Friday, March 9, 2012

Praying For Strangers - River Jordan

I met River Jordan last year at the Charleston SIBA.  We had an easy introduction because Kathy (Bermudaonion) had already read and reviewed this book, and loved it more than you will ever know.  And just from meeting this quiet and thoughtful woman, I knew this book had to be something special.  Now that I've read this amazing book myself, I'm thrilled that I will meet her again at the UCF Book Festival in three weeks.  She has touched my heart, and I need to tell her face to face.


Synopsis:  When River's two sons were deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, she was beside herself with worry.  In an instant, she decided that the only way she was going to survive the waiting was to turn her attentions away from herself and towards others.  Thus, a New Year's resolution was born, one where every day she would find a stranger that stood out to her in some way, and she would pray for them.


Soon she found out that it wasn't good enough to just pray for this person at night.  People need to know that there is someone out there, a stranger, who has their back and is praying blessings for them.  Being an extremely introverted person, and a person who is quiet about her religion, River was horrified at the idea of approaching her daily stranger to tell them this.  But she did it anyway, "a person who had decided the bubble of her world could be broken", and learned many lessons along the way:


*  How any stranger out there, particularly those that serve us in some way, deserve not to be one of the nameless faces doing something for us.  "Everyone has a name - and they long to be seen, to be heard, and to be acknowledged for more than just being another cashier at the counter, driver behind the wheel."


*  In the process of praying for politicians of all parties, "the longer you pray for someone, the more you lose that crust of ambivalence, that twinge of not liking them.  Those things fall away, and instead sometimes there's just a flash of comprehension, compassion, and care...".


*  There is importance and benefits of connections, however brief or momentary, and one should forget to worry so much about people not receiving (the prayers) well.  Being offered a prayer is like being offered a gift, and doing so makes the world a better place.


This book represents a collection of stories about some of the strangers that River connected with in her "adventure of the human spirit".  Each a special soul that was touched by River and who touched her as well.  


My thoughts:  About ten pages into this book, I cried for the first time.  And it wasn't the last.  These stories will touch your heart, and make you truly want to be a better person.  To be able to reach out to people and make a small but important difference in their lives.  If everyone read this book and adopted this practice, I swear the world's landscape would change forever.  


It is important that you know that River isn't the type of person that lectures or preaches anything.  She is a gentle, inward person who wants to share her journey with you.  If you are wary of books with overbearing, religious overtones, you should not be concerned to read this.  You will embrace it.  After reading about a third of the book, I began to carry it around with me, telling my friends that this is a must-read.  


Will I begin to do as River did, and pray for strangers?  Absolutely I will.  I must.  I have always been kind to anyone I cross paths with, but I'm often in my own world, thinking about my schedule, my grocery list, or what I'm making for dinner.  I think this will make the difference, make me more aware of what is happening around me.  I would suggest that this book could change your life if you open your heart and mind.


I'm going to leave you with River's book trailer, which Kathy showed in her review as well.


5 out of 5 stars  




    





17 comments:

bermudaonion said...

Oh, how I loved this book! When River came here for lunch, I bought copies for several friends. I agree that it is a must read and could change the world if everyone read it.

Jackie Bailey said...

Wow! I think my record for crying is about 34 pages in. This sounds like such an emotional book.

Mrs Q Book Addict said...

Oh, wow this one sounds fantastic.

Meg said...

Well, I got teary-eyed just watching the trailer... so I'm thinking this might be a book for me! I'm also very quiet (and occasionally undecided) about my faith, but I absolutely believe in kindness and compassion and selfless giving above all else... adding this to my shopping cart now!

rhapsodyinbooks said...

This sounds very affecting.

Belle Wong said...

I missed Kathy's review of this - I'm so glad you've reviewed it. It sounds like such a beautiful, beautiful read. Definitely going on my TBR.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Oh man, that book trailer brought tears to my eyes! Your comments also make me think I can't miss this one. Thank you! I hadn't heard of it before now.

Zibilee said...

I am going to be reading this one next, and your review made a really deep impression on me. I need a book like this that preaches kindness without being overbearing, and I can't wait to see what I learn from this one. Fantastic review today, Sandy. This sounds like a must read for me.

Jenners said...

This sounds like something really special and a book that, if we all read it, would make the world a much better place.

Ti said...

Lots of emotion in this post! I absolutely love the cover. It's the first thing that caught my eye. If you and Kathy enjoyed it and found it to be special then I know it is.

Amy said...

This book sounds amazing! Your review is wonderful and I understand how powerful and moving this book is. River Jordan is quite an inspiring woman. I loved the video, thank you for posting it, Sandy. River is soft-spoken but so strong. I liked her story about the reaction of the first woman she told she was going to pray for her. The woman was so touched and appreciative. I also love the scenes of River in Grand Central Train Station looking around at all the people.

I know I have to read this book and will be picking up a copy my next book purchases

Matt said...

It's halfway through your review that I realize it's non-fiction. It does sound very deep and soul-searching. The book would be a welcome change of pace to my readings.

Darlene said...

This sounds like a must read for sure. Books that make me cry are generally the ones I like best. I believe everyone needs prayers - I always end my prayers saying a little one for anyone who needs one - meaning those I don't know about but who God does.

Jenny said...

I was wondering how this would be. It had the potential to be great but I worried it might be too mawkish. I'm glad to hear its so good and life changing as well! It sounds sooo good!!

Beth(bookaholicmom) said...

Your review has me wanting to read this book! It sounds amazing! I'm off to look for it now!

Julie P. said...

Holy moly!!! Between you and Kathy, I am convinced!

Kathleen said...

Wow, this is so inspirational. An act so simple and FREE can change you and the people you are praying for. I've never thought to pray for strangers but this review has inspired me to do this. I love the book trailer too!