Hear My Prayer: Learning from the Faith of Elijah―A 6-Week Bible Study Experience – Liz Ditty

Hear My Prayer: Learning from the Faith of Elijah – A 6-Week Bible Study Experience by Liz Ditty
Published by IVP on May 14, 2024
Genres: Non-Fiction, Christian Life, Devotional
Buy on Amazon

Does prayer matter?

What we believe about prayer reflects what we believe about God. Maybe you believe God is all-powerful and wise, but not attentive to your little corner of the world? Fortunately, the Bible tells us a different story. Over and over again, we are reminded that God is both great and good, and that we are cared for and fully known by him. So God welcomes all our prayers and invites us to pray about everything―to entrust him with all things both big and small, joyful and enraging, and to pray fervently.

Whether you consider yourself a prayer warrior or prayer newbie (or even a prayer skeptic), you are invited to join this six-week Bible study experience. Liz Ditty, an experienced spiritual director and retreat leader, invites groups and individuals to experience dozens of ways to pray alone and together. As she engages the story of Elijah and his encounters with God, she guides us toward less awkward, more authentic prayer.

A New Bible Study Experience From IVP

These Bible studies offer you a fresh opportunity to engage with Scripture. Each study includes:

weekly sessions for a group of any size
access to weekly teaching videos
five days of individual study and reflection each week

The refreshing, accessible, and insightful content from trusted Bible teachers will encourage you in your faith!

This Bible study explores the story of Elijah, alongside some other Scripture passages about prayer. Liz Ditty designed this for study groups to use together, but she also suggests modifications for people who are studying alone. The study includes weekly recorded videos that people can access through QR codes, and there are discussion questions, recommended group activities, and daily study assignments for people to do alone before meeting with the group. The Bible study set-up is relatively standard, but it also includes beautiful artwork at the beginning of each week, and many of the reflection exercises include poetry. I appreciate how Ditty designed this study to engage people’s senses and emotions, not just their minds, and the range of activities will speak to different learning styles and personalities.

In addition to including reflection prompts after each day’s study, the author also includes a few different prayer practices for each week, encouraging people to try out different ways of meditating on spiritual truths and talking to God. She suggests approaches like praying with a prayer partner, praying Scripture, and experiencing moments of silence and contemplation as you listen for God’s guidance. She also writes about practices like lament prayers and breath prayers, and one week includes a coloring page of a stained glass window for people to color as they pray about different topics. I appreciate the broad range of suggestions that the author encourages people to try, and I appreciate how she maintains a consistent emphasis on actually praying more, instead of just talking about prayer.

Although I am impressed with this Bible study overall and appreciate its unique elements, I want to mention a few critiques and some considerations for different audiences. One small thing is that I wish that the author had included written links to the videos on her website, instead of only giving QR codes. More significantly, even though this book explores multiple Bible passages in depth, the author does the interpretive work for her readers. She rarely asks interpretive questions, and shares paragraphs of teaching to unpack the meaning of everything. This will be great for some readers, but people who want to grow in their ability to interpret the Bible without someone else’s explanation would be better off pursuing a study that teaches and cultivates those skills.

In addition to this, many of the group sessions involve questions and activities that sound more like group therapy than a Bible study. Although intimate personal sharing can be a special part of studying the Bible together, this book brings intimate discussion to the forefront, designing each group session to focus on people’s stories, feelings, and experiences. This could work great for some groups, but it will likely blindside people who are expecting a more traditional Bible study. Also, this therapeutic focus might backfire when people don’t know each other well, since this kind of transparent discussion is safest and best in contexts where you have already established trust.

Hear My Prayer: Learning from the Faith of Elijah is a deep, encouraging Bible study that includes lots of interactive elements. This book speaks to many different learning styles, and I appreciate the inclusion of artwork, poetry, and a variety of different prayer practices. This book focuses more on the author’s teaching over the reader’s biblical interpretation, which I found disappointing, but I found this enriching and helpful overall. I would recommend this study for individual use, and for groups that have already established trust for intimate sharing.