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"I love to take the words of Jesus and let Him speak them to me now. To hear them from His heart to mine. To let them breathe. To let them sit in my heart until their full aroma has time to emerge."

This is the passion of popular author and speaker Jennifer Kennedy Dean. She is the executive director of the Praying Life Foundation. Best known as a gifted biblical expositor, she speaks regularly at national and international conferences and events and has taught for years at the Billy Graham Training Center at the Cove. She has written and produced numerous books and multimedia Bible studies, including Secrets Jesus Shared, Heart's Cry, Live a Praying Life, Fueled by Faith, The Life-Changing Power in the Name of Jesus, and The Life-Changing Power in the Blood of Christ.

Her books have been quoted by such notable authors as Beth Moore, Cynthia Heald, Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Bobbye Byerly, and Vicki Caruana, among others. In addition, she has contributed numerous magazine articles for publications such as Decision, SpiritLed Woman, and Pray!

Jennifer and her late husband, Wayne Dean, have three sons, who are now grown. Jennifer operates from Blue Springs, Missouri. Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I am so fortunate to have grown up as one of four children in a family where our parents lived out a genuine relationship with Jesus. They were not just rule-following church-goers, but instead were involved in a dynamic and exciting walk. My mother has always been a very transparent and open person, so we always had front row seats to her God-adventures. She developed a particular passion for prayer as her spiritual hunger led her to begin meeting with several of her friends of other denominations, which didn’t happen very often back in the 1950’s, just to pray and to learn about prayer. Then she started a prayer group in our home, again with women of every denomination, and it grew to include 30 or so women every week. She was kind of a maverick in that way, but so respected in the community at every level, that she could get away with it.

My dad was, and is, a man of such solid integrity and so honorable that through his career as an attorney, a state legislator, a circuit court judge and a judge on the Missouri Court of Appeals, even his opponents could only say good things about his character. He was also a compassionate person. In our large home, we often had children or teenagers living with us who, for one reason or another, needed a home. Usually, some situation Daddy encountered in his law practice is what brought them to his attention and Mom, whose workload it increased tremendously, couldn’t wait to take them in. Daddy loved the Bible. He taught us to memorize Scripture as he put us to bed at night That kind of sums him up. Quietly, steadily, honestly living his faith without grandstanding.

I lost my husband of 26 years to brain cancer in December 2005.  We have three grown sons. How did you become interested in writing?

Books were always a prominent part of our family life and conversations. We were always challenged and encouraged to explore ideas and to think independently. We had the platform at our family dinner table to learn how to communicate our ideas persuasively, building the case for them and fitting them into language that translated them accurately. Words and ideas and communicating are in our DNA.

I began speaking as a college student, and opportunities grew from there. At some point I was invited to write my first magazine article, and later I was asked to write my first book. Through all these years, I have just lived each day as it comes, and find myself, almost by accident, doing those things I have always loved to do. What compelled you to write a book on the subject of prayer?

Prayer was always a subject that drew me. Prayer was a prominent theme in my childhood. I just found that prayer was what intrigued me and captured my imagination. I always want to know what makes spiritual principles work. I think if I know the "why" and the "what", then the "how" will follow. I know we can never fully understand infinite truth with our finite minds. But I think we can understand more than we do if we " out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if [we] look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then [we] will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding" (Prov. 2:3-6).
I wrote Heart’s Cry fifteen years ago. It was my first book. Having the opportunity now to update and revise it and send it back out has been an interesting experience. The most interesting thing to me is that the things that God had taught me about prayer all those years ago, are the things He is still teaching me about prayer.
I didn’t change much in the book. I updated the illustrations. Hopefully, I’m a better writer than I was fifteen years ago. So I cleaned up some sentences and spruced it up some. When I first wrote it, I thought I’d written all there was to say. Since then, nearly every principle in the book, I have written more extensively on in other books and studies. There is no end to the learning.