Gleaned from the Saturday Review and Other Places

Thanks to Carrie for pointing me to this review of Praying for Strangers by River Jordan. I’m intrigued by the idea of this book about an author who decides to choose one stranger to pray for each day. My first thought after reading about Ms. Jordan’s resolution was, “I could do that!” Then, I read at her blog that Ms. Jordan not only prays for a stranger each day, but she also often feels led to tell the person that she will be praying and asks for prayer requests. That’s a little more intimidating. See, I’m really rather shy and reserved. The idea of going up to a complete stranger and telling them that I’ll be praying for them is, well, actually terrifying. So I’ve been praying for a stranger each day for the past three days, but I haven’t told anyone about it, especially not the person I prayed for, until I wrote this post.

I also downloaded the book for my Kindle and started reading it today. I’m intrigued, and I can see the benefit to me and to others of actually talking, getting my stranger’s name, and telling the person that I’ll be praying for him or her. I’m just not sure I have enough courage to do it. Maybe in the pages of Ms. Jordan’s book, I’ll find the gumption and unselfishness to move me to talk to strangers. Maybe I’ll just continue to talk to God about the people He brings across my path. Either way I’m expecting God to work through this prayer thing, even though I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t really understand how or why prayer works.

On another note, I found a few other books at Borders and at Barnes and Noble that I’d like to read soon. I didn’t buy anything, but I’ll be looking for these books at the library soon:

Decision Points by George W. Bush. I’m a Bush fangirl, and I’ve been meaning to read his book. But I sort of forgot about it, so I was happy to be reminded whe I saw it in the bookstore.
Truman by David McCullough. Another president, another biography by the author of John Adams. I expect to enjoy learning more about Mr. Truman when I get around to this one.
The Last Greatest Magician in the World: Howard Thurston versus Houdini & the Battles of the American Wizards by Jim Steinmeyer. I heard the author of this book talking about Thurston and Houdini on NPR, and I thought then that I would like to read the book. However, it’s another one I had forgotten until I saw it displayed in the bookstore.
Fortunate Sons: The 120 Chinese Boys Who Came to America, Went to School, and Revolutionized an Ancient Civilization by Leil Leibovitz and Matthew Miller. “In 1872, under the auspices of the Chinese Educational Mission, 120 Chinese boys were sent to the U.S. to attend elite colleges, absorb the best this mysterious country could offer, and return to enrich China with their experiences and knowledge.” (Booklist) Why does this subject sound so fascinating to me?
The First Clash: The Miraculous Greek Victory at Marathon and Its Impact on Western Civilization by Jim Lacey. And this one, too?

Right now, in addition to the prayer book, I’m reading a book about Louisa and John Quincy Adams called Cannibals of the Heart: A Personal Biography of Louisa Catherine and John Quincy Adams. The book is annoying me in some ways because the author, Jim Shepherd, seems to have no sympathy for John Quincy Adams at all. In fact, his portrayal of JQA makes one wonder how in the world he ever would have managed to get a job as local dogcatcher much less world famous diplomat, senator, U.S. president, and legislator. Mr. Shepherd likes Louisa a lot more and tries to induce his readers to feel sorry for her and her lot as an early nineteenth century woman, enslaved and dominated by the men in her life, especially the irascible Mr. Adams. I’m sure she was in a pitiable state and one at which I would have chafed, but Mr. Shepherd’s obvious and heavy-handed partisanship makes me want to take JQA’s side just to be contrary. Still, I’m finding the life story of of this Washington power couple to be full of interest and excitement, not to mention historical significance. I’ll be writing more about the Adams family soon, I’m sure.

I will finish my posts on the 40 Inspirational Classics for Lent, too. I’ve been in the midst of a blogging block or dry spell or something the past few days, so my 40 Classics posts may go past Easter and into the time of feasting after Easter. But that’s OK with me.

5 thoughts on “Gleaned from the Saturday Review and Other Places

  1. You really do need to read Praying for Strangers because River Jordan considers herself a shy person too. I’m so excited because she’ll be here for a lunch event next week and I can’t wait to see what she has to say.

  2. I pray for strangers now and then, but I’ve never done so methodically. Still anything that gets you to pray or to think about prayer, which is a fascinating topic, is a good thing.

  3. It does sound like an amazing idea – I’m with you on the shy thing, though. My mom read Decision Points and said it was very good – very honest.

  4. We had visitors to our church (family members of one of our families). Their road trip to NE Oregon was very long and they usually come twice a year. “How do you spend your time in the car?” I asked.

    They did many of the same things we do on road trips: listen to music, sing, listen to an audio book, sermons, play the alphabet game or the license plate game. But one thing caught my attention.

    “We often pray for the people in cars around us. We ask God to bless their lives, to help them with their struggles, to give them strength for what lies ahead.”

    “Out loud, together?” I asked. “Yes.” For long stretches at a time. That fascinated me.

    So now I’m interested in Praying for Strangers. Thank you, Sherry. Thank you, Carrie!

  5. Thank you for this post. I have added most of these books to my TBR list. You have some good stuff! The biographies definitely intrigue me.

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