As a young mother, Suzanne “Suzie” Eller struggled to find the words to pray, despite prayer lists or formulas. She wanted to hear from Jesus. She wanted to have intimate talks with Him like she would a dear friend. When she didn’t know how to pray in difficult seasons of her life, Suzie found the words as she studied Bible passages. What stood out to her in scripture about who God is and how He sees her helped her start a conversation with Him. In “Prayer Starters: Talking with God about Hard Times,” Suzie wanted to share this knowledge she gained and provide a resource for women to help them start conversations with God during those difficult seasons in life.
Suzie organized the daily prayer starters into three parts. Each part has 30 prayer starters she’s written for the reader, with a total of 90 conversations to have with God. Her prayers have headers, such as “What Are You Asking Me to Do, Lord?” and “When Your Heart Is Bummer Out, Burned Out.” The prayers she has written also have titles, such as “I’m Really Tired, Lord,” “Help Me Choose My Battles,” and “Take My Anxious Thoughts.” She wrote a Bible verse to correspond with each passage at the end of each prayer/day.
Suzie also included a concordance of sorts with scriptures that covered topics like “healing,” “hope,” and “protection” to encourage readers at the end of her book. Most days ended with questions for the reader to answer and extra space for them to write to personalized prayers. Readers can choose to start with day 1 and proceed in that fashion, or search by title for what speaks to them based on what’s going on in their lives.
The electronic advance copy of this book doesn’t have illustrations, but I believe the finished work will have them. Suzie said she liked to color and draw in her journal and Bible, so she left space for readers to do the same in this prayer book. She wanted readers to write down the date of specific prayers and prayer requests. They can then go back and write the answer received as a way to thank God and celebrate what He has done in their lives. It’s also a nice reminder that God does listen. He loves and cares for us.
I have wanted to hear from God the way others in my life have told me they’ve heard from Him. Some would say things like, “God told me,” “God gave me a sign,” and I thought He literally spoke to them. But God doesn’t speak to Christians as He did to Moses or later to the apostle Paul. He speaks to Christians through His word, the Bible, and at times, He uses people around us to speak truth to us as well from His word. I learned that as I made my Bible time a priority. But I still struggled in my prayer life, which is why I asked to read and review this advance copy. When words have left me, I can look up a prayer that corresponds to what’s going on in my head and heart. Many of her prayers resonated with what was going on in my life and helped me start a conversation with God.
Prayer isn’t about the eloquence or quantity of our words, Suzie said. The Holy Spirit prays for us. He hears our groans. If we have no words, we can sit in silence. We just need to intentionally seek God and show up. God is already there waiting for us.
Thank you to Netgalley and Bethany House and Baker Publishing Group for the opportunity to read and review this ARC. You can preorder Suzie’s “Prayer Starters” here or here to receive after it releases on Oct. 11, 2022. I plan to buy this book for myself, and I have a feeling this will be one I also purchase as a gift for friends and family, along with colored pencils, of course. #PrayerStarters #NetGalley
Note: Suzanne Eller co-hosts a podcast called “More Than Small Talk” with Holley Gerth and Jennifer Watson. About this podcast: “If you want more peace and less stress, more vulnerability and less trying to be perfect, more hope and less hustle this is the podcast for you.” She also hosts a podcast with the same title as the book “Prayer Starters” through KLRC Podcast Network. About this podcast: “Each episode begins with a scripture, offers a drop of encouragement, and ends with a prayer starter that invites you to talk to God, right where you are.”