Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Book Review for Prayer Walk by Janet Holm McHenry
You know I'm an ordinary Christian woman, God. But I'd like to become more disciplined, to have a consistent daily prayer time. I'd like to lose some weight and to be a little more fit. And...and...oh, this sounds crazy after everything I've just said, but I'd like to be content with my life. (From the Introduction)
That's how Janet Holm McHenry begins her book, “Prayer Walk.” McHenry, a high school English teacher and mother of four came to a point in her life when she knew she couldn't wait around to become more spiritual, get closer to God or expect all her problems to go away. She was going to have to proactively seek out a relationship with God and this is how she did it: Every morning before anyone else in her household was up she began walking around her town for an hour or more praying to God.
This book is part-personal story part instruction manual teaching the reader how to see God as our ultimate “Personal Trainer” by walking and talking with Him. She testifies as to how she not only got in shape and became healthier but how she became closer to God and also more cognizant of the people around her at school, her town and in her own family, their needs, their hurts, and started praying for them as well.
The book is divided into two parts. The first six chapters discuss how to become a woman of discipline. Why we should walk, making time to walk and the added health benefits of walking. The second part details how to pray, who to pray for and the differences that McHenry saw in her own life as well as her community as a result of her prayer walking.
For instance, a real struggle for her was the death of her father who suffered from Lou Gehrig's disease. She walked miles and hours wrestling with God in the wee morning hours seeking closure and answers. Another result was how she became aware of the needs and hurts of her students. When one student's father committed suicide, her prayer walking provided wisdom and guidance that enabled McHenry to turn a tragedy into a tool of counseling for her high schoolers who not only had a lot of questions but some were fighting against suicidal thoughts themselves.
At the end of the book is a study guide for groups who would like to use this book as a Bible study or discussion. There are also resources for walking, a thirty-day pray walk challenge and how to organize a community prayer walk event.
I found this book to be highly provocative and challenging. I don't know if I will begin to prayer walk but this book offers good arguments that provide me with food for thought and motivation.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Waterbrook Multinomah Publishing co. in exchange for my honest review.