Somehow, I’ve discovered that I am on a few publishers’ lists of book reviewers. It’s really cool, because I get free books to read. 🙂 It is also wonderful, because every now and then I get a little gem that is truly amazing.
Today, I’m reviewing Face to Face: Seeking a Personal Relationship with God by S. Michael Wilcox.
Product description: “And the Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend” (Exodus 33:11).
“Is it possible to talk with God as Moses did—face to face? This is not only what we long for, but what God also ardently desires. For Moses that may have meant an actual physical encounter, but for most of us it is an expression that suggests friendship, open communication, honesty, and the conversations of familiarity. But how is that done? And how can we learn how God speaks to us individually? Bestselling author S. Michael Wilcox explores the scriptural expressions and concepts of ‘pouring out,’ ‘wrestling,’ being ‘filled with desire’ and ‘knocking’ at the door Jesus promised would open to us— particularly in those times when we deeply need heaven to hear us and to confirm to our souls that more than our words are being received.”
I have a confession to make: Before reading this book, my prayers were kind of like e-mails. I would say “hi” to God, then give him a list of things I was thankful for, then ask for a few things for myself and my family, and then a quick good-bye. I didn’t often wait for a reply, because I’m as busy as the next mom. Many times, it was just one more thing that I checked off my to-do list.
This book changed the way I look at prayer and opened my eyes to the many different ways that we can communicate with our Heavenly Father. Each time I read a chapter, I put into practice the method Wilcox suggested. I learned to “pour out” my soul to God, and I discovered a deep cleansing and sense of peace. I thought about a particular challenge I was having to understand why some of God’s promises for me had not yet been fulfilled, and I “wrestled” with it. It was like was just waiting for me to ask, and He filled me with understanding.
I learned that there is a place for my daily checking-in, e-mail kind of prayers, as long as they are heart-felt and do not become rote. Those prayers form a habit of “knocking,” and through those prayers, I come closer to God.
So, has reading this book profoundly changed the way I communicate with God? Yes and no. I still recite a laundry list of blessings I am grateful for, because I can’t imagine going a single day without telling God how thankful I am for my wonderful husband, my beautiful kids, the scriptures and His presence in my life. I still have a list of people I’d like Him to bless, because I know there are so many people who are hurting in the world, and I believe my prayers make a difference.
But sometimes, when my soul is heavy, I come to a more intimate place where I can pour out my deepest, darkest feelings to Him. It is a cleansing experience, a healing experience, an uplifting experience. And I know that I can come to Him with questions that I might wrestle with, and He will give me answers.
This book, though short, is beautifully written with wonderful stories to illustrate the points that Wilcox makes. Although Wilcox is of the LDS faith, he uses examples from several different faiths, including Judaism, Christianity and Buddhism, to explore the concepts. I highly recommend this book to anyone who would like to deepen their relationship with God through prayer.
You can purchase Face to Face at DeseretBook.com or in store at a Deseret Book near you. It is currently 10% off the list price of $18.99.