The Secret Place Of The Most High For Women, by Busola Jegede
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by Author’s Blog Tours in exchange for an honest review.]
This book is fascinating for a variety of reasons. For one, it is basically a companion piece to the book I read yesterday about mentoring ministries for men , focusing on women instead of men and on seeking the approval of God rather than the rich and powerful. For another, the book is written by a Nigerian woman who claims to be “an ordained Apostle with strong prophetic unction.” (Ordained by whom?). In some ways the author is a female and African writer akin to Herbert W. Armstrong with the writing in all caps and the passionate and prolific writing. In some ways, this book is the product of someone who appears to have done much more writing than reading, with its unconventional organization (its lack of a clear introduction and conclusion), but despite its quirky and peculiar language, it is still a worthy read.
This book is quite revealing in the way that Christianity has affected fairly recent African converts. While this book is clearly not a product of great intellectual knowledge, it is sincere and passionate and full of relevance to the world of the author. For example, the author makes an offhand comment about being patient in “trivial domestic matters” like dealing with a maid or a driver. This is a trivial domestic matter in West Africa (in Ghana) or other parts of the developing world (like Thailand) for a middle class person like the author, but few readers in the west (except those who have traveled to West Africa or other nations like it) will be familiar with having drivers or maids, so it would be a “trivial” matter to them. This sort of commentary makes it unclear exactly what the intended audience for this book is, as it is likely to be very appealing to others from her own background but also a book with some barriers to being appreciated by those who find the language of this book too awkward, even if the author has a great deal of compassion for the situation of women in the contemporary world.
After a short and very scattered introduction, which includes a commentary on Psalm 91 , which provides this book with its title, the book gets to the main body, which consists of 48 sets of prayers, four for each Gregorian month, and then 21 prayers for a 21-day fast that people are supposed to take during the course of the year. These prayers walk a fine balance between a prosperity gospel that assumes belief will lead to increased wealth (a tempting promise in modern Africa) and a realization of the tests and trials that believers have to deal with and the generational patterns of failure as well as the personal responsibility we have in living our best lives, and the recognition that we need support networks to help us out. By and large, this book is pragmatic and full of concerns for women regarding their spiritual life, family life, and business life. The quotes come from narrative portions of the law, as well as frequent references to the prophets and the writings (particularly the psalms) and the Gospels.
This book is primarily focused on women, and I thought it would be worthwhile for a reader to understand something of this book’s language and appeal to women. See, for example, this selection from page 166 where the author seeks to encourage singles, single parents, and widows: “1. Oh Lord let there be a restoration and turnaround for the better in my life and situation in Jesus’ name. Isaiah 55: 13. 2. I will no longer be forsaken for God has made me an eternal excellency and a joy of many generations in Jesus’ name. 3. Father, release unto every Ruth her Boaz in Jesus’ name. 4. Let there be divine connections and positioning in Jesus’ name. 5. We pray for divine restoration and new beginnings in marriage in Jesus’ name.” Although this book is meant for women and targeted to women, surely not only women think about these matters and long for divine connections and positioning. Not by a long shot. This is a book with a lot of prayers, much of which are worthy of study and reflection, even if this book is somewhat awkwardly formatted, imperfectly copyedited, and oddly worded. Fortunately, it is also a short book, coming in at under 200 pages, and being full of worthy scriptural references, which ought to be appreciated by the men and women who read it.