**This post may contain sponsor, affiliate, and/or referral links. I have been given Before Amen by Max Lucado free of charge in exchange for this review. However, the opinions in this post are my own. For more information please read my full disclosure statement here. **
It was almost three years ago exactly, early January 2012. I was the fresh new intern at one of the best production companies in DC. It began like any other day, I drove to the hour commute of bumper to bumper traffic to get to my three day a week internship. The only difference about that day was that I was still brewing over a conversation my husband and I had the night before.
It just boggled my mind as I drove down I495 into the city and finally parking in the closest parking garage, just replaying the night over in my head. How he could he not see that God was in control of our lives and he is the one who provides all of our blessings. How could he be so blind to something that is so clear to me, I wondered.
I walked out of the parking garage into the crisp January air, crossed the street and strode into my office at 8 am when only a handful of people were there. With production companies normal business hours being 10 am - 6 pm, I had a lot of quiet time to myself in the mornings, which meant I was talking to God about my confusion with my husband (in my head of course).
I gently placed my briefcase, coat and gloves on the very tiny intern corner desk and headed to the restroom continuing to pray the whole way.
As I turned to flush the toilet I said a quiet prayer out loud,
"Lord, I know you are in control,
please show him you are in control."
Flushed the toilet, washed my hands and went to work without thinking anything more about it.
** Important Side Note: In January of 2012 I was not a true living-the-word Christian. I was lukewarm. I wasn't going to church, I was living in sin by living together with my husband (boyfriend at the time). I believed in God but didn't know him well enough to have a deep relationship that caused me to transform completely. That was in June of 2013. But talking to God is just something I have always done, just talking to him throughout the day like an ever listening friend. Whether or not I actually believed he would hear me and answer them was another story.**
I have never been good at prayer in my opinion. I found myself with extreme anxiety if in a situation of the "around the circle prayer" where everyone took turns praying out loud, or silently hoping that the bible study leader wouldn't ask me to pray when seeking a volunteer and being, in a way, repulsed or annoyed by people who would go on and on in prayer (though I believe that some of that was a problem with my heart).
I always thought I was a terrible Christian because my mind just couldn't stay focused.
Even after I was born again I doubted and was ashamed of my prayer life - like talking to God throughout the day was never good enough or long enough or deep enough. As if because I didn't pray quoting scripture every two sentences or by going into some elaborate prayer or because I couldn't pray when a group of people were gathered, that my prayers weren't good enough for God to hear or answer.
But you see I'm not the only Prayer Wimp: one suffering from "Prayer Attention Deficient Disorder", or believing that my prayer life isn't good enough, long enough or deep enough.
In Max Lucado's new book Before Amen he confessed that he also considered himself a prayer wimp.
"Hello, my name is Max. I am a recovering prayer wimp. I doze off when I pray. My thoughts zig, then zag, then zig again. Distractions swarm like gnats on a summer night. If attention deficit disorder applies to prayer, I am afflicted. When I pray, I think of a thousand things I need to do. I forget the one thing I set out to do: pray.
….I am a card carrying member of the PWA: Prayer Wimps Anonymous"
-Max Lucado, Before Amen
Before Amen has been the most practical and real guide to prayer aiming to help us all grow better, deeper, stronger in our prayers. Its not just another sermon on why prayer is important and then leaves us feeling inadequate with no clue where to start. Max Lucado understands that we ALL have our doubts about prayer, and reminds us that even Jesus Christ's own disciples had no idea how to pray.
One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”
They needed help talking to God too. (Just let that sink in for a moment.)
The Son of Man's OWN DISCIPLES needed to ask for help in prayer. And do you know what Jesus did? He taught them a powerful simple prayer. This is the key that Max Lucado taps into in Before Amen. He goes step by step through the simplest prayer because God doesn't need fancy as our own Savior pointed out.
So whats this amazing prayer, from Jesus, that will rejuvenate and fuel my relationship with God?
"Father,you are good.
I need help.
They need help.
Thank you.In Jesus' name amen."-Before Amen
Yes. That's it. It is that simple. All these feelings of inadequacy in your prayer life will have no foothold after you read Before Amen because Max will open your eyes to God's true want when it comes to prayer: YOU. He wants to a deep relationship with you and you can only do that if you talk to him.
You can give me any excuse you want on why you do not pray as deep or as strong as you could: life gets busy, I forget, I can't kneel for that long. What ever your excuse is, let me leave one thing for you to ponder.
Jesus Christ, the son of Man, the son of our loving Father, our sinless savior, and perfect God-- PRAYED.
"He made the planets and shaped the stars, yet he prayed. He is the Lord of angels and Commander of heavenly hosts, yet he prayed. He is coequal with God, the exact representation of the Holy One and yet he devoted himself to prayer. He prayed in the desert, the cemetery, and garden. 'He went out and to a solitary place; and there He prayed." (Mark 1:35)"
-Max Lucado, Before Amen
Not only does this wonderful book open your eyes to God's truth but it calls you to action with its Prayer Study Guide prepared by Jenna Lucado Bishop, which I am currently working through myself.
Before Amen by Max Lucado has been awarded Family Christian Bookstores 2015 Book of the Year, with good reason. It encourages us that God doesn't want fancy or elaborate, He just wants us to pray and invite him into our lives because when we do that God will do miraculous thing
After all is said and done though, my absolute favorite thing about this book is that it reminded me that how I do pray, throughout the day in conversation with God, is enough.
So, I know you are all dying to know,
Did God answer my prayer in the bathroom stall?
Well I bet you all know of Gods amazing sense of humor.
Two weeks later in that exact same bathroom stall
I saw two pink lines on a pregnancy test.
God was in control of our lives and our blessings.
Nine months later, in October 2012, we had the most beautiful baby boy I have ever laid eyes on.
A true blessing from the Lord.
Through K and my husband God brought me back home to him, and has taught me that my prayers are heard.
If my simple one sentence prayer in the bathroom stall to God was answered, with a greater gift than I ever thought possible than your prayers anywhere, and of any type are heard.
My friends, You are Prayer Warriors and so am I because as long as we are praying to God, he is listening.
I highly recommend going and getting your own copy of Family Christians 2015 Book of the Year Before Amen by Max Lucado right away!