I just ordered a copy of this book for both of my daughters.
No, I don’t do this on a regular basis. However, after reading this book, I wanted them to each be able to hear this story.
The book is The God Box. The author is Mary Lou Quinlan.
Mary Lou Quinlan has written a fine book. On one level, the book is about Quinlan’s mother, Mary Finlayson, and her relationship with her daughter, Mary Lou. Yet, on another level, the thread that runs throughout the book is the prayers of Quinlan’s mother.
Her mother regularly prayed for others. Many of these prayers came after others poured out their hearts to Mary Finlayson regarding their problems, worries, and fears. For twenty years, she would write down these concerns on random pieces of paper and slip them inside her “God box.” This was a box in her home in which she placed her petitions to God.
The book is well written and attractive. Not only does it contain numerous pictures of the family, but there are many photocopies of her mother’s prayer requests. To see these prayer requests handwritten on pieces of paper is very moving.
There is much to be said for the book. I especially appreciated the portrait of this mother who, in the course of her life, prayed to God regarding her husband, her children, her friends, and many other people.
“She inhaled a worry. She exhaled a prayer.”
Mary Finlayson connected with many other people in a compassionate and caring way. Family members, friends, and people she had just met poured out their problems and difficulties to her. She in turn took these petitions to God.
These petitions were handwritten and then placed in her God box each time she wrote one. Upon her death, a number of boxes were found containing twenty years of these notes. The notes are simple petitions; however, they reflect a deep trust and familiarity with the one to whom she was praying.
As I read these petitions, I was reminded that the beauty of prayer is not in ornate language or eloquent speech. Rather, the beauty is found in a childlike trust in God. Mary Finlayson expresses her petitions with great detail at times. She includes times, places, and the people who are involved in a particular concern. No vague generalities in these petitions! She expresses these particulars much like one would speak in a normal conversation.
The book is about a close relationship between daughter and mother. It is also about a woman who gave herself to others. Many of us know what it is to carry with us the problems, worries, and anxieties of others. Mary learned to bring take problems and worries to the God box and leave them there.
I am glad I read this book. Not only did this book inspire me to pray more about the ordinary moments of life but also to leave the cares and worries of others in the hands of God. The God Box is a reminder that there is someone else who is willing to bear our problems and those of our loved ones.
(Note: I received a complimentary advanced copy for review.)