Monday, July 20, 2015

Prayers that Changed History

George Muller had no food for the hungry orphans in his care, but he sat them at the table, anyway, and they prayed, thanking God for the food He would provide. When the prayer was over, there was a knock on the door. It was the baker - with enough bread for everyone. Soon after, the milk man delivered fresh milk because his cart had broken down in front of the orphanage. This is just one of my children's favorite stories from Prayers that Changed History by Tricia Goyer, a book showcasing how real prayers were not only answered, but changed the world.

24 people (plus one group of people: the British) are featured in this book; some, you and your children may be familiar with, like Constantine, St. Patrick, Christopher Columbus, Martin Luther, William Bradford, Sojourner Truth, David Livingstone, Florence Nightingale, Helen Keller, Mother Teresa, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and Corrie ten Boom. Others may be less familiar, like Polycarp, Oswald (King of Northumbira), John Eliot, Susana Wesley, John Newton, Robert Raikes, Mary Jones, Catherine Booth, George Muller, Billy Sunday, Amy Carmichael, and John Hyde.

Each chapter in Prayers that Changed History focuses on one of these people and their prayer (sometimes prayers), which God answered in a big way. Each chapter also offers a related Bible story, and prompts readers to think about what we can learn from the individual and how we can apply that to our own lives.

What I Like: This is a superb book to add to your family's library, since both parents and kids will enjoy and benefit from it. My children and I learned some bits of history we hadn't known before, and were moved by many stories in the book; some will stick with us for the rest of our lives. I also appreciate the discussion questions; these lead to some deeper thinking on my kids' part. And as an added bonus, my 9 year old now wants to read some primary sources, like Corrie ten Booms' books.

What I Dislike: Overall, this is a wonderful book, but sometimes I wished the author had set aside her commentary because it was a little obvious or repetitive. In addition, the author states that "If you seek him [God] and listen, God will speak to you - not in a voice you can hear with your ears, but in a stirring deep in your heart." Yet in the Bible, people heard God's voice with their ears - including in a story the author cites: Samuel as a boy.

Finally, parents should be aware that "the red light district" and suicide (Hitler's) are mentioned.

Overall Rating: Very Good.

Age Appeal: 8 and up.

Publishing Info: Zonderkidz, 2015; ISBN 978-0310748014; paperback, 240 pgs., $12.99

Buy at Amazon for just $9.67 (or buy the Kindle version for $7.99)

Or buy it from for $8.49

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