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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Review of The Pray-ers/Book 1 "Troubles" | #prayersnovel

The Pray-ers / Book 1 Troubles
I have recently finished devouring a new Christian historical fiction book, The Pray-ers / Book 1 Troubles, written by Mark S. Mirza and published by CTM Publishing Atlanta. Most of the time when I read, I stick to nonfiction but historical fiction has always been a genre I have found interesting as well. When you add in Christian historical fiction, I am intrigued.

The Pray-ers / Book 1 Troubles

Author, Mark S. Mirza, had a few goals in mind when writing The Pray-ers / Book 1 Troubles:

1)for the reader to experience prayer for themselves through his characters and

2) for the reader to enjoy their reading experience. 

The Pray-ers / Book 1 Troubles

I can say that from my perspective as a reader both of those goals were completely met!  I found it hard to put the book down once I began reading it.  That is always the sign of a great book to me.  

The Pray-ers / Book 1 Troubles is a paperback book with 372 pages and 45 chapters. It is also available as a Kindle book.   In the beginning of the book, you will find a preface explaining why the author wrote the book along with his reasonings on not capitalizing the names of demons, footnote explanations, and more. At the back of the book was one of my favorite parts as each character is listed including a little detail about them along with the era they represent. My favorite part of the character descriptions were the pronunciation keys to their names because many of them are not common names. 

The book takes place in three different eras of church history - First Century, Nineteenth Century, and the Current Era. Each era has its own hero story line to follow. Each chapter of the book tells which era you will be reading about as the book pivots back and forth between eras. The characters are connected as the current era hero, Dr. Dale Riley, is the great-great-grandson of the 19th century hero, Alexander Rich. Each of the era heroes also has the same guardian angel, Hael, looking after them.

As the story lines of each character unfolds, you find a common theme among them. They each face their own share of uncomfortable situations to deal with and you follow along as each one pours their heart out to God. You are not just told that they prayed about the situation, but you read their actual prayers over and over. Scattered all through out the book are Scripture footnotes showing the why of what the characters believe. Those are great references for any believer and I loved the way the author wrote them in to flow so well with the story lines. There are a lot of historical and Biblical facts in each story line as well. Sometimes I found it hard to separate the fact from the fiction! I loved when Mr. Mirza would give a footnote of a real event that coincided with the story such as the name of one of the character's horses being his own horse's name.

This was a great read while waiting for my children to finish basketball practice. I found the time reading so refreshing for the soul. My normal spot was at the park sitting in the van.

Here are just a few of the main characters and some of their story lines (there is a lot more for you to find out on your own):

First Century - Thales is the hero of this era. His uncle is Epaphras whom Paul spoke about in Colossians 4:12 as one who prays earnestly. Thales ( a fictitious character) learns prayer under his uncle and deals with his own feelings of falling in love with the granddaughter of the Jewish High Priest, Caiaphas.

Nineteenth Century - Alexander Rich is the hero of this era. He is a preacher in the south dealing with racism, a congregation full of accusations and gossipers, and his own feelings of love. One of his childhood friends is D.L. Moody so they often exchange letters through out the book.

Current Era - Dr. Dale Riley is the hero of this era. He is a track coach at a university who also leads a men's prayer meeting. One of his students runs into a problem with one of her papers when she gives a Christian answer that her antagonistic professor, Isabela Gonzalez, doesn't like. There lives intertwine as Professor Gonzalez is diagnosed with cancer and seeks council from Dale's praying wife, Margie.

Over and over again, the book gives prayer examples and I found myself picking up some great inspiration for my own prayer life. It was like having my own prayer mentor right by side showing me how to pray more fervently and using Scripture as my prayer. One part that really stood out to me was when was when Dr. Dale Riley was leading his men's prayer group and he gave them advice on what to do when they begin to pray and all of a sudden it seems the enemy starts throwing distractions to you at every angle. He told them to get out a piece of paper and right down what kept coming to their minds and that would help them to take the distraction off their brain. He also taught them that praying in silence is okay. Often we think of awkwardness when all is silent but sometimes that is when we hear God the best.

Here is a snapshot of the type of dialogue you will find. In this sample, you see the angel smiling, the demon (name in lower case) in an uproar because the saint is on his knees in prayer. You can also see a sample of the Scripture footnotes.

This is not a book for younger children unless you are wanting to discuss abortion, atheism, cancer, death, rape, or sex. I did not feel that the book had any inappropriate content and I do plan to let my 15 year old son read the book next. These are things that our children will be dealing with all around them if they haven't already. In the book, characters will deal with strongholds and you will see walls beginning to break down as you reach the end which is always a rejoicing and exciting time. However, you will not see their complete transformation (I'm guessing there will be one coming!) or find any definitive answers. As you read to the end, you are only left with more questions and cliffhangers as to what will happen next in their lives. You do know that they will continue to battle with spiritual warfare as you are told the sequel, The Pray-ers / Book 2 Spiritual Warfare is expected out by Christmas 2016.

I did find a few editing errors as I read but overall I would highly recommend this book to teens and adults. It is a fun and enjoyable read as well as an inspiration to a better prayer life.  The Scripture footnotes alone are a valuable resource to have at your fingertips!

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The Pray-ers / Book 1 Troubles
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