Anything: The Prayer that Unlocked My God and My Soul
by Jennie Allen
Breathtaking. People use that word to describe physical beauty, like a bride on her wedding day or the ocean view out their vacation home or the first time they touch their feet onto African ground and view the landscape. It’s all so breathtaking.
Me, sure I’m a lover of physical beauty, but it’s words that make me gasp for breath. I’ve had a few books that make me suck in air when I sit down to read and after a few minutes it feels like I haven’t taken another breath. Dishes don’t get done. Laundry remains in a pile. And then I look up. I’ve finished. I gasp for air.
Jennie Allen’s book took my breath away. It’s her writing, so raw and lovely, so rhythmic without being in-your-face poetic. But it’s something more. It’s because just over one year ago I told God that if I could have anything I wanted from Him, it’d be His glory. Just be glorified, Lord. And whatever you want me to do to glorify Your name, then I’d do it.
Jennie prayed that same prayer, but she used just one word: “Anything.” She told God she’d do anything at all in obedience to Him and He took her up on her offer. He messed with what she’d always wanted out of life and stirred up a desire in her heart for Him before everything . . . and anything . . . else.
I found myself nodding my head with her pursuit of passion for God and the struggles, the difficult walk of obeying Him, because when He says, “Follow me,” it’s not always an easy jog to our destination. Sometimes it’s an uphill hike or a marathon.
In some ways, this is just another book by an author challenging us to live radical lives because we’re so crazy in love with Jesus. You’ve probably read books like this—Radical, Crazy Love, Go and Do, among others. I’ve read them. I’ve liked them. But Jennie Allen’s book worked for me in a way the others didn’t. She reminds us that sometimes this means moving to Africa to be missionaries, but sometimes it means moving close to your sick mother to care for her.
I’ve walked away from similar books disillusioned and frustrated sometimes because I want to be obedient to Christ and I don’t live a materialistic, comfy, self-focused life. I desire to put Him first. I want to do anything, give anything to live that radically obedient walk . . .but then God didn’t call me to full-time missions or urban ministry. So, it seemed so illusory. Makes for a great book, changes lives for others, never really changed mine.
Yet, Jennie Allen reminds us that we don’t get to pick and choose what God desires for us and how He uses us. Sometimes the call He gives us seems small to others and insignificant in comparison to the ministry of those we see. We can’t please everyone along the way either. The important thing is to do whatever He has said, big and small, simple and terribly risky, and do it because He said and that’s enough.
This is not one of Jennie Allen’s Bible studies, but it is a walk through two years of her life when she and her husband committed to doing anything God asked. It’s fabulous for an individual read, maybe even a book club or small group looking for something different to read. For those who want more of a Bible Study structure, I encourage you to check out her other resources. I know I will.
I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”