Called to Pray: Astounding Stories of Answered Prayer was written by award-winning author and popular speaker Linda Evans Shepherd, and published by Revell in the later portion of 2015. As the title suggests, this book is filled to overflowing with examples of dynamic, unexpected, and miraculous answers to prayer in the lives of ordinary people. What did all these people have in common? They simply had the faith to heed God’s call to pray, and witnessed extraordinary events in their lives as a result.
Without question, this book is an inspiration and an invitation to pray more often, for more people, and in every situation that we find ourselves. Conveniently divided into ten sections with titles such as “Called to Pray for Protection”, “Called to Pray for Needs”, “Called to Pray for Encouragement”, etc., the book holds dozens of stories that bring the power of prayer to life in vivid detail. My personal favorites were the divine appointments that could clearly only be orchestrated by God. As an added benefit, a suggested personal prayer relating to the topic closes each story, and allows readers to incorporate that topic into their own lives.
With the first few stories of this book, I felt uplifted and inspired. As I continued farther through the pages, however, something began to bother me… Yes, many of the anecdotes still continued to leave me in awe of God’s perfect plan. But story after happy story closed with a picture-perfect ending. Although there were exceptions to this pattern, for the most part the pray-ers ended up receiving the answer they expected immediately – or else an even better option than they had hoped for. Hurricanes calmed until a family could escape. Cancer-filled bodies healed. Broken marriages were restored. As someone who is going through a very difficult portion of life, I know that this isn’t always the way God works. What about the faithful men and women who pray without fail, waiting day after day, month after month, and year after year for their prayers to be answered and their dreams to be fulfilled? And even then, sometimes the hurricane kills, the cancer patient dies, and the marriage falls apart. Are those people doing something wrong? Is that why God doesn’t answer their prayers the way he does the people in the stories of Called to Pray? I don’t believe so, but these are the questions that arose in my mind as I read through the book. Of course I understand this was unlikely the intent of Linda Evans Shepherd, and perhaps my questions would take another entire book to answer. Or perhaps only God himself truly knows the answer. In any case, while this was definitely not a bad book, it did not quite serve its purpose in my personal life and situation. You will have to decide whether or not it will in yours.
I am grateful to have received a free copy of this book from Revell Reads, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.