Monday, January 07, 2013

BookPastor >> "Special Intentions" (Claire Coleman)

In any culture that is self-serving, self-seeking, and self-supplying, there will be a constant asking of "What's in it for me?" That is not the way to build a caring and sharing society. In order to break the kingdom of self that revolves everything around self, we need a big does of other-centered actions. If you are looking to break your cycle of self, why not consider picking up this book? This review was first published at Panorama of a Book Saint on September 1st, 2012.


TITLE: Special Intentions: Remembering Others in Personal Prayer
AUTHOR: Claire Coleman
PUBLISHER: Bloomingdon, IN: Westbow Press, 2012, (226 pages).

Big hearts come in small prayers. Gracious hearts go out to others more than self. The dual pronged approach laces this unique book on prayers for others. In a delightful display of Philippians 2:4 in action, Coleman puts her prayers into writing, her care for others in praying, and her love for God through caring and sharing for a world in need.

This is not a book of prayers. Neither is it about prayer or how to pray. It is about keeping others in our thoughts, and in our care. It is about remembering the oft ignored, and caring for others. As sinful people, we all have a tendency toward selfishness, toward self-seeking endeavors. This book seeks to buck this trend intentionally. Instead of "good intentions," the title of the book is geared toward seeing people as unique and precious. The front paints a very meaningful reflecting of needs as best as we can. The more we can observe with our various senses of the needs around us, the better we can pray. The little drop of water at the end of the leaf resembles a tear drop. For me, it means authenticity and a deepening connection with the people being prayed for. I love this image.

There are reflections of life and of prayers about loving one another. There is an empathetic ear toward listening for the burdens for others. There is a growing awareness of gratitude and an encouragement to persevere when the times are tough. Coleman remembers the very public figures like politicians, the law-enforcement officers, the public servants, to the very private moments with personal friends. She observes buildings and structures with gratitude. She echoes the cries of people in dire straits. She prays over the ups and downs of people from different walks of life. She even covers the emotional turmoil over the dying of pet animals. From people in hospices and hospitals, to busy executives in the office, from the school classrooms to prisoners in a lonely cell, Coleman's capacity to think deeply and care widely is amazing. It takes an observant eye to see beyond the obvious. It takes a meditative heart to pray continually. Above all, it demonstrates a love for people, the way that God loves people. Thank God for authors like Claire Coleman, who shows us through "Special Intentions," that it is not only possible to love beyond ourselves and our own needs, it is a delight and a privilege to do so.

The biggest benefit in reading this book is to learn from Coleman a very unique way of plumbing human needs and emotions beyond the superficial layer of a Hi-Bye society. It will cause us to pause our busyness, and to remember a higher cause for good. For Christians, this cause will always be love. Use this book for group prayers. Use it for personal praying. Not only will it be a small step to make the world a better place, it is a big step to grow our inner hearts to be a more loving grace.

Rating: 4.5 stars of 5.


This book is provided to me free by the author and Maryglenn McCombs book publicist without any obligation for a positive review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

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