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Hillsong UNITED Brings EMPIRES Tour To The United States

Nashville, Tenn. (February 3, 2016) – After recent stops in India, Singapore and Indonesia, Billboard Music Award winners Hillsong UNITED will bring their highly acclaimed EMPIRES tour to the United States, featuring special guests Rend Collective. In their first touring return to North America since 2013, EMPIRES tour will kick off February 11 in Sunrise, Fla. and end with two dates in Honolulu, Hawaii. Due to sold-out shows, additional dates have already been added to the band’s U.S. trek. 

The Australian-based Hillsong UNITED has a long history of sold-out shows in the United States, including notable venues such as the famed Hollywood Bowl (Los Angeles), Staples Center (Los Angeles), Red Rocks (Denver), ShoWare Center (Seattle), Gwinnett Center (Atlanta) and BankUnited Center (Miami). Hillsong UNITED holds the record for largest attendance ever in the Sears Centre Arena (Chicago, IL), outdrawing concerts there by such legendary performers as Billy Joel, Elton John and the Eagles. Since 2006, Hillsong UNITED has toured six continents and 42 nations. 

“We haven’t really done our own thing in the USA since WelcomeZion 2013, so we are super excited to be bringing the EMPIRES tour to the states,” shares Joel Houston of Hillsong UNITED.  “We write songs to be sung with people – they are always for the people – so when we get to sing these songs with people on the road, it is the purpose of why we do what we do! We can’t wait to worship with people singing all the new EMPIRES songs as well as everyone’s favorites.”

“Say The Word,” the latest single from Hillsong UNITED’s EMPIRES is currently impacting radio. The track picked up 30 adds in only two weeks. EMPIRES strongly debuted in Spring 2015 at No. 1 on Billboard’s Christian Albums Chart and No. 5 on the Billboard Top 200. The album was met with appearances on The Today Show and Yahoo! along with critical acclaim from the likes of USA Today and The New York Times which remarked their talent as “a musical powerhouse.” 

Hillsong United Tour 2016

For more information on the EMPIRES tour, visit hillsong.com/united/#tours.

EMPIRES 2016 Tour
February 11 – BB&T Center – Sunrise, FL
February 12 – CFE Arena (University of Central Florida) – Orlando, FL
February 13/14 – USF Sun Dome – Tampa, FL
February 15 – Smoothie King Center – New Orleans, LA
February 16 – FedEx Forum – Memphis, TN
February 18 – Cedar Park Center – Austin, TX
February 19 – American Airlines Center – Dallas, TX
February 20 – United Supermarkets Arena (Texas Tech University) – Lubbock, TX
February 22 – Gila River Arena – Phoenix, AZ
February 23 – Citizens Business Bank Arena – Ontario, CA
February 26/27 – Neal Blaisdell Arena – Honolulu, HI

About UNITED:
UNITED is a worship band that originally rose out of the youth ministry of Hillsong Church in Sydney, Australia. This progressive worship band is a global recording and touring entity sent out to share the ever-evolving worship music of Hillsong Church to an international audience through live performances and records. UNITED desires to see a generation across the earth awakened to real love, rising up with hearts as one and finding value in the broken, hurting and lost connecting with Jesus.

The Billboard Music Award winner’s newest record EMPIRES debuted at No. 5 on the Billboard Top 200 to critical support from The New York Times, The Today Show, USA Today and Yahoo! Most recently, Hillsong UNITED was named the Top Christian Artist of 2015 by Billboard Magazine. Selling out venues across multiple continents, Hillsong UNITED have filled major U.S. venues including Staples Center (Los Angeles), Radio City Music Hall (New York City), Red Rocks Amphitheater (Denver) and more. It is estimated that over 30 million people sing their songs each week, among those, their platinum selling single “Oceans.”

About Hillsong Church:
In August 1983, Brian and Bobbie Houston founded the Hills Christian Life Centre in the Hills District of Sydney, Australia. It has grown from a congregation of 45 to what is said to be the largest local church in Australian history. It has now expanded to be a global church with local expressions in significant cities; with churches in Australia, London, New York, Los Angeles, Paris, Cape Town, Stockholm, Germany, Kiev, Amsterdam and Copenhagen. Each week, tens of thousands of people across the globe call Hillsong Church ‘home’ and the reach, impact and influence of this local congregation is seen across many nations.

Order your own copy of  Open Heaven/River Wild today.

Open Heaven/River Wild

Q&A with Becky Thompson

We had the awesome pleasure of interviewing Becky Thompson, author of the upcoming book,Hope Unfolding Hope Unfolding. Below she talks about her initial success as a blogger, dealing with loneliness as a mother, and the book writing process.

1. Becky, your hugely successful blog, Scissortail SILK, began as a fashion blog. How did it transform into a place to share your heart with other young mothers?

I began my blog, Scissortail SILK, because a boutique owner asked if I was fashion blogger. It’s an interesting story that I actually share in Hope Unfolding, but my intentions were to simply post fun outfits and glimpses into my life. As I began to write, I quickly realized that I didn’t just want to tell women how to feel good by wearing certain clothes. I wanted each reader to know that her worth is found in Jesus. I wanted her to be confident of God’s love for her. I suppose the most authentic story we have to tell is the one that always rises to the top. For me, encouraging other women and reminding them of God’s love is the truest message I have to share.

2. Your blog receives more than a million page views each month. In the beginning, did the overwhelming response from women surprise you?

Six months after I first began the blog I wrote a post late one night about the importance of remembering to be a wife after becoming a momma. When I woke up the next morning, I was shocked by the response. The post was shared over 700,000 times, and my readership grew from one thousand monthly page visitors to one million monthly page visitors. In the months following, I received thousands of messages from women across the world who had been encouraged by what they had read. It was a lot to process as these women trusted me with their stories and shared their hearts with me. But I knew that if I always pointed them back to Jesus, if I always reminded them of God’s goodness and His grace, I would always have the answer that they needed to hear the most.

3. For those of us who aren’t in the daily trenches of motherhood, what are some of the greatest unexpressed needs among mothers today?

More than anything, I think moms need to know that they are not alone. They need support, but they also need to feel seen in the stories of their own lives. Beyond this, they need to know that their best is good enough and that God doesn’t expect perfection from them.

4. Loneliness is one of the main topics discussed in Hope Unfolding. With women connecting online in ways previous generations were never able to, what role do you think social media has played in either increasing or decreasing isolation for young mothers?

I think that social media has created a way for mothers to be connected unlike any other generation before us. But while we live so much of our lives online, with access to millions of other moms, I don’t think that there has ever been a time when mothers have felt more alone. I fear we lack authentic relationships and community as we exchange them for digital friendships. We know facts about one another, which makes us feel like we are known, but we don’t get to connect deeply by sharing the realest places of our hearts. This is why I am so passionate about the online community of Scissortail SILK. As mothers across the world reach out for friendship and support from other moms, it is my hope that Scissortail SILK exists as a grace-filled place where women can encourage one another and say, “You’re not alone. You’re welcome here. I have been there too! Let’s talk about what really matters.”

5. The notion of grace seems to saturate many of today’s Christian messages. Why is a true understanding of grace so important to a mother’s emotional and spiritual well-being?

Mom-guilt is a real thing. We are constantly replaying the moments in our day where we feel like we have been less than perfect. We wonder if we should have handled certain things differently. We fear we are ruining our children with our own inadequacies. The truth is none of us are perfect. That’s why we need Jesus and His grace. He is forever filling in all of our gaps and the places where we come up short. And this includes our mothering. When we realize that it is okay to not be perfect, we find freedom from our own self-imposed expectations, and this brings a new sense of hope to a woman’s heart.

6. What kind of response have you had from your readers as you move from the world of blogging into the publishing arena?

I truly think of my readers as my friends, and as I have shared news with them about different parts of the publishing process, we have all been excited together. Many of my readers have said that they are excited to share this book with other moms not just because they are excited about the words inside, but because they feel as though they are offering other women an opportunity to join us in the adventure of grace-filled motherhood! We are looking forward to sharing our community in book form!

7. What surprised you most about writing this book? What did God reveal to you during this experience?

As I was writing Hope Unfolding, I considered how women outside of motherhood would also relate to many of the grace-filled truths found within the text. The truth is the issues that we face as mothers aren’t just as a result of having children. They are often lies that we have believed or fears that have taunted us long before motherhood held a magnifying glass over them. The truth is we all need to find grace for who we are and hope in Jesus. That is the promise of Hope Unfolding. It could be for anyone.

8. What is your greatest hope for those who will read Hope Unfolding?

More than anything, I want those who read Hope Unfolding to encounter Jesus. I want them to find confidence in the truth that He loves them, is continuously with them, and wants them to live in freedom. I want them to experience the promises of God’s love, and as they tune their hearts to His voice, I hope that they discover the one true Hope who will sustain their hearts.

Learn more about Hope Unfolding on our website.

Interview with Alex Kendrick & Stephen Kendrick

Below is an interview with Stephen and Alex Kendrick regarding their recent book, The Battle Plan for Prayer, which was written as a supplement to the hit movie, War Room.

What is the intent of the new book?

The Battle Plan for Prayer is meant to inspire, engage, and call the reader to an active, strategic, and passionate prayer life. We urgently need the church to pray in unity in these crucial days. (Alex)

To inspire people with the importance of being devoted to prayer, equip them with Biblically training to help them pray more faithfully and effectively, and call them to unite with other believers and ask God to move mightily in our generations and bring healing to our families, churches, and nation. (Stephen)

What is the single most important reason to have a prayer strategy?

The book of James tells us that the “effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man accomplishes much”. It’s our daily connection and communication with Almighty God. We would say that it’s a lifeline to the Father in our spiritual life.

You can’t hit what you are not aiming at! When we pray Biblically, strategically, and specifically, we position ourselves to maximize the impact of our praying and to more readily see God glorified through the answers. (Stephen)

How does the book teach preparing a prayer battle plan?

The book will walk the reader through “boot camp” for an understanding of what prayer is, and how we are meant to use it. Then, we teach applications of biblical prayer with a focus on praying strategically in our various areas of life. In this manner, we learn to “fight” in prayer. (Alex)

We inspire people with the stories and scriptures of answered prayer, train them in the fundamental locks and keys of effective prayer, then we give them 6 different tools they can use to help them pray. (Stephen)

What scripture was the catalyst for the project?

In Matthew 6:6, Jesus teaches us to go into our inner room and to pray to our Father in secret. Then, God rewards what is done in secret. So He desires for us to draw closer to Him in our secret place, and not just when people are watching us. (Alex)

Matthew 6:6, James 5:16, Colossians 4:2, 1 Timothy 2:1-5 (Stephen)

How has creating War Room the movie and the book projects impacted your prayer life?

The more we study prayer, the more we are driven to make it a larger part of our life. It’s meant to go along with the Word of God in maturing us in our faith and making us bold in our calling. Both Stephen and myself have increased our time with the Lord in prayer. We’re also helping our families to do the same thing. We want to be warriors ready for His orders, not lukewarm believers that spend most of our time on the bench. (Alex)

I have learned much more about prayer and have truly been inspired and challenged working on this movie and book. It has caused me to pray more joyfully, specifically, and with a greater faith – trusting that my Heavenly Father will answer in His timing.

We serve a mighty God who answers prayer. He is not unaware, unable, uncaring, unwilling, or unlikely to answer the prayers of His children.

Writing The Battle Plan for Prayer has caused me to pray with greater freedom and confidence in the Lord.

Ephesians 3:12 – In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. (NIV) (Stephen)

2016BookOfYear

Great Coloring Books for Adults

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, chances are you’ve heard about the latest craze that’s taking everyone by storm. It’s all over the internet, it’s in craft stores, it’s in bargain bins, it’s in the grocery store checkout lines… that’s right, I’m talking about adult coloring books!

These things are everywhere! Every day it seems that new ones are coming out or new people are getting started. It’s hard to miss. We’ve all also probably heard why adult coloring books are so popular:

  • They’re fun!
  • They’re a great stress reliever.
  • They take you back to childhood.
  • They’re a creative outlet.
  • It’s something parents can enjoy with their children.

These are certainly all great reasons to fall in love with coloring all over again, but today I want to talk about one more reason that you might not have considered.

  • Adult coloring books can bring us closer to God.

Wait, what? What does something like coloring have to do with God? With the right coloring books… everything! Colossians 3:17 says it well:

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

My own personal coloring experience began as an extension of Bible Journaling (another fantastic creative form of worship). To be entirely honest, I’m not much of an artist, so while I would have these big ideas in my head, I just didn’t have the skill to put it onto paper. When I came across some Christian coloring books, I thought ‘this is perfect!’. I may not be great at drawing… but I certainly could trace from these! So, I picked up a few.

I quickly discovered that I loved coloring all on its own, and that much like journaling had given me a creative way to worship in a way that made sense to me, coloring did as well. As I colored the pictures, I thought about the words I was coloring or the scriptures these pictures were based on. I reflected on what those words meant for me and how I could apply them to my life. I wasn’t JUST coloring. I was praying. I was reflecting. I was spending time with God. I was worshiping.

Worship doesn’t have to be confined to a church setting. Worship doesn’t have to be JUST music. By definition worship is merely showing reverence or adoration or honoring with religious rites…. and that means worship can be exactly what you make it! Maybe for you worship is music or dancing. Maybe it’s art or serving others. Or perhaps it can be something as seemingly simple as opening a coloring book.

Check out Family Christian’s selection of coloring books >

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This post was written by Randi Sampson. When not lost in a coloring book, she can be found taking care of her two children, spending time with her husband, Bible journaling and sharing it all on her blog, A Modern Day Fairy Tale

Q & A with Jim Gash – Author of Divine Collision

Jim, your new book, Divine Collision, recounts an unforgettable legal case you worked on in Uganda. This case changed a boy’s life, your family’s future, and helped improve the criminal justice system in Uganda. Has your life always been this exciting?
Divine Collision

I have been blessed at many stages of my career with challenging and rewarding opportunities to travel and to serve. I clerked for a prominent federal court of appeals judge in Houston, Texas after graduating from law school, worked on cases pending before the US Supreme Court and other courts around the country for one of the largest and most prestigious law firms in the world, and taught three different semesters at Pepperdine’s London campus as part of my full-time law teaching job in Malibu, California. But none of these experiences can compare with the opportunity I have been given to partner with the leaders of Uganda to assist them in delivering justice to their people.

Bob Goff, an attorney, humanitarian, and author, is the founder of Restore International. How did Bob’s speech at a Christian Legal Society conference set you on a collision course for Uganda?

Bob is the craziest and most inspiring person I have ever met – he would have to be in order to shake me out of my comfort zone. In fact, Bob absolutely destroyed the life I once knew and I tell him that regularly. In 2007, he came to Pepperdine to speak to our students about using their God-given abilities and legal training to serve those around the world. A few weeks later, two of our students hopped on a plane to Uganda with Bob and came back with a plan for our students to serve as interns for Ugandan judges. The frenetic pace of my job as dean of students and professor at Pepperdine, and my commitment to my young family, however, had convinced me that I had no room in my life to join my students in these efforts. I was content in my role was as cheerleader – encouraging others to go and do. But in 2009, God used Bob’s “Love Does” speech at the CLS National Conference to jolt me from my complacency, and knock me to my knees. It was time for me to say yes to the call I now believe I had been avoiding my entire life to join in the ongoing efforts in Uganda. A couple months later, I met Henry in a juvenile prison.

You write that you went to Uganda hoping to “throw some starfish back in the ocean.” Tell us what you hoped to accomplish.

The team we assembled to go to Uganda included two other Pepperdine Law graduates – Ray Boucher and David Barrett. On a layover in Nairobi, Kenya, David told me “The Starfish Story” for the first time. Distilled, the story involves a young boy throwing starfish stranded on the shore back into the ocean one at a time so they can thrive and flourish. An older man heckles the boy, telling him there are stranded starfish as far as the eye can see – “how can you possibly make a difference.” The boy picks up a starfish, throws it back into the ocean, and defiantly says, “I made a difference for that one, didn’t I.” That story penetrated me to the core. The problems facing Africa were so overwhelming, I had previously questioned how we could make any sort of measurable impact. But after hearing that story, I had my answer – one starfish at a time. When we landed in Uganda, I went looking for my starfish. And after I met Henry and his younger brother Joseph, I was determined to do whatever I could to throw them back into the ocean so they could thrive and flourish once again.  It was only later than I fully understood The Starfish Story.

One of the first boys you met when your team reached the juvenile detention facility was Henry. Tell us your first impression of him, and how he came to be accused of two murders.

Before heading out to the Masindi Remand Home, our team met with the local magistrate judge at the courthouse. There, he provided us with a list of the twenty-one inmates and their charges. I immediately noticed that one boy named Henry had been charged with two separate counts of murder – one in 2008 and the other in 2009. I made a mental note to avoid this kid. We hadn’t thought to bring interpreters with us, foolishly assuming that everyone spoke English. When we arrived at the Remand Home, we discovered that only two of the juveniles spoke English. They would have to be our interpreters. The warden introduced them to us as brothers – Henry and Joseph. Soon thereafter, the boy I had planned to avoid became my interpreter. Over the course of that day, I learned that Henry and Joseph, along with their father, had been charged with murder eighteen months earlier in conjunction with the mob killing of a herdsman who had stolen their family’s entire savings. I also learned that undisputed evidence showed that Henry and Joseph had been in school at the time of the killing. During Henry’s time at the Remand Home, he had risen to the position of Katikkiro in the internal prison government, which meant he was prime minister of the prison. It was in that capacity that he was charged with a second murder, alongside a prison official who served as the matron over the juveniles, in conjunction with the death of another prisoner who died while attempting to escape, just one month before I arrived.

Now that Henry is free, and in medical school as he always dreamed, how do you view that story of the boy tossing back the starfish?

For much of my life, I was the man in The Starfish Story – perplexed and crippled into inaction when faced with the enormity of the problems around the world, not doing anything because I couldn’t do everything. When I finally surrendered control of my life and took a step in faith, I began to identify with the boy – looking to throw the starfish one at a time back in the safety and security of the ocean. But now, as I look back on this story and reflect more carefully upon its characters, I realize that I am not the boy in the story after all. I am the starfish. I was stranded on the shores of inaction, baking in the sun of indifference – just waiting for someone to throw me into the ocean of obedience and service. Come on in – the water is great!

Q&A with Steven Furtick

In our interview with Steven Furtick, lead pastor of Elevation Church in North Carolina, we talked about his upcoming book (Un)Qualified—asking why he chose to write on this topic now and how it is possible that he feels unqualified with the success he has had.

(Un)Qualified

1. You lead one of the country’s fastest growing churches with more than 20,000 attendees and you’ve now written your fourth book. Why are you addressing the topic of feeling unqualified now?

I’m writing on this now because it doesn’t matter if you’re preaching to a group of 10 sweaty middle schoolers at a youth group lock-in or if you’re preaching to an arena of people at a church leadership conference – the feeling of being unqualified and inadequate is something you can’t ever really outrun. At one point or another, we all feel ridiculously unqualified for what God has called us to do. That‘s okay. Actually, to be used by God, it’s essential. God loves to work with unqualified people.

2. Why is it that we often misunderstand what it means to be qualified?

I think it goes back to our earliest form of qualification – grade school. Pass, fail. A-plus, C-minus, F. These letters mean something to us. They were our first measurement of success, and this whole business of judging and assessing and qualifying is deeply ingrained in our culture and psyche. We constantly analyze and summarize each other. We develop our own secret, subjective ways of determining whether people measure up, and we do the same to ourselves. The problem is we will never be perfect enough or fail proof enough to be at peace with ourselves on this basis of qualification alone.

3. You preach every week in front of large crowds, how is it possible that you question your ability to fulfill your calling?

I question it because I know me. I think we all secretly fight feelings of inadequacy, insufficiency, and incompetence. We fear we are not enough – whatever that means in our particular situations. I heard once that most people, particularly men, go through life wondering how long it will be before everyone realizes they’re a fraud. Not in the sense that they’re insincere, but just that they have no idea what they’re doing. I relate to that more than I can explain.

4. You make the statement,  “God can’t bless who you pretend to be.” What do you mean by that?

It was a thought that hit me while I was preparing a series of sermons on Jacob. I mean, Jacob was a con, a liar and a manipulator – you know, the model citizen for Sunday school stories – and yet God chose him to be one of the pillars of our faith and one of the fathers of the nation of Israel. He was simultaneously one of the most important figures in scripture and one of the most screwed up.

I was reading the scene in the Bible where Jacob dressed up like his brother Esau to get blessed by his father Isaac. And it worked. Kind of. He spent the next twenty-one years on the run – from his family, his homeland, and ultimately, himself.

It wasn’t until Jacob admitted his true identity while wrestling at the Jabbok that God was able to bless Jacob the way he wanted to. And that’s when God changed his name, on the basis of his true identity, not his persona or construct.

And as I’m sitting there studying this, I realized that we’re all like Jacob. We find ourselves pretending to be someone we’re not. We’re thinking if we manipulate our image just right, it will bring the accomplishments or acceptance we’re so desperate to receive. We think our weaknesses are the problem and faking it till we make it is the answer. But God sees it so differently. He longs to bless us. The real us, with all our ups and downs. The version of us that limps and loses, but refuses to lie about it. Once we come to him in that way, His truth begins to set us free to become who we really are.

5. You ask readers to fill in the blank to the statement “I am ­____. What word or phrase do you use to fill in that blank and why?

Oh man. It depends on the day or even the minute, honestly. I know the answer I’m supposed to say is “I am chosen” or “I am loved” or something super pastoral, but the reality is I’m schizophrenic when it comes to the word I fill in the blank with. The words I find myself saying cover the whole spectrum too: I am unqualified. I am stupid. I am strong. I am driven. Screwed up. Loyal. Stuck. Hurting. Overwhelmed. Blessed. Capable. Disappointed. Hopeful. Jaded. Content. So many of my words circle around my weaknesses, but at the same time, I know God has equipped me, and remembering that helps shift my thinking. Making that choice, moment to moment, is what the book is all about!

6. What is your recommendation for someone who is struggling to come to terms with his or her weaknesses and ability to change?

The more I study the Bible the more convinced I am that we need a fuller understanding – not just of God – but of ourselves. And we need to give less weight to our opinion of our weaknesses and problems. Don’t give up. Keep showing up. I truly believe the key to change isn’t always doing something new, but often in doing the right things over and over again. Change isn’t something that happens overnight. There are the exceptions, sure. But for the rest of us, change is a long, messy process. But if we don’t show up every day, and decide that today is going to build on the success we had yesterday, and so on, then our change will never last. And at the same time, when it comes to maturing us, God has His own timetable, and the Christian walk isn’t really about a finish line. Faith can’t be reduced to a goal or an achievement. It‘s an ongoing relationship with Jesus. It‘s a progression of growing and changing, of embracing and replacing, of listening to God‘s voice and living out who he says we are. It‘s a process, and it will last the rest of our lives.

7. What patterns do you see in the Bible of God using those who don’t outwardly appear to be qualified for what he has asked them to do?

Well, just think about how many of our Bible heroes were tortured souls with marked pasts that would label them unqualified by our standards. You’ve probably heard a version of this before: Noah was a drunk. Moses was a coward and a murderer. David was an adulterer. Paul was chief proponent in the killing of many Christians. Yet, these are some of the men God used. Don’t even get me started on Rahab!

Look, God has a habit of picking people who have been passed over. It’s just proof that God’s qualification system is totally different than ours. The very people we’re so quick to discount and disqualify are often the earthen vessels in whom God pours the greatest measure of His glory.

You can order your copy of (Un)Qualified from Family Christian today!

The Comeback: Louie Giglio’s Favorite Chapters

We all know what it is like to have life disappoint us. That feeling when things do not work out as we’d hoped. And we all know what it is like to long for something different, something better or something more.

But your current circumstances do not get the final say in your life.

This is what The Comeback is all about—providing you with perspective and encouragement, no matter the challenge you’re facing.

In the book, author Louie Giglio celebrates new beginnings. From personal stories to Bible stories, he shows how God is in the business of giving fresh starts, and how His plans always prevail, even when ours don’t.

Check out Giglio’s three favorite chapters now:


Get your copy today!

Introducing Our Books of the Year: A Review of Fervent

As I go through life, I feel like things just kind of happen. Natural disasters happen because the world is flawed. Bad things happen because the world is a broken place.

But this is only what we’re led to believe. Satan’s attacks on our lives, our emotions, our friends and our family are real. We’re in a battle. One in which the winner has already been determined. God comes out on top. We come out on top.

And in light of that victory, we can have boldness in our prayers. A boldness that takes over our bodies and souls, one that believes straight down to our core that God is as powerful and mighty as He says He is.

Fervent isn’t just a book. It’s not something you can read and then set up on your shelf and say, “Well… that was a good one.”

Fervent Book

No, this is a battle plan. An active pursuit of serious, specific and strategic prayer—prayer that sets us free, makes us whole, helps us reach our destinies and grab hold of God’s promises. That kind of prayer.

Let me show you what that kind of prayer did in my life:

I was bitter. A friendship that I once held dear had ended badly and I knew that I was partly to blame… but I didn’t want to admit it. The bitterness I felt toward this friend kept boiling under the surface of my carefully placed façade. Sure, I was nice. But I felt hurt. And the wounds went deeper than she realized—if she even realized she’d hurt me at all.

I ran in the opposite direction, feeling as though I was doing the right thing by putting distance between us. By ending our friendship, I was ending that hurtful chapter of my life, right?

Wrong. What I thought was the solution only created more problems.

Why was I constantly second guessing if the new friends God had given me accepted me for who I am? Why was I constantly questioning whether or not my friends were being honest with me? Why did my prayers feel lifeless and passionless? Why couldn’t I muster up enough energy to do my devotions each day? Why did I feel empty inside—even though my life seemed so full of wonderful blessings?

And then along came Fervent. Along came Priscilla Shirer’s honesty and boldness. Her transparency and vulnerability. Her guidance through Scripture and her words of wisdom about dealing with the hurts of the past that haunt us, and that Satan can use to put a wedge between us and God.

God—through this book—told me to forgive. And not necessarily wiping away what this friend did as if it didn’t happen or giving her a free pass from the harm she caused… but sparing myself of the exhaustion and burden of carrying it, and allowing Him to relieve the pressure.

In boldly asking for forgiveness—and taking bold steps to care for this friend—He granted me freedom.

You see? It’s not just a book about prayer. It’s a battle plan. A life-changer, showing you many areas of your life in which the enemy lies and counteracting his moves with God’s truth.

So what’s your next move?

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This post was written by Family Christian’s own Alyssa Helm. She enjoys road trips, corny Dad jokes, Penn State football and sharing the love of Christ through her writing.

Introducing Our Books of the Year: A Review of The Battle Plan for Prayer

You have an enemy–and he’s dead set on destroying all you hold dear and keeping you from experiencing an abundant life in Christ. But you are not unarmed in this battle. Prayer is a powerful weapon and it should be your first plan of attack in all of life’s battles, not your last resort. This year, walk with us as we learn to develop prayer strategies through reading The Battle Plan for Prayer and Fervent, books inspired by the movie War Room.

The Battle Plan for Prayer, which was written for men, was recently reviewed by our very own Nick Mulder. Check out how the book has touched his life and stay tuned for next week’s review of Fervent.

Change The Way You Pray

Inspired by the movie War Room, this book motivated a distinctive kind of prayer in my life—one that’s in line with God’s will. The Battle Plan for Prayer, written by Stephen and Alex Kendrick, is a powerful reminder of the importance of prayer and the beauty of being able to communicate with our Heavenly Father.

The book turns the typical idea of prayer on its head. It’s not about us trying to affect God—just the opposite. When you ask God for something, it’s not because God needs to be reminded of what you need. Rather, it reminds us that we need God.

I love how incredibly positive, uplifting and encouraging this book was. After reading, you will be inspired to improve how you pray. Whether your prayer life is good and you’re looking to make it great, or you hardly pray at all and you need a jumpstart, you will be filled with a hunger for a deeper relationship with God.

Your trust will grow and your hope and faith in Christ will flourish. The book explains some of the reasons why it might seem like God isn’t answering prayer, and how to pray in ways that will always be answered. It makes the power of prayer really evident. The authors give examples of miraculous times that prayer has pulled through for the people of God, like when their dad was praying for the funds to build a Christian school, and a couple showed up with a check written for the exact amount.

As you start reading the chapters, you’ll notice a few things: each chapter is short and digestible, making it really easy to read. And you’ll notice that it is absolutely packed with Scripture. The Kendrick brothers do an amazing job throughout the book explaining what the Bible says about prayer. After reading, I felt encouraged to pray in a way like Jesus—not just by praying the Lord’s Prayer, but also through a type of prayer that caters to my struggles, joys and every detail of my life.

The crux of the book is an explanation of the ACTS style prayer, a pneumonic device that helps Christians to remember to pray through admiration, confession, thanksgiving and supplication. The book explains the importance of each aspect of prayer, and how to maximize each one in your life.

An extremely helpful feature in the beginning of the book is a reading plan that helps you schedule out your reading pace, as well as some prayer targets that you should be aiming for and spaces for you to write your own targets.

The back of the book has an awesome set of features as well—a list of prayer strategy verses, verses to read in various situations, a list of the names of God, help starting a prayer group, really deep and evocative discussion questions and lots of other helps.

This book had a remarkable impact in my life. And I’m sure it will for you too.

Interview with Priscilla Shirer

Check out our interview with Priscilla Shirer below—where we talk about her role in the hit movie, War Room, as well as her new book and supplement to the movie, Fervent.

Tell us about the character you play in WAR ROOM.

In WAR ROOM, I get the privilege of playing a woman named Elizabeth Jordan. Elizabeth is a wife and a mom who is really struggling when you meet her in the movie. She’s become so good at putting on a polished professional veneer that you can’t tell just by looking at her but underneath there are a lot of huge cracks. The main one is that her marriage and family are falling apart. This film is about an older, wiser woman who helps Elizabeth recognize the power of prayer to put her family back together again.

How do you hope audiences can relate and respond to the film?

I know that audiences, particularly women, are going to relate to Elizabeth Jordan. So many of us have her story–when we’re out in public, we present a polished, pristine image when really we are hurting or suffocating underneath a mound of difficult circumstances that no one else knows. Elizabeth is just trying to keep it all together, and it takes someone else–Ms. Clara in the story—to be diligent enough and patient enough to break past her external veneer and get to the heart of what’s really happening.

I think women especially are going to walk out of the theater not only having seen a beautifully crafted film, but they’re also going to be inspired and challenged in their prayer lives. They are going to be reminded that prayer works, and can change even the most difficult circumstances. I’m hoping that they’re going to want to incorporate it more fully into their own personal lives and in the lives of their families. That’s the reason why I wanted to do this film. I’m so glad the Kendrick brothers focused this movie on prayer and that they asked me to be a part of it. After their other films concentrated on a variety of different yet equally critical topics it just seems fitting that this one would focus on calling the church to utilize the most powerful weapon it has been given to fight against the enemy.

What was it like working with the Kendrick brothers?

They are hysterical. They were always pulling pranks, always doing something to make everyone lighthearted and engaged. They are masters at building a sense of community among the cast and crew and creating a culture of friendship on the set. And, they prioritize the Lord in every aspect of filming. Each day on set began with devotions and often, they would stop filming to pray for specific portions of the process.

It has really been special for my husband and me to be in relationship with them. We’ve learned a lot and our ministry and marriage has been strengthened because of their wise counsel. They are men of such integrity, and character, and while they are intent on making entertaining films their primary goal is to make God famous.

Your new book Fervent: A Woman’s Battle Plan for Serious; Specific and Strategic Prayer is a companion to the WAR ROOM movie. Tell us more about the book and what do you hope women will get from reading it?

Fervent is a hands-on, knees-down, never-give-up action guide to practical, purposeful praying. It brings the message of WAR ROOM to YOUR room and life.

Each chapter exposes the enemy’s cruel, cunning intentions against you in all kinds of key areas like these, then coaches you in crafting your own personalized prayer strategies on included tear-out sheets—ready to post them and pray them, anywhere you can put them into active deployment against the enemy.

What is prayer for you?

Prayer is a conversation with God. I use the word conversation very specifically because prayer was never meant to be a one-way street. It is talking to God, yes, and knowing that He hears, but it is also leaving room in your life to hear and see God’s response. He wants to be involved in the circumstances of our lives, so when we pray, we have to keep our eyes open to see how He’s going to answer and what He’s going to do in our experience in response to our prayer. Prayer, is how we see heaven invade earth. It’s what opens up the floodgates for God to come down and be involved in our every day circumstances.

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