We have a different kind of Homeschool Review Crew review to share with you today: a book review of Mark S. Mirza’s novel, The Pray-ers / Book 1 Troubles, published by CTM Publishing Atlanta.
About The Pray-ers by Mark S. Mirza
Mark S. Mirza describes himself as a prayer teacher and preacher, and it is obvious from this book that he is a very gifted teacher who has been granted a great deal of wisdom about prayer and the spiritual realm.
The book has a number of different settings, one in Bible times following the life of Biblical Epaphras and his fictional nephew, one in post-Civil War Georgia following the life of real itinerant preacher Alexander Rich, and one in modern-day Georgia following the life of a fictional descendant of Alexander Rich. In addition to these, there are scenes with angels and demons in the spiritual realm related to each of those historical settings. There are also a lot of secondary characters to get to know and keep straight. This can be a little confusing, but I found it manageable for the most part. The characters in each setting learn about prayer as they go about their daily lives.
My Thoughts about The Pray-ers
I really wanted to like this book. I was so excited when I watched the introductory video because it sounded awesome!
The book has so much potential and is actually full of excellent teaching about prayer, but the editing really let it down in my opinion. The characters were well-developed and I really did care what happened to them, but the action was extremely slow and the book itself is quite preachy and didactic. I spent the first half of the book just trying to get through it, but then I started getting into it about halfway in (far too late as books go, but I least I did at some point.) In the last few chapters, things started really happening and I thought, “Finally!” and then it abruptly ended with very little resolution which I found quite disappointing.
I had hoped to share this with my 12-year old daughter, but aside from the fact that I don’t think she’d enjoy it due to the lack of action, it includes some mature content including thoughts of a married man about his wife and discussions of premarital sex, abortion, and alleged rape so I decided not to share it with her after all. None of these are handled in an inappropriate manner for an adult reader. The latter three are in the context of believers dealing with regrets from past decisions and how gossip affects believing communities. They just aren’t things I want to have to explain to my 12-year old for the sake of this book.
I do want to reiterate that this book is full of great teaching on prayer. I highlighted many gems of wisdom, learned a lot, and found myself praying more often and more effectively while reading it. So in that, it is a definite win.
Here are four of my favorite quotes from the book. I’ve made images from them so that you can pin and remember them as they are full of wisdom!
Instead of trying to attain victory by doing battle against a demon, our role in spiritual warfare is to allow the already victorious Jesus to live through us.
“My responsibility is to be obedient, for God demonstrates time and time again who He is and that He can be trusted.” Hael
“The key, when you are praying for direction, is first to have no unconfessed sins in your life, and then trust God to give you no peace until you find His will.” Alexander Rich
What you do not gain by works, you cannot lose by works.” Aikaterine
This last one was my favorite quote, and I’ve found myself pondering it several times in the time since I finished the book. What an encouraging reminder that it’s all grace!
I received a complimentary copy of The Pray-ers from the author in exchange for my review. Other members of the Homeschool Review Crew are also reviewing this book so please check out the Crew Blog Post for this book to see what they thought of it.