Book Review: If You Love Him, Pray for Him PLUS How You Can Win A FREE Copy
If You Love Him, Pray for Him by Kerry Burke and Shereece Connolly-McLeish is one of two 21-day devotionals geared toward helping people to commit to praying selflessly for the people in their life. (The other complementary devotional is entitled, If You Love Her, Pray for Her.)
I want to plainly state my bias and connection to these books right from the start.
First, I know the authors. Kerry has been my big sister for 20-something years now. Shereece is family as well. In fact, she's my mother's cousin.
Secondly, I was tapped to work as the editor on both books. I was beyond ecstatic when Kerry told me that she was writing these books with Shereece. I was so proud of my sister! But that excitement was replaced with deep gratitude when she asked me to edit the books. It's very humbling when family takes the work you do seriously and entrusts a major project like this to you.
Obviously, as editor, I became very acquainted with both works. But let me tell you, there is a BIG difference between reading a book because you have to, and reading it because you want to.
These books were published last March (2016). I let them sit a while before attempting to read them for all they were worth, as opposed to simply reading them to find and fix grammatical errors.
I should also note that this review covers both books. Although, I took the 21-day prayer challenge using the book geared towards praying for men.
Now that the formalities are out of the way, let's get down to the meat of this review.
Why you should read this book -
As the summary on the books' back cover says, "the Bible places an emphasis on the need for continual prayer, insisting that we 'pray without ceasing' (1 Thessalonians 5:17)."
For many of us, prayer, especially praying for someone else can seem like a daunting task. Unless we know of a specific situation or need, or a person has come to us with a specific prayer request—how can we know what to say when praying for them? These two devotionals take the guesswork out of praying for others. And by the end of the 21 days, you'll feel more confident in your abilities to pray for people, whether or not you have a certain level of insight into their lives.
Like any other devotional, each day has a specific topic, focus scripture, and commentary. However there are several other components that separate these devotionals from other prayer devotionals out there:
For men + women, with a focus on the general Him|Her
Both devotionals are for men and women alike.
Unlike other devotionals that are dedicated to praying for a specific type of person in your life (i.e devotionals for husbands wanting to pray for their wives, or mothers wanting to pray for their children, or a church member wanting to pray for their pastor), these books are for anyone wanting to pray for anyone in their life. Whether you are a sister wanting to pray for a sister, or a son wanting to pray for your father, or a woman wanting to pray for her co-worker, or a man or woman wanting to pray for your future spouse, you can use these books!
Both devotionals include notes to both women and women—"A note for women, as you pray for him;" "A note for men, as you pray for him" (If You Love Him, Pray for Him); "A note for women as you pray for her;" and "A note for men as you pray for her" (If You Love Her, Pray for Her). Even if you typically skip forewords and introductions when reading, I suggest you read the note applicable to you. (The notes are super short!)
As much for you as for the people you pray for
This point is most evident in the commentary section of each day. Whether it is a thought-provoking question in the text that leads to a sober self-assessment, or the informal and intimate use of the second person "you"—the devotional entries prove to be as much an encouragement to you, as your prayers will be for the person (or people) at the center of your 21 days of prayer focus.
A flexible prayer outline for each day
Rather than give you a fixed set of words to be recited verbatim, these devotionals provide more of a flexible outline that should be personalized when used. This challenges you to find (and use) your own words for prayer (as opposed to simply borrowing someone else's words + style). This in turn leads to spiritual growth, and increased confidence in your own ability to pray.
Both books include a day of declarations, or affirmations. The books do a decent job of explaining what it means to make a declaration and speak positively over a person's life.
My Suggestions -
Have a plan. This includes setting aside a specific time of day to read the devotional, write in your prayer journal, and pray. The first time I started "If You Love Him, Pray for Him," I didn't have a plan, and after only a few days I fell off. When I got serious about praying for the men in my life, I came up with a plan and stuck to it, and consequently made it through the 21 consecutive days.
Be specific. Choose a specific person, or a small group of specific people to better target your prayers. I chose to focus on Danny, my dad, and my brother.
Write down your prayers and be specific in your requests. The devotionals include a lined, blank page after each day so you can write down your prayers, but you should invest in a journal for this devotional as one page may not be enough. Also to the point of being specific, one of the days my prayer was that someone would go out of their way to be kind to Danny, just as an encouragement to him. Later that day, Danny came home and told me a stranger bought him a cup of coffee and that helped settle his nerves before an important meeting
Make a gift out of it. If you select one person at a time (which I highly recommend) consider buying a journal and writing down your prayer for them each day. After the 21 days, give them the journal with your prayers as a (just-because) gift. I guarantee they will be encouraged as they read through your prayers for them. One of the greatest feelings in the world is knowing someone has been praying fervently for you. Or buy copies of the devotionals for people you love and include a heartfelt message.
[CLOSED] HOW YOU CAN WIN A FREE COPY
OF "IF YOU LOVE HIM, PRAY FOR HIM" OR
"IF YOU LOVE HER, PRAY FOR HER!"
Congrats to our two winners - Akayla R. + Katia B.
To prove my point that these devotionals are gift worthy, we're giving away two FREE copies of one of these fantastic devotionals. Tell us how you think these devotionals would help you, and you could win a FREE signed copy of either "If You Love Him, Pray for Him" or "If You Love Her, Pray for Her."
To enter for chance to win - simply comment on this blog post, or one of our review posts on Facebook or Instagram and tell us how you think these devotionals would help you.
Two winners will be randomly selected and announced on Wednesday, January 25, 2017 on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and here on the blog.
Must be 18 years or older to enter with a valid U.S. mailing address. Entries are limited to one entry per channel (blog, Facebook, and Instagram) and three entries per person.