific, so is the Chubby Book. It is a set of 50 ruled 3×5 index cards, spiral bound, which costs about $5 at most grocery, variety, and office supply stores – pretty ‘low tech’, huh? It doesn’t require recharging, you don’t have to pay extra for a ‘maintenance plan’ as a hedge against product durability, and it works as well in bright sunlight as it does in a dimly lit room.
The Chubby Book is a great way to develop a prayer habit, and to make your prayer list portable… you can take it with you anywhere (almost… you will want to avoid wet environments with it).
Marilynn also talks about PODs (prayers on demand) and prayer partners – adding power and authority in your prayers. Remember Matthew 18:19-20? “Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven. For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.” – NASB.
More than just a collection of ‘prayer tools’ and a ‘guide’ on how to use them, ‘Sometimes He Whispers… Sometimes He Roars’ is an inspiring, heartwarming and moving chronicle of what prayer has done for and in Marilynn and her family’s life and those she has prayed for.
More than just a book, this is an incredible resource that I will turn to again and again. I believe this is an important book for anyone, no matter how strong your prayer life is now… or, how strong your faith is now.
Marilynn… thank you for the amazing gift you have ‘given’ me. I am already seeing changes in my prayer life as I gain new insights in the power and promise of prayer.
I would leave you, gentle reader, with one final thought…
Strength in faith strengthens your prayer… strength in prayer strengthens your faith.Veronica Marie Lewis-Shaw Chehalis, Washington 25 January 2012 © 2012 – Veronica Marie Lewis-Shaw This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creative commons.org/licenses/by-nd/3.0/ or send a letter to Creative Commons,444 Castro Street, Suite 900,Mountain View,California,94041,USA.