Book Review: Fervent by Priscilla Shirer
Author: Priscilla Shirer
Publisher: B&H Publishing
I started reading this book, I think, in 2017 or 2018. Probably like others, I saw the movie War Room and wanted to be just like Elizabeth or, better yet, Mrs. Clara. The plan was to read the book and create my very own war room and become a prayer warrior. Based on my highlighting, I made it through one chapter.
This year, I told myself that I was going to do a better job at finishing books that I have started. After all, I had 29 that I pulled from my bookshelf, just staring at me. And don’t even get me started on ebooks. When my church announced that it was going to do a round of 21 days of praying and fasting, I knew immediately I wanted to pull Fervent back out. I did. And I finished it. And I am happy that I did. Priscilla Shirer starts by telling the story of her grandmother, who is where she got the idea of writing her prayers down from. Her grandmother says simply that she writes them down so she won’t forget. Shirer expands upon this by saying, so we won’t forget who the enemy is, who God is, what we need, and how God responds.
While prayer is the central theme of the book, the secondary theme is that there is an enemy out there who is strategically trying to cause chaos in your life. And while Shirer tries very hard not to have this be a book version of the movie (I don’t even think she says the name), she does make it very clear that we are in a war with the enemy and it is time to use our prayers in battle. If you are a Christian, this concept isn’t all that foreign. After all, Jesus tells us that the thief (the enemy) comes to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). Paul tells us in Ephesians 6 to “put on the full armor of God so that we can stand against the schemes of the devil.” Right after explaining what that armor details, he then tells us to “pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert with all perseverance and intercession”. Fervent outlines 10 areas and strategies that the enemy uses to attack and how we can fight those strategies and Shirer provides plenty of scriptures to support our battle plan. I do find it funny that she didn’t mention the verse the word fervent is known for in regards to prayer until the end of the book almost. James 5:16 NKJV, “Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”
Each chapter starts with an “if I were your enemy” approach to each strategy. The strategy topics are your passion, focus, identity, family, confidence, calling, purity, rest and contentment, heart, and relationships. Shirer says that she polled “a large cross section of women” to get these topics and that they are ways that women feel the enemy attacks them. And I can honestly say, they aren’t wrong. She outlines these in that first chapter I read, and I found it funny things that I didn’t highlight the first time that now, 2-3 years later, I needed to highlight. At 31, I now see that not only has the enemy attacked me in each area, but I can see how he has attacked. After the “if I were your enemy” piece, she then breaks down more about the topic and how the enemy attacks it. And while it does at times seem like the narrative is heavily focused on the enemy, she does include what God can do and who He in regards to each strategy. She does a great job of weaving in different Bible stories to explain her points. She then wraps each strategy up with a “call to prayer,” where she outlines what we need to do (you guessed it…pray) and then provides scripture we can use to pray.
One thing that I will strongly warn against with this book, especially if you are a newer Christian or not that into your Bible yet, she paraphrases Scripture and inserts her thoughts more than I like in the actual meat of the book. I recommend having your Bible open while reading the book, and when she mentions a Scripture, look it up yourself, read it, and read around it. Scripture tells us multiple times not to add to it (Revelation 22:18-19, Proverbs 30:5-6, Deuteronomy 4:2, etc.), and there really isn’t a need to. Do I think that she purposely did this to mislead people? No, but I do wish that she made it very clear when she was quoting Scripture word for word and when she was paraphrasing and adding her own interpretation. This is why Fervent gets 4-stars from me. After all, she was able to do it when she added her own emphasis. Other than that, I didn’t really see anything else wrong scripturally with what she said and presented.
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