Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Book Review: Prayers and Promises for Worried Parents by Robert J. Morgan

From the back cover:

Worrying about our loved ones is the worst kind of worry in the world, espe­cially when it’s our children for whom we’re concerned. From the moment they’re born, our youngsters have an unrivaled place in our hearts, and we feel an unending burden for their welfare. We do our best to provide for them and to protect them. But sometimes, like the prodigal’s father in Luke 15, all we can do is entrust them to the Lord, love them, and give them time to find their way. Nothing is more difficult.

Prayers and Promises for Worried Parents offers hope for your prodigal and help for you. In more than a hundred brief readings, Robert J. Morgan offers doses of hope—encouragements from Scripture, effective prayers, true-life stories, promises from God’s Word, timely quotes, and helpful hints for coping with yourself and your child in difficult times.

God specializes in being gracious, and prodigals have a way of coming home. Don’t despair over your wayward ones. The Lord hasn’t given up on them. Nor on you!

Every phase of life within families has its joys and struggles. Each year that passes holds its unique challenges given the development and personalities of our kin. That being said, it is my belief that my family is entering an extremely trying period within the life of one of our members. Without airing the family’s dirty laundry, I will generally state that life with this loved one has been challenging for a very long time, but lately it has tested me almost to the breaking point. I care for them so much, and I worry about the choices they're making and the road that they may be on.

About a month ago I was approached to review Prayers and Promises for Worried Parents by Robert J. Morgan. I usually gravitate toward fiction titles, but this one seemed like it might have a few nuggets that would help me in my efforts as a concerned family member. Not long after I sent the acceptance email, a major crisis erupted, and I once again found myself crying out to God for comfort and direction in our trying situation. A few days later, Robert Morgan’s book arrived. I began reading it that very night.

To say that Prayers and Promises was a blessing to me is an extreme understatement. On many occasions, the words leaped off the page and impacted me so much; I literally had to put the book down to cry. The tears that flowed were ones of sadness over what was happening to our family, as well as tears of gratitude for the comfort that had been given to me through this simple, short book. I treasured every chance I could get to read one of the 108 devotions that comprise this work. Morgan’s intention may have been for the reader to go through each short chapter over the course of three and a half months, but I found it difficult to read just one entry at each sitting. It was easy reading, but more importantly, it was a lifeboat for me within a raging storm.

As mentioned, Prayers and Promises is presented in devotional form. The 108 entries fall into three general categories:
  1. Passages of scripture that apply to our struggles as worried family members/friends of those who are struggling or leading a “prodigal” lifestyle. Morgan oftentimes would re-write the scriptures to reflect the situation, allowing the reader to insert the name of their loved one within God’s word in order to apply it to their lives.
  2. Prayers and thoughts from both Robert Morgan and his experiences as a troubled soul, and also from beloved Christians such as:
    • Billy Graham
    • Oswald Chambers
    • Hudson Taylor
    • John Wesley
    • Norman Vincent Peale
    • C.H. Spureon
    • J.I. Packer
  3. Hopeful stories of prodigals who have struggled in life, but have yet found victory and recovery by God’s grace and through the prayers of their loved ones. 
This is a simple template for a book—indeed, Morgan originally did not intend it for public consumption. During his own times of struggle, he was journaling and putting this collection together for himself, words that would comfort him and guide him during trying times. Thankfully, Mr. Morgan has made this work available to the public, and for that I am sincerely grateful. Prayers and Promises is a simple premise, yet it holds truths and encouragements that will resonate forever. Possibly my favorite lines from the book came in devotional #22, “Open His Eyes”:

The tears in our eyes are sometimes converted, through prayer, into eye drops for our prodigals.
As we pray through our tears, the Lord hears our requests and opens our prodigals’ eyes.

As someone who has shed countless tears over my loved one, it is such a comfort to know that those tears are not in vain; the Lord sees them. Morgan quotes, “It is not possible that the son of such tears should be lost” –from Augustine’s Confessions. Through this I will not see weeping as a wasted exercise, but as a measure of sowing that will reap joy in the future (Psalm 126).

If your heart is aching for a wayward son, daughter, grandchild, family friend or even a spouse, I cannot recommend Prayers and Promises highly enough. In fact, I will most surely be opening this book again in the future. Much of the content within this work is tried and true—scriptures that will never fail. Words of wisdom from renowned and respected Christians. Stories of struggle and victory that can give even the most concerned reader hope for the future. Our family members and friends may not always make the best choices. They may take themselves (and therefore their loved ones) through days or years of seemingly inexplicable pain. But I am thoroughly confident that the Lord sees it all. Somehow He has His hand on everything, working it all out according to His plan, despite our wandering. And it is through gifts like Prayers and Promises for Worried Parents that He has reminded me of this and brought me profound comfort during some very trying days.

Review copy provided by
Howard Books Blogger Review Program

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