Book review: 'A Year of Powerful Prayer' offers daily direction for gaining answers to prayer

By Cecily Markland

For the Deseret News

Published: Sunday, March 17 2013 5:00 a.m. MDT

"A YEAR OF POWERFUL PRAYER: Getting Answers for Your Life Every Day," Deseret Book, $17.99, 409 pages (nf)

“A Year of Powerful Prayer: Getting Answers for Your Life Every Day,” released earlier this year by Deseret Book, is a collection of 365 devotionals, with a message about prayer for every day of the year.

While at first glance the collection may seem somewhat rudimentary, even a casual perusal of the contents reveals much more. The selections include important guidance and thought-provoking examples and quotes from past and present general authorities of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and other gospel scholars, including President Spencer W. Kimball, Elders Vaughn J. Featherstone, Neal A. Maxwell, Joseph B. Wirthlin, Gerald N. Lund and Bruce R. McConkie, Sister Patricia Holland, S. Michael Wilcox, Truman G. Madsen and many others.

Taken individually, the writings are interesting and inspirational. As a whole, they build upon one another, offering a way to significantly increase one's understanding of the process of prayer and to turn routine prayers into powerful daily communion and worship.

Here, in one volume, are valuable answers regarding why prayer is important and how and when prayers should be offered: “Prayer … can be a very deep and soul-satisfying experience,” writes Elder Maxwell, a late member of the LDS Church's Quorum of the Twelve.

Mormon scholar and author Robert L. Millett explains, “We pray to better understand what we can do on our own and what we can do only with divine assistance.”

In addition, there are excellent examples and instruction about overcoming obstacles to prayer, improving the quality of our prayers and recognizing the answers that come: “The more faithful we become in keeping the Lord’s commandments and putting first things first in our lives, the more we open the doors of communication with the heavens,” Millet writes.

Whether read straight through or taken as a daily dose of direction, by the end the reader will have, indeed, had “A Year of Powerful Prayer” — and, in that year, they will have changed and will have greater understanding and conviction that the final quote by President Gordon B. Hinckley applies to them personally; for, as he says, “Prayer unlocks the powers of heaven in our behalf. … You need the help of the Lord.”

Cecily Markland is a freelance writer, book editor, publicist and author of "Hope: One Mile Ahead" and the children’s book "If I Made a Bug." She owns Inglestone Publishing and produces cecilymarkland.com, a calendar of LDS events in Arizona.

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