Book Review

Weekend Book Review

before amen

Before Amen: The Power of a Simple Prayer

By: Max Lucado

Rating:  4.5 Out of 5 Stars

Father, you are good.

I need your help. Heal me and forgive me.

They need help.

Thank you.

In Jesus’ name, amen.

In his latest book, New York Times best-selling author, Max Lucado unpacks Jesus’s lesson on prayer from the beginning of Luke 11. It is the only tutorial the disciples ever requested. And who better to ask than God-in-the-flesh Himself? Throughout the gospels, we see Jesus in prayer—alone, in a crowd, over food, for healing, at morning, at night and for hours on end.

If Jesus prayed so easily, why do we seem to struggle so much? Max declares himself part of a special group called Prayer Wimps Anonymous—although he aspires to be a prayer giant. Don’t we all? Despite our battles over the right words to say, the right times to pray, the right things to ask for and the focus to keep us from distraction (and sleep), we are like the disciples, desiring that the Lord would teach us how to pray.

Taking each portion of the simple pocket prayer, Max uses scripture, stories and applications to form well-written chapters to lay out a pattern for a better prayer life. For example, we are to come to God as our father, our heavenly daddy. I would have liked to see this one developed a little more—in particular for those who struggle with a bad or non-existent relationship with their earthly fathers.

The book itself is only nine short chapters covering one hundred pages. However, there is a second half consisting of valuable resources, which include a study guide put together by Max’s daughter and fellow author, Jenna. There is also a link to his website where you can discover your own personal prayer strength and other fun freebies. The book lists out each prayer strength and how to further develop it. What I love most about the extras is the study guide—it makes for a great resource for small group Bible studies (book and guide in one)!

Although I am a huge fan of books on digital copy, I would recommend this particular book in hardback—a beautiful cover and plenty room to jot down your own personal notes, applications and questions in the margins or at the end of each chapter.

The only word of caution I have is to those who prefer a certain version of scripture. Max uses various translations throughout, and although I don’t mind quoting from it, I am bothered by the fact that he referenced The Message and The Living Bible without acknowledging that they are paraphrases (not translations). I would encourage you to read this book as a companion to your own Bible—or with the book in one hand and your smart phone Bible app open in the other hand!

All in all, I loved this book! I loved it so much that after buying it with the intention of reading and passing it on, I have decided to keep this copy for myself and use it for a study help! 😉 I am also looking forward to sharing with our ladies’ group in the future!

If you have read this book, or others from Max Lucado, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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