Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Would You Read On? by Diana Flegal

It's First Pages day! Let us know if you would read on....

When do people pray? Normally it’s when they want or need something and think God can bring it to them. We pray for other reasons, too, such as worship or thanksgiving, but probably most of our prayers are to ask God for help, protection, or guidance. When things are particularly serious, we give ourselves to a time of extended prayer until something concrete happens.

This book is a guide to lead you through a 100-day period of prayer as you face a crisis or problem of greater than normal difficulty. It’s offered as both an encouragement and a guide to sustained petition. It already has made a remarkable difference to the many who have tried it. We’ve found that it’s most effective when carried out by a group of people committed to praying together because, as most of us have discovered, it’s just hard to keep on praying by ourselves for something every day for any length of time. Even under normal circumstances, too many distractions and interruptions tend to take us away from our prayer times.

The 100-day prayer is simply a way of bringing before God major issues, challenges, concerns, or transitions in our lives. There's really nothing magic about a hundred days, it’s just that my family and I settled on that span of time as a solid period of concentrated prayer and intercession. It could have been ninety or one-hundred-and-twenty days. The intent is only that we bring before God the same issue each day for that period of time. This isn't something overly involved or impossible to sustain—only a few minutes of prayer every day. It's striving more for consistency than length of time in prayer.

Would you read on?

Last weeks entry was from the title Ruth's Redemption by Marlene Banks. It is a book that will be published by Moody's Imprint Lift Every Voice in Feb 2012 to coincide with Black History Month. The author and the publisher are taking into consideration all of your helpful comments.


Janny said...

Nope, I wouldn't read on. It needs a much better hook than it has in the very beginning--it sounds like any other book or essay on prayer, frankly, and most of us have read enough of those not to need the first couple of paragraphs. What's unique about this is 100 days of prayer about one particular thing...focused and targeted. By the time we get to that unique--or at least fairly fresh--idea, the rest of it's already lost me.

My take!

Millie Samuelson said...

FOR SURE I'd read on. . . and I'm all set to order the print or maybe Kindle book as soon as it's released. . . The writing style is so smooth and compelling without being "stuffy". . . My prayer-life needs books like this one. . . :-)

From Mary's Pen said...

Hmm Interesting how diverse the responses are.

I have to agree with the first one, but I'd like to add a caveat- I don't read many of these types of books, so it would take a really strong hook or unique angle to get my attention.

I would present this differently, with a more specific opening, depending on the premise of the book- will 100 days of prayer bring about the response that the pray-er desires, or will it bring about a change in the heart of the supplicant? What is the ultimate goal?

I would open with something like: What can God do in 100 days?
And expand from there, giving the reader an idea of where you're going with the concept of 100 days of prayer.

Rejoicing in the day,

Davalyn Spencer said...

It's too repetitious; I believe it could be tightened. As it stands, I am reluctant to read more because I fear the same redundant approach will continue throughout the book.

~sharyn said...

Like some of the others here, I would not read on. I agree there doesn't seem to be anything unique and there are dozens of books on prayer competing for our attention.

But what stood out the most to me was how impersonal it is. There's nothing here that connects me to the writer or that gives me a reason to want to read his/her thoughts on prayer. S/he doesn't say anything personal until the third paragraph when there's a mention of "my family," but even that comes across as aloof and more to make a point than a connection.

Now, knowing who the author is would help. At least I'd know if it's written by a man or a woman and have a better idea of where s/he is coming from.

That's my two cents worth....


Jeanette Levellie said...

I would, because I am so interested in prayer. But I agree that it could be tightenend and snazzed up with a story or two to hook the reader. Make it personal, and make me curious.

Melissa K Norris said...

It seems unfocused. A few condensed sentences of what the reader will gain is needed. I don't know if this would make a full length book. I think they need to go back to their target audience and define some more.

I've done similiar 7 day prayer challenges on my website, twitter, and author FB page that deal with a specific topic that my readers have helped choose.

I do enjoy non-fiction that helps my faith life grow. I just finished Spiritual Warfare for Women by Leighann McCoy and really enjoyed it.

Are these open to anyone willing to submit their opening or do you already have them picked out?

Anonymous said...

No--I lost interest in the excerpt and started skimming ....

Sorry ... :/

Diana said...

I did cheat here and skipped the introduction. Went directly to the first chapters first page.

Janalyn Voigt, author of novel books said...

I wouldn't read on. Without a dynamic illustration, it's just sermonizing. If the writer led in with a gripping personal experience to show the main point, the reader could recognize it without being told by the writer. And that's far more powerful.

Millie Samuelson said...

HEY Hartline friends! None of your comments have changed my mind. I would definitely read on. . . after all, this is obviously an intro to a prayer book -- not the first page of a novel that has to grab me with the first sentence or two. I always read intros -- don't you? So slow down, meditate a bit, and now read this intro again. It answers all the questions of an excellent intro. Now would you read on?? And no, the author is not a friend of mine. . . :-)

Lee Abbott said...

I trudged through it, all the while thinking "convince me!" It sounds like something I SHOULD want to read. But it didn't inspire me.

Tell your story. Please! And I hope the result is "more than we can ask or imagine" (Eph. 3:20), even after 100 days of asking and imagining.