The first time I heard of Jennifer Kennedy Dean (or "JKD" as I call her), was when my friend, Amber, introduced our ladies' Bible study group in Fayetteville to JKD's book, Live a Praying Life. We went through the study as a group, and God opened my eyes to Himself in ways I never saw coming.
We finished the study, Greg and I moved away, and I still wanted to read more of JKD's works. But you know how sometimes multiple books by the same author all kind of sound alike after a while? They all kind of have the same stuff in the same words. Suspicious that this might be the case, I bought "Secrets Jesus Shared" and was not disappointed. I was hooked on what God was teaching me from week one.
Currently, I am finishing up JKD's book, Set Apart, which is a study of the Beatitudes, and my next study is going to be Legacy of Prayer by (you guessed it) JKD.
In this book review, I will briefly tell you about Live a Praying Life, and I plan to cover JKD's other studies in upcoming posts. Any of these books would be suitable for group studies or individual studies. Live a Praying Life is available in a workbook or in traditional book form. There is also a DVD set that group leaders might be interested in. For more information, JKD's website is http://www.prayinglife.org/.
LIVE A PRAYING LIFE
If you only read one book by JKD, it should be Live a Praying Life.
JKD opens the book with her "faith passage," in which she tells about the death of her brother, Roger, when she was a teenager. Prayers healed him of his rare form of leukemia once, but when it reoccurred a year later, it seemed that their prayers hadn't been good enough to convince God to let him live.
"'If all that prayer for his healing was going on, and Roger died anyway, what good was prayer?' It compelled me into a search for answers and understanding that has defined the call of God on my life. God produced something eternal through Roger's death. His life was a seed that fell into the ground to produce a harvest." - pg 12
Quoting from pg.19 in the book, answer this question JKD poses:
"Think about your prayer life. When you pray, what do you assume happens in heaven?"
A. God says, "What a great idea! I'll take that under advisement. Maybe- just maybe- if he can bring Me enough documentation or can make a strong enough case, I'll consider his idea."
B. God says, "The majority of requests on this matter are leaning in the other direction. I'll have to deny your request. I have to go with the majority."
C. God says, "Someone else got here first."
D. God says, "You've let Me down so many times. What makes you think I would give you anything you asked for? You don't deserve to have your prayers answered."
E. None of the above.
What is your answer to this dilemma: Does prayer change God? If so, can He be sovereign? If not, why should I pray?"
After reading this book, if your experience is anything like mine, you will never pray the same, read the Bible the same, or understand your purpose on Earth the same again. You will also find yourself trying desperately to convince people to read the book and buying copies for those closest to you!
One of the main premises of the book is that whatever is happening in the spiritual Kingdom occurs in the earthly Kingdom as soon as our prayer begins. (It's hard to sum up an entire book in one sentence, so that might not make sense. Think about when Jesus said, "Thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven.") Because of this, after I finished Live a Praying Life, I had a new desire to learn more about God's Kingdom. This lead me to read my second book by JKD, Secrets Jesus Shared. I chose this book basically because of its subtitle: Kingdom Insights Revealed Through the Parables. It will be my next book review.
Until then, I leave you with these words from the greatest of all Books:
"Show me Your ways, O Lord, teach me Your paths; guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long." ~ Psalm 25:4-5