Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Power of a Praying Parent

I have just finished my second or third reading of The Power of a Praying Parent by Stormie Omartian.  I bet quite a few of you have read it before or else read one of Stormie's other books. She's quite a prolific author.

I am torn about the best way to review this book. On the one hand, it is a book about prayer. If you are looking to learn more about prayer and how to pray, this isn't the book I would offer you. Instead, I would suggest Prayer by Richard Foster or many other books. Stormie's book only covers one very specific type of intercessory prayer.

On the other hand, I have returned to this book multiple times so there is something powerful here.

I don't always agree with the points Stormie makes. Sometimes I find her explanations and examples a little too simple, and I worry they could lead a reader to believe anything that goes wrong in a child's life is your fault for not praying enough. She makes depression sound like something to be prayed away, and in some cases it is, but there are physical/chemical causes for the issue as well. If your child is diagnoses with some form of depression, I don't think it's because you didn't pray hard enough.

I don't think Stormie intends for her words to give that impression, however, and I am pretty good at taking a person on the heart behind their words. Stormie's heart is a good one.

I return to this book again and again because sometimes praying for my kids is overwhelming. There are so many things I need to cover in prayer. I start to feel like I can't possibly pray for the right things, like I am missing one key prayer that would make their lives better. As though prayer is a puzzle game, and I have to line up all the right purple diamonds before the timer sounds and my kids are ruined.

Sounds silly doesn't it?

Stormie's books on prayer are good because of that very simplicity that can also bug me. The simple is good when it helps me stop that mental clock I'm racing against and lay out the things I want to pray over in an organized fashion. I keep the prayers from the book in a binder, along with lists for each section. The lists include specifics for each child I am praying over. I don't always have to read her prayers word for word, but when I am feeling overwhelmed, they offer me a key to unlock the door. They guide me to the verses that speak to my concerns. They remind me again and again that I am praying to a God who loves me and loves my children and wants to do what's best for all of us.

I also appreciate how Stormie directs the reader to pray for himself or herself first. If I want my child to be free of anger and bitterness, I need to start by ridding my own should of anger and bitterness. It's like being on an airplane when the gas masks drop. Put your mask on first. Then help the person beside you. You can't help anyone if you pass out from lack of oxygen.

I feel more stable as a mother since this latest reread of Power of a Prayer Parent. I'm thinking about my kids and my parenting choice with a clearer head. And that is always always always a good thing.

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