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Last year, I started keeping a list of prayer requests, dated and described, and then, to my great surprise — answers! Clear direction for a son, help and success in a ministry opportunity, a new and wonderful job for my husband. Reviewing the list from time to time, I’m reminded to give thanks, and I’m reinforced in my thinking that when it comes to prayer, there is always something new and fresh God wants me to know.
Women Who Move Mountains by Sue Detweiler is clear and comprehensive enough to serve as a primer on prayer for the uninitiated, but Sue has shared so many deeply insightful stories and has woven them so beautifully with Scripture that those who are further along on the journey will also find a rewarding read. Twice in the gospels, Jesus talks with His disciples about mountains moving at their command. Of course, this is not a matter of showcasing the disciples’ great faith, but rather, the power of God at work on behalf of those who believe.
I have been guilty of praying small and safe, so it was a challenge to hear Sue’s rallying cry to pray with confidence, boldness, and grace. The book is set up with odd-numbered chapters covering real and raw stories of women who witnessed mountain-moving responses to their prayers, while even-numbered chapters pose questions based on living the principles here at ground level.
Belief in the ever-present, always-available Maker of Heaven and Earth is the foundation for a vibrant prayer life. Unfortunately, fear, shame, anxiety, perfectionism, entitlement, and timidity often derail us in the mountain-moving life. Staying close to Truth is transformational, and this becomes evident in the lives of women whose childhood wounds have been healed and whose “orphan mindset” has been replaced with assurance that in God’s eyes, they are a much-loved daughter.
Sue hammers on one truth about this following life that almost cannot be overstated:
“Just because you obey God does not mean that it will be smooth sailing forever and ever.”
Our obedience opens the door to God’s help and connects us to God’s plan, but prayer requires trust at every level. Offsetting the vending-machine-God mentality, Sue reminds readers that Jesus suffered greatly in His time on this planet. The following life is not lived above emotional pain and loss. Women who feel like the walking wounded are encouraged to turn to God rather than blaming God for their wounds.
Biblical examples of women like Hannah who prayed for a child and Esther who prayed for the rescue of her people demonstrate that prayer is a powerful weapon, that it launches us into our destiny, and that — amazingly — it is as simple as a conversation in which we transparently come before God bearing “our stuff.”
Just as conversation builds relationship between people, prayer is a day-long interaction with God. And since it is not simply prayer or my puny faith, but rather GOD who moves mountains, I want to press into that relationship and know the heart of this powerful God. Indispensable to our prayer life is a right understanding of who He is, and Sue has shared rich Scriptural insights:
- Jesus is uniquely equipped to comfort and strengthen us when we face rejection. Remember what happened in Nazareth? When He challenged the hometown crowd, they were ready to drive Jesus off a cliff!
- It’s an American idea that if God calls you to a task and if He is truly in it, then success always follows. Dietrich Bonhoeffer said it well: “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” Some of our most enriching spiritual growth experiences come through failure.
- Jesus always had choice words of condemnation for the Pharisees in the crowd and set the example for us. “Becoming a woman who moves mountains means you care more about what Jesus thinks than the Pharisees in your life.”
F.U.N.K. and H.O.P.E.
Sue employs a couple of creative acronyms to stimulate readers to prayer that results in renewed thinking and powerful life-change. The next time you feel as if you are in a funk, realize that you are Floundering Under Negative Knowledge. Everything that seems dark and wrong may be very true, but staying close to God’s truth fights the slide into the pit.
Likewise, when the dark tunnel seems endless, hope says, “Hold On, Pain Ends!” God offers His hope when ours has long ago sputtered to a stop.
God-confidence gives perspective for the long haul of praying in light of God’s specific promises. There is so much that He wants to do as He trains us in righteousness, so many good works, prepared beforehand, that are waiting for us who walk with Him. Thanks be to God that we have been invited to come before Him in confidence, boldness, and grace.
This book was provided by Bethany House via Interviews and Reviews in exchange for my review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”