Thursday, December 15

Pray A to Z: A Book Review

Do you ever struggle to know how to pray?

How to go deeper or make things feel fresher? How to connect with God in a more personal way that doesn't feel rote or repetitive, small or self-focused?

I know I do. I pray daily. I pray throughout the day. Many days 'pray without ceasing' feels like the lifeline that gets me through the ups and downs of the normal day-to-day stuff. But, despite my persistence and intentional efforts to talk to God on a regular basis, I can't help feeling at times that my perspective feels small and my scope skewed.  That in the midst of a season of life where I can get so focused on the needs of my kids, the mess in my house, and the rotisserie chicken that needs to be picked up for dinner, that my prayers sometimes feel trite. While God  promises to hear and respond to our smallest needs, I do believe He'd like us to think bigger...or, at least PRAY bigger.

Prayer is powerful and God has placed us in community in order to lift each another up, to carry each other's burdens, to pray diligently for one another. This book, Pray A to Z: A Practical Guide to Pray for Your Community, will help you to do all of that on a very practical level.

Devoting 5 distinctive topics to each letter of the alphabet Rhodes manages to paint a big picture of the world and its needs...130 of them specifically. The beauty of this book, at least for me, is that even though there are 130 topics listed, the scriptures she pairs with each topic, and the questions she asks, led me to think about things far beyond the topics on the page. Rhodes prompts us to see this book as a "conversation starter" with God. I believe she has succeeded in creating a book that fulfills that purpose.  I'm looking forward to using this book on a regular basis as a practical way to expand my conversations with God.

"If only an audible alarm could jolt us out of our spiritual slumber every day and call us into prayerful action for our community," Rhodes says in her introduction. "How would our communities change if we didn't just say "I'll pray for you," be we actually did pray-- deeply, intensely, and purposefully."

I'd like to know the answer to that question, wouldn't you? How would our collective communities look different if we really took the time to intentionally pray for them.

As I read through the topics this first time around I was convicted by the number of things I hadn't been praying for...Adoption, Homelessness, Job Seekers, Law Enforcement, Addictions, Refugees, just to name a few. These topics can sometimes feel overwhelming-- where does one even start when praying for "hunger", for example? This book is a solution to that challenge. It kick-starts the prayer dialogue.

I encourage you to pick up a copy.  Leave it next to your nightstand and pray through one topic a night. Read through the book and pick a handful of topics to pray about with your kids. Stick it in your car and pray for your community while your waiting in the pick-up line at school or one of your kids sports practices. There are dozens of great ways to use this book as tool in your family's prayer life.

As the book so aptly lists under the letter "O"... it is in our "ordinary" lives that we are called to pray extraordinary prayers. Let's get started!

Check out the links below to be entered to win the Pray A to Z prize pack! 

Learn more about Pray A to Z and how to pray for your community, and enter to win Amelia’s Guide to Prayer Prize Pack to get you started.
One grand prize winner will receive:
Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on December 20. The winner will be announced December 21 on Amelia’s blog.


Amelia Rhodes is an author, speaker and self-proclaimed recovering perfectionist. She has a passion for taking the everyday stories of life and connecting them with God’s truths. Having been freed from the grip of perpetual anxiety, Rhodes has a growing speaking ministry through which she encourages women to discover who they are in Christ and to deepen their relationships with one another. 
Rhodes has written for several publications including The Upper Room and four Chicken Soup for the Soul books. She is the author of Isn’t It Time for a Coffee Break?, offering a fresh perspective on women’s relationships. Her latest release, Pray A to Z: A Practical Guide to Pray for Your Community, helps readers topically organize their prayer requests and lay the burdens of the community at the feet of our Heavenly Father.
Rhodes lives in Michigan with her husband and two children.
Connect with Rhodes at, on Facebook(ameliarhodeswriter) and via Twitter (@amrhodes).

*** I received a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes. The thoughts and opinions are my own. 

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