2 Stars Out Of 5
Could not connect.
February 24, 2014
Aside from writing negative reviews, one thing I absolutely do not like as a reader is not finishing a book -- whenever I start something, I do so with every intention of coming through with it. Nonetheless, I did promise to give my honest opinion when I agreed to review '' Straight Answers to 21 Honest Questions about Prayer''; and frankly, I struggled with this book.
I really like the title, it's very promising. Prayer is a subject I think the majority of people have pondered on. Whether you are an atheist, a new believer or a mature one, surely, at some point in your life, you've wondered about the idea of communicating with an unseen God. How is it done? What does He expects from us? Is there such a thing as ''bad prayer''? How do we know He hears us?
Of course, many of us believers have heard sermons and sermons on this. We know we should just read and trust the Bible but, personally, with this book, I was hoping to get practical, everyday, biblical answers from a fellow follower of Christ who's also wondered and asked questions about prayer. Someone who's also doubted and felt unsure about it. That would have been great!!
Unfortunately, I could barely relate and connect with '' Straight Answers to 21 Honest Questions about Prayer''. I spent MONTHS trying to, but in the end, I have to be honest; it just didn't happened.
The answers are too short. Simpson doesn't elaborate enough for my taste. For example, at some point, he gives a list of things Jesus did when he prayed and mentions how we can fellowship with God in prayer (46). Those elements could have taken a whole book to elaborate. I have a feeling the author tried to cover so much on the topic that it ended up being detrimental to the depth of the explanations given. Moreover, I think that, overall, this book is ''over-spiritualized''. Usually, I'm not the kind of reader that complains about books being too preachy, or too ''in the spirit'' shall I say but I'm sorry to say that '' Straight Answers to 21 Honest Questions about Prayer'' was for me. As a young woman, I like to have practical, relatable ways to apply the Gospel in my day-to-day living and I really had a hard time finding those in the book. If I remember correctly, Simpson, backed up by biblical evidence, lists prayer points that we should always have. We are told, for example, to pray for the peace of Jerusalem -- however, the author doesn't explain what that means! He doesn't go in depth! Given the lack of explanation overall, to me, this book was written only for a specific audience : pastors, who'll quickly grasp the author's point. There are plenty of examples given to evidence the importance and power of prayer from a pastoral point of view (church growth after prayer, for example) and many of them threw me off balance. At some point, the author writes about God inspiring a brothel owner to buy his family furniture. Not only did I feel slightly uncomfortable reading that but I was really confused because I couldn't see the connection between the example and what he was previously saying. Some things were so unclear and too abstract. There's also the mention of God speaking to people. Usually, I really am okay with that because I believe the Lord still speaks to individuals, even today. However, there are enough repetitions of this to make me feel, again, uncomfortable.There are good aspects to this book, though. The discussion prayers and a thought I found so deep : ''We expect too much from people and not enough from God.''
These are my honest opinions. Thanks to Bethany House for a review copy of the book.