Review: Praying for Strangers
When both of River Jordan‘s sons were being deployed – one to Iraq and the other to Afghanistan – she knew she had to do something to help herself deal with the worry. River doesn’t consider herself particularly religious and certainly considers her relationship with God to be private, but it came to her that in order to help herself she had to pray for others. So, her resolution for 2009 was to pray for a different stranger every day. As she would go about her business, she would spot someone she felt might need her prayers and they became her stranger for the day. She thought about her stranger all day and prayed for them that night. At first, she kept it to herself but very quickly found herself compelled to approach the stranger and explain her resolution to them. This was totally out of character for the introverted Jordan, but, to her, it seemed like the right thing to do. To her surprise, the strangers’ reactions were almost always positive and thankful.
Jordan found that her resolution often made a difference in others’ lives and definitely made a difference in hers. As she would recall the stories to her husband each evening, he would urge her to write them down and the result is her new memoir, Praying for Strangers: An Adventure of the Human Spirit.
I’m much like Jordan in the fact that I’m not overly religious and certainly don’t wear my religion on my sleeve, so I was surprised at just how moved I was by this book. I think I was crying by page three and cried off and on throughout the book. Jordan’s words are so eloquent, sincere, and compelling. I was engrossed in the book from the very start and needed to know every stranger’s story. Jordan learned so much about humanity and our need for connection with others and shares what she learned in Praying for Strangers.
I cannot tell you how much I loved this book. It made me aspire to be a better person. It made me be more aware of the strangers I encounter in my life and of how much a simple word of kindness can mean to someone. I cannot recommend this book enough – I will be buying copies to give to several of my friends.
Challenges: Memorable Memoir Challenge