Good books are rarely written in times of pleasure; most are written under pressure. This book emerged at a time in my life where I was facing tremendous pressures and challenges due to the unexpected death of my wife. She had breast cancer and died in 2009 at the age of 44, less than one year after the cancer was detected. For her, death was a release from suffering. For us, it was—and still is—a very harsh loss. Coping with a significant loss like this while working full-time and caring for my three sons (11, 16, and 19 years old at the time) was not easy!
Suffering, pain, and the experience of significant loss through death poses some of the most acute temptations of faith. The doubt that suffering initiates even has the potential to destroy our faith. All of a sudden, general responses and traditional answers make no sense.
Where do you turn for hope when your world crumbles under your feet? When I had to face this harsh reality in my own life, I started to practice the very things I mention in my book, and this helped me to stay spiritually sane and even joyful. It also helped me to remember where God had answered prayer and blessed me. This book is an exciting exercise against spiritual forgetfulness.
What distinguishes this book is its clear focus on God and the Bible as foundational to our spiritual relationship with Jesus. Besides the Bible, any spiritual growth should have prayer at its foundation. This double focus on Scripture and prayer is the strength of this book. It includes a brief introduction on how to read the Bible for all it’s worth and how to mark your Bible so that you make yourself familiar with the Scriptures. You can even give it to someone who is not familiar with the Bible. It makes a wonderful gift for baptisms, weddings, birthdays, neighbors, and colleagues, and it will foster spiritual renewal in the church.
For every day of the year, there is a suggested Bible passage from the Old Testament and the New Testament along with space to jot down your insights and discoveries. Within one year, if you follow the suggested reading plan, you will have read through the entire Bible. Of course, you can go at a slower pace if that is your preference.
For every day of the year, there is also room for prayer requests and prayer notes. And on every other page throughout the book, there are inspirational quotes on the Bible and prayer.
• At the end of every month, there is a short section on prayer, where 12 practical suggestions are given to invigorate your prayer life. Here I touch on different aspects: how to praise God, how to develop an attitude of gratitude, how to pray with the words of Scripture in a meaningful way for others, and how to encourage others. I also talk about some difficult things: what to do when your prayers are not answered, how to get rid of bitterness and grudges in your life, and prayer and fasting.
The helpful suggestions on prayer are intended to be spiritual impulses rather than rigid prescriptions. They have been tried and tested in my own life and will open up new horizons for your own spiritual time with God.
* Frank M. Hasel, Longing for God: A Prayer and Bible Journal (Nampa, ID: Pacific Press, 2017).
Frank M. Hasel is a General Conference associate director of the Biblical Research Institute.
The book Longing for God has several features that make it unique and set it apart from other journals:
• It focuses deliberately on God and His Word as the foundation of our relationship with Jesus and our spiritual life.
• Longing for God is not just empty pages for journaling. At the end of every month, 12 times throughout the year, there are very practical suggestions that will invigorate your prayer life and spiritual walk. These are intended to be spiritual impulses rather than rigid prescriptions. They will inspire you to try out new things in your relationship with God and in your prayers. You will love it, and you will be blessed.
• You will learn how to meaningfully pray for yourself, for your children, for other people, for missionaries, for your neighbors, etc., as well as learn how to pray with a prayer-partner or spouse.
• Some chapters deal with tough questions, such as: What happens when we pray and wait for answers? How do we get rid of bitter feelings and grudges? How do you pray and fast?
• You’ll also find inspirational quotes about the Bible and prayer sprinkled throughout the book. At the end of the book, there are suggestions for special prayer emphases for each day of the week.
• Longing for God is written in such a way that it can be a blessing even to those who are not familiar with the Bible or who are new believers.
• It is highly practical and easy to use and has an appealing layout and design.
Longing for God is available now at your Adventist Book Center. Why not use this powerful, inspiring book that will help you put your prayer life on a whole new foundation?