Prayer, Power & Results! by Abolaji Muyiwa Akinbo
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by the author in exchange for an honest review.]
This is a self-published book from an American-educated Nigerian-born pastor who happens to live in Florida, so if one tempers one’s expectations accordingly, one will not be bothered by the minor orthographic errors, changes in font from page to page on occasion, and omitted words in long series of fairly similar sentences included in this book. As a prolific reader of material across the landscape of self-professed Christians, I make it a special point from time to time to read books that spring from a different culture than my own, not least because it provides perspectives as to what others are dealing with, which helps to provide for better perspective. This is the second book from this particular author I have had the chance to read , and like the previous book it happens to be strong in dealing with spiritual warfare, to the point where its discussion of demonology is far beyond my own knowledge of different classes of spiritual hosts, including mysterious “star hunters.”
In terms of the author’s overall approach, the organization of the book provides a significant hint that this book is more about seeking power, and speaking in a commanding fashion, than it is about prayer as it would be recognized by most people (at least most people who I happen to know). The first third or so of this book gives a justification of prayer based on a series of extended metaphors, and stories, some of them drawn from scripture, some from the homely stories of ordinary life. This mixture seems to be suggestive of the way that this book is a blend of the author’s own native cultural traditions along with the overlay of scriptural truth and language. This is not to criticize the author in any way, for this is a tendency that all of us have, but it is most noticeable when looking at others rather than oneself. The remaining more than 2/3 of the book is taken up by a dense array of short and often pointed sentences that alternatively praise God, seek to induce God into giving some kind of blessing, or rebuke some sort of diverse array of evil spirit, ranging from spirit wives and the aforementioned star hunters to spirits of addiction and despair. To give at least some flavor of the contents of this second part of the book, these contents consist of a given theme, like praying against insomnia, or prayer for ministers and minister’s prosperity, or a prayer for a spouse, or triumph over anxiety, to give but a few examples, a few scriptures, and then between one and three pages (in general) of short sentences, most of them with bolded words and ending in an exclamation mark, to shout out to God or Satan and his demons. Needless to say, it should go without saying that this book features a lot of shouting.
In terms of evaluating this book, there are a few matters that stand out. For one, the author in this book (as in the previous work of his that I read) takes spiritual warfare far more seriously than most people. Despite the fact that I sometimes find his manner of expression infelicitous, he certainly does focus on praising God, on beseeching God for blessings, and on rebuking the demonic world particularly strongly. In reading this book, though, several matters of either concern or critique came easily to mind. One of these is that the book offers little in the way of structured and organized discussions of prayer. Rather than a thematically connected set of statements that form a coherent whole, even the longer series of prayers here either offer repetition with slight difference or mere random collation, as in the rapid fire prayers at the end. Any logical flow, aside from the general theme of the collection of prayers, is largely coincidental. Additionally, the use of prayer to seek to induce God is dangerous ground, especially when one considers that one of the prayers in this book is a request for God to banish all unscriptural thoughts. The scriptures provided are generally useful, and if some of the language of the short comments is unbiblical and indeed even hard to understand for those who do not share the author’s cultural background, the book does contain enough thoughtful material to be worthwhile both as a cultural artifact as well as an attempt to encourage others to take prayer seriously. There is much to be said for that, even if far too many of these prayers cross over some dangerous borders into the territory of the prosperity gospel or the message of books like The Secret.