Ten Prayers That Changed the World: Extraordinary Stories of Faith That Shaped the Course of History

Ten Prayers That Changed the World: Extraordinary Stories of Faith That Shaped the Course of History

by Jean-Pierre Isbouts


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Ten Prayers That Changed the World: Extraordinary Stories of Faith That Shaped the Course of History by Jean-Pierre Isbouts

From time immemorial, prayer has provided comfort in our darkest hours, stirred us to action beyond what we thought possible, and shown us the way through seemingly insurmountable challenges. In this engaging tour of world history, author and historian Jean-Pierre Isbouts takes us on an inspiring tour of ten prayers that played a pivotal role in world events—from the divine inspiration of Joan of Arc to Martin Luther's powerful hymn, "A Mighty Fortress is our God"; from Abraham's poignant plea to save his son to George Washington's prayerful words to the newly formed American states; from Constantine the Great's prayer before battle to Gandhi's deeply moving "prayer of peace." Ten Prayers That Changed the World delves into the moments in history where faith and prayer intersected with the course of mankind.  2016 Best Book Award in Spirituality.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781426216442
Publisher: National Geographic Society
Publication date: 03/01/2016
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 634,360
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

JEAN-PIERRE ISBOUTS is a bestselling author, historian, and award-winning director of documentary and feature films. A humanities scholar and professor at Fielding Graduate University of Santa Barbara, California, he has published widely on subjects in art, history and archaeology, and directed films for Disney, ABC, Hallmark, History Channel and other studios and networks. He has also produced a broad repertoire of classical music with ensembles in New York, Los Angeles and Amsterdam.

Table of Contents

Introduction 10

Chapter 1 Abraham's Plea 16

Chapter 2 Jesus' Prayer to Abba 44

Chapter 3 The Dream of Constantine 66

Chapter 4 The Voices of Joan of Arc 88

Chapter 5 Martin Luther's Hymn 110

Chapter 6 George Washington's Prayer 132

Chapter 7 The Prayer of St. Francis 148

Chapter 8 The Prayer for Bastogne 160

Chapter 9 Gandhi's Prayer for Peace 184

Chapter 10 Mother Teresa's Daily Prayer 202

Epilogue 225

Acknowledgments 229

Notes 231

Further Reading 261

Illustrations Credits 265

Index 267

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Ten Prayers That Changed the World: Extraordinary Stories of Faith That Shaped the Course of History 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
michelemorin More than 1 year ago
Where Faith and History Intersect In this election year, I’ve heard it said that foreign policy doesn’t fit on a bumper sticker. True enough, and I would go on to say that theology doesn’t either, but that doesn’t stop us from trying to put it there. One bumper sticker that’s been around for decades reads: “Prayer Changes Things.” You’ve seen it, and depending on your theology, you’ve either rolled your eyes or said “Amen.” Historian and professor Jean-Pierre Isbouts has added the weight of scholarly evidence to that three-word declaration in Ten Prayers that Changed the World, for he asserts that among the “things” that prayer may have changed is the course of history. Dr. Isbouts has selected ten stand-out characters from the past and shared the stories surrounding their impactful words of faith. 1. Hand-picked by a God who — unbelievably! — spoke to humans and made stunning promises, Abraham walked with God and found Him to be trustworthy. Although he made a few wrong turns into cowardice and deception, he persevered in faith and saw the fulfillment of God’s promise: a son, born to two senior citizens. When God put Abraham to the test on Mount Moriah, it is quite likely that Abraham prayed to be spared from the horror of sacrificing his son, and although Scripture does not record the words, the ram was given and the son of promise lived. Dr. Isbouts has highlighted Abraham’s story because his influence is felt in three major world religions. This brings to my mind an actual recorded prayer from the lips of Abraham that was answered when God preserved the life of Ishmael, and although both sons were present at Abraham’s burial, their descendants have been in conflict ever after. 2.The Sermon on the Mount provides the context for Jesus‘ well-known and well-loved prayer to His Father in Heaven. Dr. Isbouts provides historical context as well, helping his readers to recognize Herod’s brutal economic oppression, which compounded the political claustrophobia of Roman occupation. While his assertion that Jesus was a disciple of John the Baptist is unlikely, his narrative effectively captures the disciple’s puzzlement: Who is this teacher? Could this be the Messiah? What is the nature of this Kingdom of which He speaks? Our impatient hearts ask similar questions today and find expression in the prayer which Jesus taught His disciples to say. The Lord’s Prayer (or The Our Father) effectively summarizes the scope of Jesus’ teaching in four brief sentences. 3.By the fourth century, the Roman empire was in a constant state of flux and infighting, and the Emperor Constantine was caught between the biggest and most difficult fight of his current campaign and a series of disturbing — what? Were they dreams? Visions? Heavenly signs? Becoming a follower of Christ could be awkward when you’re the leader of the polytheistic world, but the end result was a decree that granted religious freedom to Roman citizens, accompanied by a majestic and little-known prayer for the favor of the Supreme God. Constantine went on to secure sole command of the Roman Empire and immediately began restoring the rights and fortunes of the church and Christians. His influence was felt in ecclesiology, architecture, liturgy, the establishment of our calendar, and therefore, in all of western civilization. 4.The piety, the calling, the political acumen, and the undeterred courage of Joan of Arc have been shrouded in mystery through the years. Did h