As I dug into the 156 pages of Whispers that Delight: Building a Listening-Centered Prayer Life by Andrew T. Hawkins I very quickly discovered the reason for it being shortlisted in the Word Alive Press non-fiction annual best book contest. This practical guide to prayer has plunged deep into the theological truths of communication with God.
Reverend Hawkins begins his teachings by pointing out the need for structure. Using his own life’s experiences he shows us how structure can build the foundation for a true and pure connection with our Lord. He strips away the fallacy that we must always feel good feelings and that joy and happiness are always the end result of prayer. And in this stripping away, he replaces old notions with new ones that force us to recognize that prayer is often an act of will. Yet Reverend Hawkins doesn’t stop there. He points out that by activating our wills, we take the focus off of ourselves and put it onto Christ and his attributes. It is then that we experience the joy that scripture promises when coming before God.
Whispers that Delight teaches us how to praise without the feeling of dreary repetition. We are shown the value of confession - what it is and how it can benefit our walk with God. Reverend Hawkins opens our eyes to the difference between shame and guilt and the power of Christ’s atonement. He clarifies the oft-misused phrase of ‘coming before the throne of God with boldness’. Through stories drawn from history, we learn how to become attentive to God’s voice and we discover that God truly is a speaking God though his voice can be heard in so many different ways.
This book reveals much in the way of practical application as it offers suggestions on scriptural meditation and response. We are made aware of the tug of will and desire and taught how to combat our temptations with our petitions and praise. Reverend Hawkins closes down the book with two wonderful chapters. Chapter Seven calls us to respond to our Lord more and more as true and pure lovers and Chapter Eight brings us to the end result of an effective prayer life – joy. He teaches us in this final group of sentences that true joy is the longing for God’s presence and the thrill of basking in that presence.
Whispers that Delight is a book that should be used in any theological seminary but it isn’t limited to the intense study group. By reading this book, I find myself seeking God’s voice in areas I never thought to look and that makes this book a must for anyone seeking God.