Praying for Strangers: An Adventure of the Human Spirit
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Praying for Strangers: An Adventure of the Human Spirit

4.05 of 5 stars 4.05  ·  rating details  ·  336 ratings  ·  94 reviews
What if there was something you could do-something simple, yet so powerful-that could positively influence others and change your life in the process? Critically acclaimed author River Jordan discovered that very thing...

As 2009 approached, both of River Jordan's sons were about to go off to war-one to Iraq and the other to Afghanistan-and she was planning a family reunion...more
ebook, 336 pages
Published April 1st 2011 by Berkley Books
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Loraine
If I could have given this book higher than a 5, I would have. This is a non-fiction book that reads as well as a novel. River Jordan, a southern gothic writer, according to her own words, makes a New Year's Resolution upon learning that both of her sons will be deployed one to Iraq and one to Afghanistan at the same time. Her resolution is to pray for a stranger each and every day that in hopes that someone will be praying for them. Never in her vaguest thoughts does she ever believe how this w...more
Shellie Tomlinson
I considered titling this review "Everything I Thought I Knew About River's New Book When I Didn't Know Squat", but I decided that a) it was a bit long and b) I shouldn't use squat in the title if I want y'all to take me seriously. And I do.

So, let's go with the facts. I knew I would enjoy this book. I just didn't know how much. In the interest of full disclosure, River is a very good friend. Thanks to a 21 event/14 day book tour we did together in the Spring of '10, we know more about each oth...more
Jlaurenmc
River Jordan is an accomplished writer. Her novels have been praised by media sources (Publishers Weekly, Southern Living, and the Tampa Tribune) and also by some of my favorite authors (Silas House, Joshilyn Jackson, and Susan Gregg Gilmore). With the release of her new book, however, Jordan strayed from the "safe" path of fiction writing and delved into more personal writing.

Praying for Strangers is a compilation of sorts; there is little plot, and Jordan herself is the only true "main" charac...more
Ted Mallory
I want to say something important about this book and another book. Eat, Love, Pray is weak compared to Praying for Strangers. Jordan's book is about genuine love, that other book seems to be about finding ones self and learning to accept yourself. That author went from putting herself first to letting others in and she did it by searching for other gods. Jordan's book is about removing your focus from yourself, ceasing to worry and wallow about your own problems by becoming sensitive to the nee...more
Noah
I liked the idea that this book presented more than the book itself. Once I'd read about 60 pages it was mostly more of the same - short chapters detailing a new stranger and how they reacted to her telling them she'd be praying for them. Somehow I wanted more from this book, though I can't exactly say what - I just felt as though there was something missing from it that I wanted to hear more about. I admit I was also surprised that none of her strangers seemed to have a negative reaction - I fi...more
Cindy
I met River at the 2012 Calvin Festival of Faith and Writing--actually she was a surprise addition to our author dinner! She is delightful and her book intrigued me. So I went to her talk which became my favorite of the year. The book is an inspirational idea and a spiritual challenge. After awhile the premise stretched a bit thin. Shorter might have been better. But it's a wonderful project!
Linda
I absolutely loved this book! This is a book I think everyone who prays or believes in prayer should read. I don't usually buy books but prefer to borrow them cause I rarely reread them but this I did wind up buying even before I was done reading the library copy! I just need my own copy to reread and underline and mark up with notes for myself. I'll be praying for you, River Jordan!
Lee Ann
The author makes a resolution to pray for a different stranger every day in the new year to try to take her mind off the deployment of both her sons. We're not told of 365 prayers, but we are given enough to make this a great idea for everyone to do. I intend to donate a copy to my church library.
Brenna
This was a good book, but I didn't find it completely satisfying. It is a quick, enjoyable read with very short chapters, but I felt like it lacked depth. I assume that the author is a Christian, but it reads more like a faith journey and could apply to many faiths. It is all about praying for strangers and reaching out with kindness and compassion, which is an important lesson that we often disregard, staying in our own world, doing our own thing. She talked a lot about feeling led to certain p...more
Cara
(Nonfiction) Great book! Really did change the way I looked at "people" in general and my attitude towards interacting with strangers. Confirmed some of my beliefs about "coincidence". Reminds us that we grow more when we care for others instead of always focusing on our own perceived problems. There is a part where she talks bout how being "introverted" or "extroverted" actually refers to one's concern/awareness for others, not our personality. So, just because someone is outgoing and talkative...more
Arlene
Imagine picking a person out of a crowd—a stranger—and walking up to tell them you will pray for them that day. Could you do it? Would you? What kind of reaction might you expect?

River Jordan did this every day for a year to fulfill a New Year's resolution. Then she found she couldn't stop. The practice became part of her very being.

The resolution bubbled up from deep within her in response to her concerns about her two sons being sent to war zones. When she actively looked around her for others...more
Kate
Praying for Strangers is a small, thick book divided into dozens of short unnumbered chapters. Each chapter is titled and this heading is followed by a quote about prayer. The chapters are very short–usually three to five pages long–and each describes one of Jordan’s encounters with her “stranger of the day.” The way this book is organized makes it ideal for use as a bedside read-one-chapter-before-turning-out-the-light book.

I decided to read Praying for Strangers after being thoroughly disappoi...more
Becca
This book shares the story of a woman who made a resolution to, as the title suggests, pray for one stranger everyday. It really was inspiring to me. It made me stop and think about how I need to take more time to step out of myself and be aware of those around me and what they are going through. It is easy to fly through the grocery store after work, not really noticing others in the aisle, the person who rings us up, or the old couple struggling to get groceries in their car as we peel out to...more
Chris
Good book. Not quite a five star for me. The author's mission was to find a stranger, approach them, and tell them she was praying for them. This was for an entire 365 days in a row. I was attracted to this book right away because I do it myself I just don't tell strangers that I am doing so. It was interesting until about half way through and then I started getting a bit bored wondering where she was going to find her next stranger because of course each person had to be completely different th...more
Patty
River Jordan resolved to spend a year praying for strangers. The many encounters she had inspired her to write this book. She had published four novels before this memoir and her writing is interesting. No question Jordan knows how to tell a story.

At first, it was the stories I had trouble with. Each chapter is usually about one prayer encounter. The chapters are short and at the beginning I found them very repetitious. I wasn't exactly bored, but I wasn't really caught up in the book.

I am not s...more
Emily
Very engaging writing and idea - daily practice of finding a stranger and praying for them. The "finding a stranger" idea was intriguing, with more often than not the stranger sharing with River Jordon what was on their heart - which opened the door for vignettes of life, real worries and concerns we all carry with us. The deep connections we sometimes find difficult to make even with friends and family - sort of along the lines of pouring out your heart to your airplane seatmate whom you'll nev...more
Lynn Ferina
When I thumbed through the book in the bookstore I knew I had to read this one. The first encounter brought tears to my eyes. It was an wonderful story and a book I couldn't put down. Her idea of praying for strangers and the way she went about it was awesome. It was unusual with the short chapters, but I kind of liked that, because you could put it down and start right back at any time. However, the book was so good it also meant you would say " I can read just one more short chapter" and you'd...more
Alys
Actually this was worth a long think and then going and doing likewise. Though usually I do not run about telling people what I am doing, it does make quite a difference to one's own life to look about attentively wherever one is. I read someone's review who thought it was 'all a bit samey' which only goes to show, that following the plot is not the same thing as actually contact. In other words everyone really is different and so are the intimate details and reactions of people even when they a...more
Carolyn Bivens
The only non-fiction work from a brilliant fiction writer. With her two sons about to be deployed within a few months to conflict zones, River was wild with fear and consumed with worry. She made an uncharacteristic New Year's resolution to pray for a stranger each day as an attempt to get her mind off herself and focus on others. The book chronicles what started as a half-hearted attempt at distraction to a life-altering awareness of strangers crossing her path. The insight and awakening which...more
Beth Hermes
River Jordan is an exceptional storyteller, and I thoroughly enjoyed the vignettes she shared about her reactions to the people she met - as well as their various reactions to her praying exercise. Praying for Strangers is not only a well-told story, but a beautiful idea that I hope "catches on."
Julianne
I give 5 stars to the idea behind this book--praying for strangers is one of the most noble ways you can spend your time and I totally agree with River that the world would be a better place if we all spent a little time doing it. That being said, I didn't really enjoy reading this book. Each short chapter goes like this: she approaches a stranger, tells them she is going to pray for them, then they gratefully exclaim they sure did need her prayers because of x, y, or z, and finally she reflects...more
Valaree
It wasn't quite what I expected, but in a way it was better. I'm an introvert at heart and so is the author, she reached out of her comfort zone and met everyday kind of people.
William Torgerson
This book gets off to a touching and fast start. I'm lately in the habit of thinking in terms of questions and experiments when it comes to art and writing. I'd say River's book answers a question like this one: What would happen if I prayed for a stranger everyday and sometimes went up to that stranger and told them what I was doing?

River Jordan takes us with her as she goes about praying for strangers throughout the year. What's most interesting to me about this is the effect the act has on he...more
Sandy Walker
I loved this book! It is full of first person narrative short stories that draw you into each person's story. I read it slowly, little by little, whenever I needed a little inspiration and it never failed to please. Wow, what an adventure she had. I wonder if she is still doing it?

I found the Facebook page for the book and posted how much I liked it. She actually responded(!) and was very nice. How rare that is. When I really like a book and find a way to tell the author, I am used to not being...more
Linda
This is a memoir of the author making a New Year's resolution to pray for strangers that she meets; and the resulting effect it has on her own perception of prayer and the dominant personality trait of introversion.

While I enjoyed many of the interactions, I found some of them repetitive with many interactions in grocery stores and restaurants. In addition, I didn't find anything in it that I might consider to improve my prayer life. There were no real revelations; just validations.

I would recom...more
Ellen
So far so good. I could have done with a little less info about her life and thoughts and a little more about the people she prays for but actually, the proportions are just about right in this book. The longer I read it, the more I felt like I am actually having a conversation with the author about how to love my neighbors as well as myself. I began to really enjoy the little nuggets of wisdom in the book. Sadly, I'm not sure I could ever come up to someone and tell them I'd chosen them to pray...more
Petite YaYA
A friend & I each purchased this book and are going to make them "traveling books". Hopefully each person who receives the book will read & pass on. Each of us hopes to receive the book back at a time with all the names & locations of ones who have read the book.

This is a wonderful book & reminded me that no prayer is too small and welcome by God and the person prayer for. Another book is "365 Thank Yous: The Year a Simple Act of Daily Gratitude Changed My Life" that can be life...more
Melissa
Reads like a blog. Seems like she repeats herself with the same kind of stories. So I only read a chapter or two a week.
Although I'm kind of annoyed by her optimism, makes me want to have more meaningful prayers.
I'm not unaccustomed to praying for people, but they are for people in my life whom I have direct relationships with.
Praying for someone you know nothing about takes more faith & selflessness.
Intrigued by this concept, don't think I'd do it as she does, but think I will be more k...more
Trish Remley
This was our January book club book. I did enjoy it and it gave me a lot to think about - to better observe what is going on around me and to focus prayer on others - strangers.
NC
Lovely book. Very inspiring. I liked the short chapters that made it a perfect bedtime read. Each chapter is a story of one of the strangers she met. She recounts the challenges and triumphs. I did wonder if she ever ran into someone who was upset or angry at her approach. The uplifting message made for a pleasant night and encouragement for the morning. I definitely want to try my own resolution. What a gift River Jordan has given the world if just a few of us continue her challenge to pray for...more
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