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Before Amen: The Power of a Simple Prayer
     

Before Amen: The Power of a Simple Prayer

4.4 35
by Max Lucado
 

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We all pray . . . some.

We pray to stay sober, centered, or solvent. When the lump is deemed malignant. When the money runs out before the month does. When the marriage is falling apart. We pray.

But wouldn’t we like to pray more? Better? Stronger? With more fire, faith, and fervency?

Yet we have kids to feed, bills to pay, deadlines to meet. The

Overview

We all pray . . . some.

We pray to stay sober, centered, or solvent. When the lump is deemed malignant. When the money runs out before the month does. When the marriage is falling apart. We pray.

But wouldn’t we like to pray more? Better? Stronger? With more fire, faith, and fervency?

Yet we have kids to feed, bills to pay, deadlines to meet. The calendar pounces on our good intentions like a tiger on a rabbit. And what about our checkered history with prayer? Uncertain words. Unmet expectations. Unanswered requests.

We aren’t the first to struggle with prayer. The first followers of Jesus needed prayer guidance too. In fact, prayer is the only tutorial they ever requested.

And Jesus gave them a prayer. Not a lecture on prayer. Not the doctrine of prayer. He gave them a quotable, repeatable, portable prayer. Couldn’t we use the same?

InBefore Amenbest-selling author Max Lucado joins readers on a journey to the very heart of biblical prayer, offering hope for doubts and confidence even for prayer wimps. Distilling prayers in the Bible down to one pocket-sized prayer, Max reminds readers that prayer is not a privilege for the pious nor the art of a chosen few. Prayer is simply a heartfelt conversation between God and his child. Let the conversation begin.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
08/11/2014
The concept that there is power in a simple prayer normally wouldn’t take a whole book to convey, but Lucado (You’ll Get Through This), a prolific author with 92 million books in print, succeeds in getting readers to approach communication with God in a whole new way. A self-proclaimed distracted “prayer wimp” (wouldn’t we all like to pray more, better, he asks), Lucado uses humor, imagery, and insights into God’s character to reshape thoughts about prayer, transforming it from a list of needs and wants (with a history that might leave one doubting the effectiveness of prayer) into a heartfelt conversation with God. He offers a ready-made prayer that’s easy to whip out anytime, anywhere. This condensed prayer distills all of the supplications in the Bible into just six sentences. Saying them before uttering “amen” can counteract worry, provide words for situations where no words seem to come, and obtain immediate intercession on behalf of those in need. Agent: Steve Green, Anvil Management. (Oct.)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780849948480
Publisher:
Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
Publication date:
09/30/2014
Pages:
163
Sales rank:
375,644
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.65(h) x 0.75(d)

Read an Excerpt

Before Amen

The Power of a Simple Prayer


By Max Lucado

Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2014 Max Lucado
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-529-12390-9



CHAPTER 1

The Pocket Prayer


Hello, my name is Max. I'm 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.

Some people excel in prayer. They inhale heaven and exhale God. They are the SEAL Team Six of intercession. They would rather pray than sleep. Why is it that I sleep when I pray? They belong to the PGA: Prayer Giants Association. I am a card-carrying member of the PWA: Prayer Wimps Anonymous.

Can you relate? It's not that we don't pray at all. We all pray some.

On tearstained pillows we pray.

In grand liturgies we pray.

At the sight of geese in flight, we pray.

Quoting ancient devotions, we pray.

This week more of us will pray than will exercise, go to work, or have sex. Surveys indicate that one in five unbelievers prays daily. Just in case?

We pray to stay sober, centered, or solvent. We pray when the lump is deemed malignant. When the money runs out before the month does. When the unborn baby hasn't kicked in a while. We all pray ... some.

But wouldn't we all like to pray ...

More?

Better?

Deeper?

Stronger?

With more fire, faith, or fervency?

Yet we have kids to feed, bills to pay, deadlines to meet. The calendar pounces on our good intentions like a tiger on a rabbit. We want to pray, but when?

We want to pray, but why? We might as well admit it. Prayer is odd, peculiar. Speaking into space. Lifting words into the sky. We can't even get the cable company to answer us, yet God will? The doctor is too busy, but God isn't? We have our doubts about prayer.

And we have our checkered history with prayer: unmet expectations, unanswered requests. We can barely genuflect for the scar tissue on our knees. God, to some, is the ultimate heartbreaker. Why keep tossing the coins of our longings into a silent pool? He jilted me once ... but not twice.

Oh, the peculiar puzzle of prayer.

We aren't the first to struggle. The sign-up sheet for Prayer 101 contains some familiar names: the apostles John, James, Andrew, and Peter. When one of Jesus' disciples requested, "Lord, teach us to pray" (Luke 11:1 NIV), none of the others objected. No one walked away saying, "Hey, I have prayer figured out." The first followers of Jesus needed prayer guidance.

In fact, the only tutorial they ever requested was on prayer. They could have asked for instructions on many topics: bread multiplying, speech making, storm stilling. Jesus raised people from the dead. But a "How to Vacate the Cemetery" seminar? His followers never called for one. But they did want him to do this: "Lord, teach us to pray."

Might their interest have had something to do with the jaw-dropping, eye-popping promises Jesus attached to prayer? "Ask and it will be given to you" (Matt. 7:7 NIV). "If you believe, you will get anything you ask for in prayer" (Matt. 21:22 NCV). Jesus never attached such power to other endeavors. "Plan and it will be given to you." "You will get anything you work for." Those words are not in the Bible. But these are—"If you remain in me and follow my teachings, you can ask anything you want, and it will be given to you" (John 15:7 NCV).

Jesus gave stunning prayer promises.

And he set a compelling prayer example. Jesus prayed before he ate. He prayed for children. He prayed for the sick. He prayed with thanks. He prayed with tears. He had 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, cemetery, and garden. "He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed" (Mark 1:35).

This dialogue must have been common among his friends:

"Has anyone seen Jesus?"

"Oh, you know. He's up to the same thing."

"Praying again?

"Yep. He's been gone since sunrise."

Jesus would even disappear for an entire night of prayer. I'm thinking of one occasion in particular. He'd just experienced one of the most stressful days of his ministry. The day began with the news of the death of his relative John the Baptist. Jesus sought to retreat with his disciples, yet a throng of thousands followed him. Though grief-stricken, he spent the day teaching and healing people. When it was discovered that the host of people had no food to eat, Jesus multiplied bread out of a basket and fed the entire multitude. In the span of a few hours, he battled sorrow, stress, demands, and needs. He deserved a good night's rest. Yet when evening finally came, he told the crowd to leave and the disciples to board their boat, and "he went up into the hills by himself to pray" (Mark 6:46 NLT).

Apparently it was the correct choice. A storm exploded over the Sea of Galilee, leaving the disciples "in trouble far away from land, for a strong wind had risen, and they were fighting heavy waves. About three o'clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the water" (Matt. 14:24-25 NLT). Jesus ascended the mountain depleted. He reappeared invigorated. When he reached the water, he never broke his stride. You'd have thought the water was a park lawn and the storm a spring breeze.

Do you think the disciples made the prayer-power connection? "Lord, teach us to pray like that. Teach us to find strength in prayer. To banish fear in prayer. To defy storms in prayer. To come off the mountain of prayer with the authority of a prince."

What about you? The disciples faced angry waves and a watery grave. You face angry clients, a turbulent economy, raging seas of stress and sorrow.

"Lord," we still request, "teach us to pray."

When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, he gave them a prayer. Not a lecture on prayer. Not the doctrine of prayer. He gave them a quotable, repeatable, portable prayer (Luke 11:1-4).

Could you use the same? It seems to me that the prayers of the Bible can be distilled into one. The result is a simple, easy-to-remember, pocket-size prayer:

Father,
you are good.
I need help. Heal me and forgive me.
They need help.
Thank you.
In Jesus' name, amen.


Let this prayer punctuate your day. As you begin your morning, Father, you are good. As you commute to work or walk the hallways at school, I need help. As you wait in the grocery line, They need help. Keep this prayer in your pocket as you pass through the day.

Prayer, for most of us, is not a matter of a month-long retreat or even an hour of meditation. Prayer is conversation with God while driving to work or awaiting an appointment or before interacting with a client. Prayer can be the internal voice that directs the external action.

This much is sure: God will teach you to pray. Don't think for a minute that he is glaring at you from a distance with crossed arms and a scowl, waiting for you to get your prayer life together. Just the opposite. "Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in and eat with you, and you will eat with me" (Rev. 3:20 NCV).

Jesus waits on the porch. He stands on the threshold. He taps ... and calls. He waits for you to open the door. To pray is to open it. Prayer is the hand of faith on the door handle of your heart. The willing pull. The happy welcome to Jesus: "Come in, O King. Come in." "The kitchen is messy, but come in." "I didn't clean up, but come in." "I'm not much of a conversationalist, but come in."

We speak. He listens. He speaks. We listen. This is prayer in its purest form. God changes his people through such moments.

He is changing me! Yes, I am a prayer wimp, but a recovering prayer wimp. Not where I long to be, but not where I was. My time in prayer has become my time of power. The Pocket Prayer has become a cherished friend. Its phrases linger in my thoughts like a favorite melody.

Father,
you are good.
I need help. Heal me and forgive me.
They need help.
Thank you.
In Jesus' name, amen.


When we invite God into our world, he walks in. He brings a host of gifts: joy, patience, resilience. Anxieties come, but they don't stick. Fears surface and then depart. Regrets land on the windshield, but then comes the wiper of prayer. The devil still hands me stones of guilt, but I turn and give them to Christ. I'm completing my sixth decade, yet I'm wired with energy. I am happier, healthier, and more hopeful than I have ever been. Struggles come, for sure. But so does God.

Prayer is not a privilege for the pious, not the art of a chosen few. Prayer is simply a heartfelt conversation between God and his child. My friend, he wants to talk with you. Even now, as you read these words, he taps at the door. Open it. Welcome him in. Let the conversation begin.

CHAPTER 2

Father ... Daddy


When my eldest daughter was thirteen years old, she flubbed her piano piece at a recital. Jenna went on to become a fine pianist and a wonderful singer. But everyone has an off day. She just happened to have hers in front of an auditorium crowded with family, friends, and onlookers. The performance started well. Her fingers flowed up and down the keyboard like Billy Joel's. But midway through the piece, her musical train jumped the track.

I can still see her staring straight ahead, fingers stuck as if in superglue. She backed up a few measures and took another run at it. No luck. For the life of her she couldn't remember the next part. The silence in the auditorium was broken only by the pounding of her parents' hearts.

Come on, honey, you can do it.

Keep trying.

Don't give up. It will come.

Finally it did. Jenna's mental block broke, and she completed the piece. But the damage had been done. She stood up from the piano bench, chin quivering, and curtsied. The audience offered compassionate applause. She hurried off the stage. Denalyn and I scurried out of our seats and met her at the side of the auditorium. She threw her arms around me and buried her face in my shirt.

"Oh, Daddy."

That was enough for me. Denalyn and I sandwiched her with affection. If a hug could extract embarrassment, that one would have. At that moment I would have given her the moon. All she said was, "Oh, Daddy."

Prayer starts here. Prayer begins with an honest, heartfelt "Oh, Daddy."

Jesus taught us to begin our prayers by saying, "Our Father in heaven" (Matt. 6:9). More specifically, our "Abba in heaven." Abba is an intimate, tender, folksy, pedestrian term, the warmest of the Aramaic words for "father." Formality stripped away. Proximity promised. Jesus invites us to approach God the way a child approaches his or her daddy.

And how do children approach their daddies? I went to a school playground to find out. I found a spot on the bench under the awning, flipped open a notebook, and took notes. Most of the children were picked up by their mothers. Yet enough dads had car-pool duty for me to complete my research. When a five-year-old spots his father in the parking lot, how does he react?

"Yippee!" (screamed by a redheaded boy wearing a Batman backpack).

"Ice cream!" (apparently referring to a promise made by the fellow to the freckle-faced girl).

"Pop! Over here! Push me!" (yelled by a boy wearing a Boston Red Sox cap who scooted straight to the swings).

I heard requests: "Daddy, can Tommy come home with me? His mom is on a business trip, and he doesn't want to hang out with his big sister because she won't let him watch TV and makes him eat ..." (The boy's mouth was an uncapped hydrant. The words never stopped.)

I heard questions: "Are we going home?" And I heard excitement: "Daddy! Look what I did!"

Here's what I didn't hear: "Father, it is most gracious of thee to drive thy car to my place of education and provide me with domestic transportation. Please know of my deep gratitude for your benevolence. For thou art splendid in thy attentive care and diligent in thy dedication."

I didn't hear formality or impressive vocabulary. I heard kids who were happy to see their dads and eager to speak.

God invites us to approach him in the same manner. What a relief! We prayer wimps fear "mis-praying." What are the expected etiquette and dress code of prayer? What if we kneel instead of stand? What if we say the wrong words or use the wrong tone? Am I apostate if I say "prostate" instead of "prostrate"?

Jesus' answer? "Unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 18:3). Become as little children. Carefree. Joy filled. Playful. Trusting. Curious. Excited. Forget greatness; seek littleness. Trust more; strut less. Make lots of requests, and accept all the gifts. Come to God the way a child comes to Daddy.

Daddy. The term takes aim at our pride. Other salutations permit an air of sophistication. As a pastor I know this well. Deepen the tone of voice, and pause for dramatic effect. "O holy Lord ..." I allow the words to reverberate throughout the universe as I, the pontiff of petition, pontificate my prayer.

"God, you are my King, and I am your prince."

"God, you are the Maestro, and I am your minstrel."

"God, you are the President, and I am your ambassador."

But God prefers this greeting: "God, you are my Daddy, and I am your child."

Here's why: it's hard to show off and call God "Daddy" at the same time. Impossible, in fact. Perhaps this is the point. Elsewhere, Jesus gives this instruction: "When you pray, don't be like the hypocrites. They love to stand in the synagogues and on the street corners and pray so people will see them. I tell you the truth, they already have their full reward" (Matt. 6:5 NCV).

Religious leaders loved (and still love) to make theater out of their prayers. They perched themselves at intersections and practiced public piety. The show nauseated Jesus. "When you pray, you should go into your room and close the door and pray to your Father who cannot be seen. Your Father can see what is done in secret, and he will reward you" (Matt. 6:6 NCV).

The words surely stunned Jesus' audience. Prayer, they likely assumed, was reserved for special people in a special place. God met with the priest in the temple, behind the curtain, in the Holy of Holies. The people were simple farmers and stonemasons. Folks of the land and earth. They couldn't enter the temple. But they could enter their closets.

"Go into your room and close the door ..." In the Palestinian culture the room most likely to have a door was the storage closet. It held tools, seed, and farming supplies. A chicken might even wander in. There was nothing holy in it. Nothing holy about it. It was the day-to-day workroom.

It still is. My closet has no fancy fixtures or impressive furniture. It has a shoe rack, a dirty-clothes hamper, hangers, and drawers for socks and underwear.

I don't entertain guests in my closet. You'll never hear me tell visitors after dinner, "Why don't we step into the closet for a chat?" Denalyn and I prefer the living room or the den. God apparently likes to chat in the closet.

The point? He's low on fancy, high on accessibility. To pray at the Vatican can be meaningful. But prayers offered at home carry as much weight as prayers offered in Rome. Travel to the Wailing Wall if you want. But prayer at your backyard fence is just as effective. The One who hears your prayers is your Daddy. You needn't woo him with location.

Or wow him with eloquence. Jesus continued, "And when you pray, don't be like those people who don't know God. They continue saying things that mean nothing, thinking that God will hear them because of their many words. Don't be like them, because your Father knows the things you need before you ask him" (Matt. 6:7-8 NCV).

Jesus downplayed the importance of words in prayers. We tend to do the opposite. The more words the better. The better words the better. Muslim prayers, however impressive, must be properly recited at each of the five appointed times during the day. Hindu and Buddhist prayers, however profound, depend upon the repetition of mantras, words, and syllables. Even branches of the Christian faith emphasize the appropriate prayer language, the latest prayer trend, the holiest prayer terminology. Against all this emphasis on syllables and rituals, Jesus says, "Don't ramble like heathens who ... talk a lot" (Matt. 6:7 God's Word).

Vocabulary and geography might impress people but not God. There is no panel of angelic judges with numbered cards. "Wow, Lucado, that prayer was a ten. God will certainly hear you!" "Oh, Lucado, you scored a two this morning. Go home and practice." Prayers aren't graded according to style.

Just as a happy child cannot mis-hug, the sincere heart cannot mis-pray. Heaven knows, life has enough burdens without the burden of praying correctly. If prayer depends on how I pray, I'm sunk. But if the power of prayer depends on the One who hears the prayer, and if the One who hears the prayer is my Daddy, then I have hope.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Before Amen by Max Lucado. Copyright © 2014 Max Lucado. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Meet the Author

With more than 125 million products in print, Max Lucado is America's bestselling inspirational author. He serves the Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas, where he lives with his wife, Denalyn, and their mischievous mutt, Andy.

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Before Amen: The Power of a Simple Prayer 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 35 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
With these words, "Father, You are good. I need help. They need help. Thank you. In Jesus' name, amen..." Max Lucado offers a new beginning for anyone needing encouragement to persevere through the challenges they are currently experiencing and the ability to reconnect with God through prayer. This book as always is a must read. I also highly recommend that you buy another awesome book called When God Stopped Keeping Score, which takes an unflinching look at the power of God and forgiveness.  
CaraPutman More than 1 year ago
Max Lucado brings a fresh perspective filled with child-like faith to the study of prayer in his new book before amen. That's what struck me about the book. The way Max Lucado highlights the true father-child relationship of prayer. I read passages of this book to my husband because they so struck me. I also highlighted, underlined, and tweeted thoughts...not because they were so revolutionary. But because in their very simplicity, the concepts urge me to approach my Father God as a child. To curl up in His lap and share my days and concerns. Prayer doesn't need to be complicated or pious. All that is needed is a heart ready for and seeking relationship.
millstreetreader More than 1 year ago
Max Lucado has an unequaled ability to use language and images we all encounter daily to bring us closer to Christ and God.  In Before Amen he challenges us to improve our prayer life, not by becoming Biblical scholars or memorizing complicated litanies, but by speaking what is in our hearts.  Lucado gives us the words to a simple prayer, not for us to copy word for word, but to show us that our simple words should praise our Creator, acknowledge our need for Him, recognize the needs of others, and also express our gratitude.  I love his image that we are all children needing to climb into the lap of our loving father, who hears and understands our needs before we utter a comprehensible word.  Like many Lucado books, the simple narrative may read quickly, but the message is powerful, desiring of several re-reads.   I would like to thank Litfuse and Thomas Nelson Publishing for a review copy of this title. 
FrancescaFB More than 1 year ago
Max Lucado has stated in Before Amen what I have felt for years. Prayer kept simple. Just have a conversation with Jesus. Tell Jesus what you feel---talk to Him, as your best friend and confidant. Ask Him to hold your hand through a tough time, when you are scared or in a tough situation. Mr. Lucado stated in his book that the heart behind the prayer matters more than the how or where the words are said. No impressive words are necessary. Jesus knows what is in your heart. Simple prayers have profound power, not because of how you pray them, but because you know that God hears them. Simply talk to Him and tell Him what is in your heart. Trust Him.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A lovely book with gentle encouragement. I highly recommend this.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Max has written another helpful book. Thought provoking and reassuring to know I'm not the only one with questions about prayer and prayer-life. Just wish it were longer - I'm never ready for his books to end.
Sprinkle23 More than 1 year ago
In Before Amen, bestselling author Max Lucado introduces readers to the power of a simple prayer: Father, You are good. I need help. They need help. Thank you. In Jesus' name, amen. As Jesus gave a model prayer to his disciples, so Lucado is giving a prayer that can be used quickly when time is short or used as the basis for a longer prayer. Each phrase has a correlating chapter to expound on the Biblical background of the thought, the appropriate application of the idea, and the spiritual blessings and possibilities that prayer can bring.   Lucado's emphasis in Before Amen is on making prayer approachable and simple for anyone.  One of my favorite quotes was: “We Speak. He listens. He speaks. We listen. This is prayer in its purest form.” (pg.11) Throughout the book, I felt like Lucado reiterated the approachability of both God and prayer as well as advocated prayer as a means of experiencing deeper intimacy with God. Before Amen is mainly targeted to Christians who desire to pray, but struggle with consistency or insecurity relating to prayer.  Christians who already have a strong prayer life will likely find it minimally helpful as it is simplistic. However, I think that everyone could find encouragement in this book as Lucado often reminds the reader of Biblical truths and promises. For me, reading the chapter about God as Father was a refreshing reminder of God's love and care for each of us. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received an Advance Reader Copy of Before Amen from the publisher via Litfuse Publicity. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What a blessing. It ended so quickly, just enjoyed getting into the word of God. Wonderful uplifting, encouraging!?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wonderfully written. I will be buying more to give as gifts through the year.
GrandaddyA More than 1 year ago
Max Lucado writes in a simple, straight-forward manner that is easy to follow and makes a lot of sense. He doesn’t try to impress you with his knowledge but gets his message across in a way that is helpful to the reader. This book on prayer fits that mold. If you struggle with prayer and maybe feel like you just don’t get it right, read his book and learn that God doesn’t sit up in Heaven waiting for us to utter some high-sounding, lengthy prayer. He just wants us to talk with Him like a child talking to his or her daddy. The simple prayer format offered here is just six simple statements to use as a guide. I recommend this book to help you get started in a meaningful prayer life. The book includes an excellent study guide and other beneficial helps.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
BrianIndianFan More than 1 year ago
As a Christian, I think my prayers stink because they don't sound prayerful. Oh, I seem to use the right words, include Scripture, and don't say "God" or "Lord" in every sentence (my personal bug-a-boo about prayer as you don't talk to your friends like that). A lot of it has to do with personal issues as to how I see God, but even with that I feel like I could do better. In Matthew 6:9-13 Jesus laid out the formula for prayer: worship, subserviance to His will, thankfulness, forgiveness and protection. In one sense, Max Lucado has updated the prayer to read: Father, You are good. I need help. Heal me and forgive me. They need help. Thank you. In Jesus name, amen. Not to discount my Savior's words at all, but Mr. Lucado gives me a 21st century model based on Matthew 6 that I can remember and use. It's plain yet effective. Mr. Lucado dissects his prayer by delving into the various aspects of the prayer using relevant and honest examples. As an author of over 30 books, Lucado has crafted a style that lets his readers know that he's not delivering some great truth from Mount Sinai, but as one sharing a great discovery with a friend. As someone who often shies from Christian books due to their hokeyness, there is none of that here. There is encouragement to go along with the information shared. It is a great book for both the prayer warrior and the spiritual 150 pound weakling. BOTTOM LINE: The must-have book to have on prayer.
GmawFL More than 1 year ago
I was blessed by reading "Before Amen" I am using it with my personal bible study and it has helped me get out of my "prayer Slump". I also enjoyed the "When God Whisper's your name. Max's humor, insight and bible references have encouraged and blessed me. You meet Jesus in the Word of God.....these books are a GPS to direct your journey.
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VicG More than 1 year ago
Max Lucado in his new book, “Before Amen” published by Thomas Nelson shows us The Power of a Simple Prayer. From the back cover:  We all pray . . . some. We pray to stay sober, centered, or solvent. When the lump is deemed malignant. When the money runs out before the month does. When the marriage is falling apart. We pray. But wouldn’t we like to pray more? Better? Stronger? With more fire, faith, and fervency? Yet we have kids to feed, bills to pay, deadlines to meet. The calendar pounces on our good intentions like a tiger on a rabbit. And what about our checkered history with prayer? Uncertain words. Unmet expectations. Unanswered requests. We aren’t the first to struggle with prayer. The first followers of Jesus needed prayer guidance too. In fact, prayer is the only tutorial they ever requested. And Jesus gave them a prayer. Not a lecture on prayer. Not the doctrine of prayer. He gave them a quotable, repeatable, portable prayer. Couldn’t we use the same? Join Max Lucado on a journey to the very heart of Biblical prayer and the power unleashed with six simple lines: Father, You are good. I need help. They need help. Thank you. In Jesus’ name, amen. In Before Amen best-selling author Max Lucado joins readers on a journey to the very heart of biblical prayer, offering hope for doubts and confidence even for prayer wimps. Distilling prayers in the Bible down to one pocket-sized prayer, Max reminds readers that prayer is not a privilege for the pious nor the art of a chosen few. Prayer is simply a heartfelt conversation between God and his child. Let the conversation begin. Max Lucado writes the greatest books in the world and this book is his best yet! With “Before Amen” he is looking at “The Lord’s Prayer” in an entirely different light than what we are used to. In nine chapters he breaks down what Jesus said and shows us a new way to approach the Throne of God. I am fascinated at what Pastor Lucado was able to come out with. This is life changing stuff. Simplicity. God wants to hear from us and He really enjoys it when we call Him Father, or Daddy. Once we got that down then the rest of the verses are easy. “Before Amen” is a book that you might want to read a few times.  Once for the primary impact that it will have on your life then again for the truth that you missed the first time.  You will want to give this book to family and friends so that they can know how to talk to God as well.  They will always remember your gift and thank you for it.  I recommend this book highly! Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Litfuse Publicity Group.   I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have found in my own prayer life, that when there is a big change in my everyday life, I need to almost re-learn how to structure my prayer life. Before Amen: The Power of a Simple Prayer came at the perfect time for me. As a new mother I have had to find new ways to get my prayer time in. Lucado takes a simple prayer and fleshes it out with great real life illustrations: Father, You are good. I need help. They need help. Thank you. In Jesus' name, amen. In the middle of the night, when I am feeding Rebekah, this is the perfect prayer for a sleepy mamma. Each chapter of the book, expands upon one of the 6 phrases. I love the way Lucado writes - easy to read but full of thought provoking statements. This simple prayer is great just as is, but it is also a great guide for a more than simple prayer. I think this book is going to be one that I will read over and over and get different things from it each time I read it.  I received this book free of charge from Litfuse Publicity for the purpose of review, but the opinions are all my own. 
Theophilusfamily More than 1 year ago
 There are some beautiful ways to pray~  We can pray through the Valley of Vision book. We can pray through Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication. We can pray by just talking and thinking towards God all day.  And Max Lucado has offered us another way... the Pocket Prayer.  It's quiet, simple, and direct. From our lips to His ear, our heart to His hand.  I am wary of books on prayer. I hate the idea that we'll distort prayer somehow, and make faith more difficult for people.  I'm afraid we'll make prayer seem like a formula or a machine.... something that "works" or "fails" or is "reliable."  I don't know if prayer "works." That's kind of like saying a Mother's love for her baby "works." I think that is the wrong concept for it.  I don't know if prayer "fails." I know Love never fails, and God is love.  And I don't like the idea of prayer being "reliable" either... Do you mean you always get God's ear and His care, or that you always get the answer you thought you wanted?  I'm frankly unsure what to make of my own Lord Jesus's promise that if we ask we will receive. I know that He is Love, and He is Good, and He always does the Right thing, so if we're asking for goodness, love, and righteousness we receive it. We are encouraged to pray for our dear ones, our dreams, and our desires. And He delights in protecting, providing, and preserving.  Yet I also know that sometimes death, disease, and destruction come to us as well.  Prayer doesn't ward those things off like an incantation. Prayer brings us close to God, and takes out cares before Him.  And He acts for us. That's all I know.  So I was eager to get this book, but cautious about it as well.  I really like Max Lucado. His writing is calm and steady and not fearful. It's good for the soul. This book isn't an extensive how-to-pray manual. (Do we even need those anyway?) This is a very thin book that introduces us to The Pocket Prayer, and reminds us that when we pray our posture or phraseology ain't that important.  It's all about the fact that God loves His kids, and we are the kids, and we can tell Him anything and He waits to listen.  Thank you Litfuse for my review copy. 
PJtheEMT4 More than 1 year ago
Before Amen by Max Lucado, author of You'll Get through This and many other books is among the most uplifting and practical books on prayer that I have read. Max Lucado books will never disappoint when you are expecting encouragement in times of severe distress or looking for motivation. This book specifically helps those who are enduring really difficult times, to endure and persevere. This book is for those who need to be convinced on the effectiveness and importance of prayer. Max Lucado address real issues- job loss, terminal illness, grief and loss. This book is designed to help those who are suffering from extreme circumstances as well as every day circumstances. If you are bellyaching because you burned your husband's dinner, or the grass stain won't come out of the soccer uniform, or if missed an appointment for your pedicure, or your favorite coach bag sold out before you reached the mall, then this book isn't for you. What you need is a fluffy, superficial, condescending, feel- good, women's devotional book with an image of a $6 cappuccino or a photo of a quaint Martha Stuartesque vase of garden blooms. But, if you truly suffer from life's heartaches, if you truly need to depend on prayer as if it is your lifeline, then this book will offer the comfort and help you need. The cover is peaceful, serene and typical of devotional and Christian self- help books. But don't let the mainstream cover decieve you. This book preaches faith and the practical and miraculous power of prayer. Even the most apathetic of reader will be moved to prayer and with great faith to boot. In true Lucado fashion, Max writes in an animated, easy to understand style that communicates biblical truths to the reader. His books bring bible stories and biblical truth to life in an inspirational way that speaks out to the reader. He talks about real personalities and heroes from the bible and applies them to the modern day. Lucado speaks truth to those in desperate need using poignant yet practical advice -which addresses the distress can drain our emotional, physical and spiritual resources. Even the most discouraged and distraught reader will respond! He breaks down prayer, simplifies it and dissects it, without taking away its truth and meaning. Lucado has an amazing way of taking something and redefining it for the modern reader without detracting from truth. This book dissects line by line a simple prayer, "the pocket prayer", dedicating one chapter to each line starting with "Father..." and ending with "Amen". He breathes new life into overused words that may have become devoid of meaning. His animated language is known to draw in the reader who needs a quick burst of thought. From other works- "Catch God in a bad mood? Won't happen. Fear exhausting his grace? A sardine will swallow the Atlantic first. Think he's given up on you?" ..... Lucado's use of colorful language in this book and his conversational tone, make it so that biblical truths are memorable and meaningful to the average modern reader. This inspirational book will be certain to leave the reader with a lasting impression. In today's self centered society, without offense Max Lucado illustrates the importance of living life based on biblical principles. After reading this book, and really meditating on the biblical truths communicated via Max Lucado, one can feel a renewed sense of empowerment to live a selfless life style. Max makes use of personal anecdotes as well as bible stories to illustrate the importance of depending on God rather than on the material things of this world .He talks about divorce, stillbirth, incarceration, cancer, job loss and any other tragedy you might experience. I am sure any reader can relate to at least one of the anecdotes of dire straits that Lucado shares. If you are looking for an apologetic defense on the purpose of defending God in the face of general evil then this book isn't for you. But, if on the other hand you are looking for bible based motivation and a relief while enduring extreme dire circumstances in a heartless world that centers in materialism, selfish ambition and competition, then this book is perfect. This book is the perfect spiritual salve for those experiencing intense pain and grief!!! This is a book to read and return to- it won't collect dust on a book shelf. The ending includes guided questions for reflection for greater interaction and study. As a blogger for Litfuse publicity I received this book, an ARC, from Thomas Nelson publishers in exchange for writing an honest review. The opinions expressed are my own.