Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Book Review for Prayer Walk by Janet Holm McHenry

PrayerWalk: Becoming a Woman of Prayer, Strength, and Discipline

  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.


Gandergelf said...

Love the quote you shared from the introduction - I feel the exact same way!

I find how to pray books both interesting and infuriating. I usually get some new insight into prayer, but I can never get with the program so to speak.

Sharon Wilfong said...

Hi Shaz Nice to hear from you again! I know exactly what you mean. I've been thinking about prayer walking. I mean, I walk around my neighborhood anyway, but can I really discipline myself to pray as McHenry did?
Then there's getting up early in the morning,ugh!

Gandergelf said...

I guess I just don't want to make my prayer life a regimen. I know people who get up at 4 a.m. every day for a intecessory prayer session. God bless them and I hope they're praying for me! But that's just not my prayer style.

I walk in the mornings too and sometimes I pray, sometimes I listen to secular music and sometimes I wonder what at I doing walking around outside when it's 95 degrees!

I like learning about various prayer styles. I don't think there's a one size fits all method of prayer, but there are some really helpful ideas out there.

For example, I used to have a terrible time with my mind wandering during prayer. I'd start out connecting with God and the next thing, I'd be thinking about some book or TV show. I used to berate myself for my lack of spirituality, but then someone told me to start praying about the random things that popped into my head during my personal worship time. It's worked really well for me.

Well, as you can see, I'm a big fan of prayer. Next time I'm at a Christian book store, I'll have to flip through Prayer Walk.

And hey, if you do start a prayer walk, I'd love to hear how it works for you.

Sharon Wilfong said...

Shaz: Wow! That's heavy. I have a horrible problem with my mind wandering. I always felt I should take an adderall before I pray. I'm going to have to try praying for those things that pop into my head.
I think I'm going to have to prayer walk because there's a lot of things I'm struggling with and I need to just walk and listen to what God has to say. I'll let you know how it turns out!
PS I'm praying for you too!

Travelwade said...

Sharon--you get to read the most interesting books. I agree with Shaz's comment that you do have to go with your individual style and I love to hear how different people approach prayer. This book seems interesting on many levels and a good read too. Personally I pray continually throughout the day especially when I feel myself getting frustrated or negative I know then the best thing for me to do is turn to God. I also try to continually thank and praise God for the continual blessings raining down on me. If I stop and think about what God is doing right now in the world--it truly blows my mind. God is a such a giving God and I think that is why it feels so good when we give. PTL.

Sharon Wilfong said...

Travelwade: Thanks for visiting and commenting. I also pray throughout the day. God might consider them "laments" or "complaints" although I do try to thank Him for everything as well.

A. Santiago said...

I'm from www.writtenmusings93.blogspot.com
I hadn't been able to visit your blog but here I am :)

I've never been interested in a religion oriented book but I might read this one

Sharon Wilfong said...

Hi Santiago: Thanks for visiting my blog. It's a book worth reading.

Kathy Robbins said...

Thank you for visiting my blog. I can not wait to read this. And I think that my "hens" will love it as well!
Kathy Robbins

Sharon Wilfong said...

Kathy: Thanks for visiting back. Again, I loved your story about you and your friend. I've been thinking about it all week.

Janet McHenry said...

Thank you, Sharon, for the kind review for PrayerWalk. Blessings as you walk and/or pray!

Sharon Wilfong said...

You are most welcome, Janet. I know God is using your book to help many people. Take care!