True confession time: I do not read a lot of Church books. I have bought a few by Church leaders or scholars I’ve heard speak in person, but usually end up giving them away or let them collect dust on a shelf. I just gravitate to other genres.
Still, I probably own more by S. Michael Wilcox than any other LDS writer, mainly because he is my favorite (and husband’s favorite) speaker at BYU Education Week. I try to attend every class he teaches and we own several of his talks on CDs that we listen to on the long drive home from Provo, Utah.
Three nights ago I was experiencing some inner turmoil. I had prayed for solace but felt inspired to take this book off the shelf and give it a real chance. That, in itself, was an answer to prayer. And yes, although Bro. Wilcox makes definite references to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the lessons, examples, most scriptures, and other references are not “LDS specific.” In fact, one of the greatest things about Bro. Wilcox–something that makes me respect him even more–is that, instead of negating the value of Christian writers outside his faith, he employs their teachings (positively) to edify the point he is trying to make.
I would call him a true “scholar of the humble heart.” In the spirit of extreme humility and courage, he uses very personal struggles from his own life as examples. Sometimes we look at men (and women) of faith such as Bro. Wilcox and assume that they have always been that way. Not so. He goes into great detail about times in his life where he has wrestled with doctrinal concepts, times where he was not the husband he now wishes he was, and the many times he has brought these challenges to God. More often than not, great patience was required before the answers came–but they did.
The difference between Bro. Wilcox and so many of us in our own prayerful wrestlings, is that he is more determined and more diligent than most. When one approach doesn’t work, he tries another. I love the way he creates conversations between himself and the Lord. I would never have the courage to do this. They are familiar, but loving and respectful. Example: “Mike, why don’t you ask me what you should pray for?”
I learned so much from this small 148-page book. Whatever your faith–even if you are new to prayer and conversing with our Father in Heaven–I recommend it. Highly.