Friday, April 4, 2014

Book Review: Praying for Your Husband from Head to Toe

I admit, I don't normally read Protestant books these days. There are too many gems yet undiscovered in my Catholic faith to be muddling around in Protestant waters, yet I picked up this book because I was hoping that it would inspire me to be more focused in prayer when I pray for my husband. Mission accomplished! This book takes the reader through 30 days of Scripture-based prayer very specifically focused on different areas of his life.

It starts out with an introduction to the importance of prayer for others and specifically within a marriage. So often women pray for their husbands with the hope that their husbands will change (he is in the wrong, isn't he?). I like that the author reminds wives that:
"Prayer is not a means of gaining control over your husband, to whip him into shape and make him the man you want him to be. Prayer is a means of relinquishing control of your husband and asking God to shape him into the man that He wants him to be. Prayer involves turning the finger that points out your man's faults and folding it along with the others in prayer." - p. 11
The next section of the book covers the "landmarks" of prayer which will be prayed each day. These "landmarks" are body parts which symbolically correspond to aspects of a man's life and faith. For example, the hands landmark symbolizes a man's work, his side corresponds to his relationships, his mouth corresponds to the words which he speaks. There are 16 landmark body parts covered in all.

The majority of the book contains 30 days worth of prayer. Each day contains a short prayer for each landmark plus an accompanying Scripture on which the prayer draws its inspiration. There are additional appendixes containing prayer for your husband's conversion, his fatherhood and his healing. 

I went through seven days of prayer (admittedly not consecutively) and enjoyed what I saw. Each day took about 10-15 minutes to go through all the landmarks. The book inspired me to truly focus on the many areas of my husbands life, many areas which I don't often think about. I sometimes fall into a rut of praying only "God, please bless my husband" with no specific application in mind. These written prayers helped me see the many ways in which I can think about his needs. It also helped me to stretch beyond desperate personal prayers and to think more about my husband than about myself.

I did admittedly get a little bored with the formula after awhile. The prayers are written in a "from the heart" style which I prefer to pray off the cuff. I do love rote prayer on occasion, but I'm used to beautiful, poetic rote prayers which stretch beyond my natural ability but which nevertheless perfectly express some deep need of the heart. I liked the prayers of the book to the extent that they gave me ideas to build on, and I do think that was the author's intention.

Still, my Catholic heart missed appeals to the saints and I certainly did direct some of these prayers to the saints that I love. I felt like the entire section on prayer for my husband's fatherhood might be directed to God through the intercession of St. Joseph. His conversion through the intercession of my particularly beloved sisters, St. Faustina or St. Therese.

For the most part, Praying for Your Husband from Head to Toe was an interesting foray into intensive Scripture-based prayer. It inspired me to pray for my husband in ways which I never had before. To me, it was more suited as a library book check-out than a book to own and read again and again. 

I received this book for free from Blogging For Books for this review.

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