I am very happy to preview the now-finished manuscript for my new book,
"Call Him, He's Home: Learning Prayer to Start and Grow Your Relationship with God"
Below is an excerpt to give a sense of what the book is about in a chapter cleverly titled,
"What Is This Book About?"
In the meantime, let me know what you think of the excerpt, about the blog or about life in general. It would be nice to hear from you.
As always you can find all of my published work here. If you missed any of my previous posts, take a look and let me know what you think.
I'd also like to thank my intrepid editor, Pam Lagomarsino, who is the owner of Above The Pages Editorial Services. Pam also has a dedicated Facebook page for her business if you prefer to connect with her that way.
What Is This Book About?
This book has a very specific purpose: to help busy people incorporate prayer into their lives and, in so doing, help them begin or enhance their relationship with God.
I intend for it to lower the perceived barriers to entry that have scared off prospective members of the body of Christ. Barriers like complexity, rules, excess ceremony, and even ideas that conflict with Jesus’ words. As I learned in sales training when I was just a pup, “a confused mind always says no.”
I want to caution readers that this is not some be-all, end-all prayer book. It is not an academic study of prayer or a scholarly biblical volume. Brilliant, inspired people have labored lifetimes to create such books, and they have the academic credentials and gravitas to do that.
I have neither. I am a believer. A child of God. No more. No less.
The approach is to simplify and remove the excess baggage that prayer carries around, which causes people to put it off or avoid it.
Prayer is your channel for communication with Almighty God. Over the centuries, different churches, belief systems, and cultures have developed many rules and requirements that, while well-meaning, do not come from God.
Rituals, customs, and guidelines are fine as long as they do not impede your access to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who is always available to you when you call on Him in prayer.
The underlying assumption of this book is there is no need for anyone between you and God. Certainly, there are teachers who can help you understand God’s nature, your faith, its teachings, and its writings. But you don’t need them to pray. All you need is the intention to speak to Him.
Everyone has heard of the WWJD bracelets that made the rounds a few years ago. It stands for “What Would Jesus Do?” and the bracelets remind us to respond like Jesus with patience, mercy, kindness, and love.
Jesus accepted all people, regardless of their past. The Jewish leaders criticized Him for spending time with sinners (tax collectors, prostitutes, thieves, and so forth), but Jesus told them He came to save the sinners.
He loved everyone, even if He was in conflict with them. Even the men who were crucifying Him were forgiven. “Forgive them; they don’t know what they’re doing” (Luke 23:34 MSG).
He performed miracles, healed sick people, taught us how to live together in a holy way, and then, in a final act of mercy and love, allowed Himself (His God-perfect, almighty self!) to be killed like a criminal—a sacrifice for the sins of the world, including mine and yours.
And then, three days later, He even defeated death by rising from the dead.
“There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends”
- John 15:13 NLT
It is this grace, humility, and sacrifice that people miss if they are too quick to dismiss Christians as political operatives and closed-minded zealots. Because God is love, love is Jesus, and Jesus is God.
When you know Jesus, the Son of God, the One who lived among people as a man, you cannot help but love Him and respect what He did for everyone, including you and me.
Who Is It Written For?
I wrote this book for people who want to explore a relationship with Jesus but have been dissuaded by the complexity and the frequent noise that surrounds many in the church. They are confused and even intimidated by the perceived complexity, and turned off, ironically, by the harsh judgment of themselves and others.
It is also for people with too much going on. They have too many priorities, and they plan to settle down with Jesus when life settles down.
Unfortunately, that time may never come.
For all readers, when you finish reading, I hope you say, “Gee, I didn’t realize praying was so easy.”
What Is the Most Important Thing I Should Learn from It?
That prayer enables you to do everything you can for God, just as it reminds you that He does everything for you.
What Can You Do for God?
You may be wondering what we, as mere human beings, can actually do for the creator of heaven and earth and everything in both. In truth, God needs very little. The list of things we can do for Him is short, but He loves His children, and He loves when we do these things for Him.
You Can Thank Him
Not the reflexive “thank God” that we sometimes throw around, like when you get to the movie just before it starts. Do you express sincere gratitude, focusing on God, who He is, and all of what He has done for you?
You can thank God every time you pray.
You Can Trust Him
People talk about letting go of difficulties, not worrying about them, or letting them take care of themselves.
Things do not 'take care of themselves.' God handles everything, whether or not you acknowledge Him in it. He will always work out any problem for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28).
To let go of things you have no control over—which is most things—is the action behind your trust of God.
You tell God you trust Him every time you pray, simply by the act of praying.
You Can Praise Him
Those of us who are overly busy and overwhelmed tend to take some things—perhaps many things—for granted. Family, career, the Red Sox, and your church all get taken for granted sometimes. Even if you consciously know they are not the most important priorities of your life.
The busy person is more likely to take God for granted. Sometimes, it is an entire lifetime of putting God somewhere at the back of the line when it comes to priorities.
God doesn’t need your praise. He can get along without it. He does not need validation either. But praise is a good way to show God you love Him. If you look around, you will see many reasons to praise God. You can praise God every time you pray. He loves you, and He loves your praise.
You Can Worship Him
Worship is acknowledging God’s holiness and your decision to follow Him. If you have not yet done so, declaring your decision to follow the Lord is your first act of worship.
You can worship God every time you pray.
You Can Love Him
Understand that God doesn’t need you to love Him. God doesn’t need anything.
But He wants you to love Him. And He wants you to know He loves you. And because it is real love He wants, he doesn’t make us love Him. It is up to us whether or not we love Him.
It is the one thing we can give God in return for all He has done for us.
You tell God you love Him every time you pray.
It is not complicated. It really isn’t.
Because even though the world is an inconceivably complex system of systems... of systems, your relationship with God is binary. Your options are:
Accept the gift of eternal life
(Which was bought and paid for by Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and the perfect sacrifice for the sins of all mankind including you.)
Choose some other direction
There is no third option. Either you accept His love, or you don’t.
And it’s your choice.
He wants you to be in Heaven after your life on earth to live eternally with Him.
Simply saying from your heart that you want Jesus to come into your life and be a part of you is all you need to do. Committing to Jesus is easy, and what makes it easy is you can do this—the most powerful thing you can do in your life—in prayer!