Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Well Intentioned, But Flawed ~ A Book Review

Rick was kind enough to help me with another book review. He is a fast, but thorough reader. Plus he really has a way of explaining thing I enjoy. 

Jennifer Kennedy Dean has a high view of prayer. She understands its relevance as a crucial element of the Christian life. “Synced” is subtitled “Living Connected to the Heart of Jesus,” a goal which believers should pursue and which cannot be reached without serious devotion to prayer.

The main teaching of “Synced” is that the appropriation of Matthew 6:9-13 will “sync” [short for “synchronize”] an individual's desires and attitudes with those of God. The result will be a life that leads to blessings and ministry opportunities that flow naturally into one's life almost effortlessly.

This premise has the serious flaw of elevating prayer at the expense of many other spiritual elements. For example, trusting God completely [Proverbs 3:5,6] and developing a biblical worldview [Romans 12:2] are essential as well.

The use of The Model Prayer [AKA “The Lord's Prayer”] as a framework for “syncing” one's heart to God's sounds good, but Dean adorns this concept with fanciful and distracting notions which are not firmly grounded in scripture. For example, she says that this is the way Jesus prayed in private. Very little of His private prayer is recorded, and nowhere is it suggested that He called God the Father “Our Father” or asked forgiveness for personal sin. Nor do we find evidence that, as Dean asserts, our Lord's favorite reference to God in prayer was “ABBA,” a term used only three times in the New Testament, just once by Jesus, and not at all in The Model Prayer.

The promise that a heart synced by prayer leads to a life which flows effortlessly into blessings and ministry is also “out of sync” with the example of Christ, who “must needs go through Samaria,” [John 4:4] taking an unusual route, and “steadfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem,” [Luke 9:51] when He already had plenty of work which could have been done where He was. Both cases demonstrate decisions to “go against the flow” of circumstance.

In both premise and promise, “Synced” is flawed and simplistic. This book could be studied to some benefit for insights into the beauty of prayer, the faithfulness of God, and aspects of forgiveness, but constant care should be taken to compare the author's notions with scripture.

About the book:
Prayer can become extraordinary when we live connected to the heart of Jesus.

Synced encourages you to emulate the way Jesus lived His life. With real-life stories of people walking closely with Jesus, finding themselves in the right place at the right time, readers are challenged to examine what staying in step with the Spirit looks like. National best-selling author and known prayer expert, Jennifer Kennedy Dean, uses the familiar passage of the Lord's Prayer as anchor points to present the way Jesus lived His life in step with the Father through prayer.

Every moment is pregnant with purpose. Every moment is drenched in power. Prayer is no longer the means by which you attempt to get God to perform for you and becomes, instead, the means by which you connect with His heart and mind. A praying life is a life of peace and soul-rest. A praying life is lived in sync with the heart of Jesus.

Purchase a copy:

About the author:
Jennifer Kennedy Dean is executive director of the Praying Life Foundation and a respected author and speaker. The author of numerous books, studies, and magazine articles specializing in prayer and spiritual formation, her book Heart's Cry has been named National Day of Prayer's signature book, while her book Live a Praying Life® has been called a flagship work on prayer. Widely recognized as an unusually gifted communicator, Jennifer speaks all over the country calling God's people to discover the difference between a prayer life and a praying life. Jennifer is the author of such books as Altar'd, Clothed with Power, Conversations with the Most High, Life Unhindered!, Power in the Blood of Christ, Power in the Name of Jesus, Secrets Jesus Shared, Set Apart, The Power of Small, and much more. A highly demanded speaker, her engagements include respected organizations such as the Billy Graham Training Center at the Cove and Focus on the Family. She is a board member for Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, a member of America's National Prayer Committee, a member of National Professional Women Association, and national prayer director and board member for Christian Women in Media.

Connect with the author on her website, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram

This reviewer received the product free or at a discounted price in order to bring you an honest review. No other form of compensation was given. All opinions are those of the reviewer.

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