Reviewed by: Priscilla King
Prayers of the Bible: Equipping Women to Call on God in Truth, by Susan Hunt. Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R, 2011, viii + 155 pages, $12.99, paper. Reviewed by OP member Priscilla King.
Susan Hunt is a wife, mother, and grandmother. She holds a degree in Christian education from Columbia Theological Seminary and is the former Director of Women's Ministries for the Presbyterian Church in America. She has written eight books, coauthored six, and contributed to an additional two. Five are for children.
The author is concerned to see women equipped for biblical roles in the church. This study takes its place beside others intended to provide that training.
Its fundamental purpose is to teach prayer by biblical example. It is one of over 5,700 books on prayer listed on Amazon.com, 614 of those for women. One would most likely find it distinguished from the rest by failing to promise increased happiness, self-esteem, or results.
So what does it do? The study has two foci. First, the features of "the true woman" are painted, stroke upon stroke, throughout the book. She is "a reflection of redeemed womanhood." Her authority is God's Word; her purpose is God's glory. She stands in stark contrast to the "new woman," who lives to find happiness where and how she pleases. The second focus is on the nearness of God, developed in answer to the repeated question, "How do we call on God in truth?" Its fundamental answer is: "The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth" (Ps. 145:18). These foci are not unrelated. Only true women can call on God in truth. Conversely, being a true woman is to experience God's nearness.
This is prime meat, skillfully prepared vegetables, fresh fruit, and fine wine—not baby food. The author serves up truth, plain but profound. And the reader makes a speaking acquaintance with a few of history's greatest preachers and teachers, who stride through its pages. As with the best books concerning God's Word, what you get out of this one will be in direct proportion to what you put into it. Those who compare it with Scripture, who ponder and pray over it, who take note of the deep things worth remembering—these will feast, while she who looks for a quick snack will miss the bounty.
That's not to say that the book is without errors. Page 91 cites Hebrews 12:15, interpreting "bitter root" as a bitter or resentful spirit, when the reference in all probability is to Deuteronomy 29:18, in which the "bitter root" is apostasy. In John 17:6–19, Jesus prays for the apostles, not—as the author supposes—believers in general (for whom he prays in the final section; note the transition in verse 20).
Still, I would recommend this book with enthusiasm.
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