Sep 21, 2016

Schoolhouse Homeschool Review Crew: The Pray-ers

Most of the reviews that I do for The Homeschool Review Crew are homeschool items for the kids. However, sometimes I do reviews are that are more for just me. I have always been a voracious reader, so I was happy to be asked to review a book: The Pray-ers / Book 1 Troubles written by Mark S. Mirza and published by CTM Publishing Atlanta.

The Pray-ers is a thick, paperback novel. As you could probably guess from the title and the topic of prayer, it is an overtly Christian book. It reminded me of a couple of old Christian "classics" in that it dwells heavily on the themes of spiritual warfare and specifically the parts that demons, angels, and our prayers play in that warfare.

The Pray-ers / Book 1 Troubles

Basically, The Pray-ers is the story of a demon and his attempt to rise in the demonic ranks by being a successful tempter, wooing Christians away from following God. Demons dwell in a different time frame, than we do, obviously, so the story spans the centuries as it follows his attempts to tempt three different people: Epaphras, a leader in the first century church, Alexander Rich, an itinerant preacher in the nineteenth century, and Dale Riley, a university track coach in the "current era".

Also spanning the centuries are the angels who are, of course, subtly helping the humans remain true to God. However, they are not allowed to directly interfere when doing so would keep the human from learning the lessons God plans for them to learn.

The story flips back and forth between each time period as well as between the demons and the angels, but it is fairly easy to keep track of what is going on because the chapters are well labeled.

Although the premise in and of itself is interesting, the point of the book is not to just tell an interesting story, but to teach the power of prayer and how we are supposed to pray. Footnotes to Scripture references backing up the author's beliefs are rife throughout the book.

Prayer is an extremely important part of the life of a believer, so I was quite intrigued to read this book and see what I could learn. It is obvious that the author has researched Scripture and has put a lot of thought (and prayer) into this story. I found quite a lot of food for thought and my husband and I have discussed the book and its ideas at length, which is something I truly appreciate in a book.

However, (and, unfortunately, there is an however) in many ways this book was difficult to read. I wish the editor had done his work a little more thoroughly. There were many grammatical errors that drove me crazy and so many little, nagging issues like punctuation mistakes, paragraphs not started where they should be, fragmented sentences, and the lack of proper capitalization. In the forward, he states that he deliberately chose not to capitalize the names of the demons in order to keep from giving them that respect but as the reader, I felt more disrespected than I imagine they felt. It drove me crazy but the other errors were far more aggravating.

As a child, I used to edit books with a red pen when I disagreed with the author's choices and I really wanted to to that again here just so I could focus on the story instead of the errors. I feel sad that this interesting story and powerful teaching tool was hindered by the lack of editing.

I didn't hand this book over to my kids to read because there were a lot of "adult only" themes like abortion, sex, and rape. I say "adult only" because I did not feel these were portrayed in an inappropriate or gratuitous way for a mature reader, but are not what I would be comfortable letting my twelve and thirteen year old kids read. That's just a heads-up for you... read it yourself and decide what you are okay with as far as your own family.

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The Pray-ers / Book 1 Troubles

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