Image of the Holy Spirit and the Church

If the Bible is an outreach document written by and for missionaries, then the Holy Spirit is the instrument of that evangelical call. The Image of the Holy Spirit and the Church examines the Bible’s description of the Holy Spirit from before Pentecost and the call the church in view of current challenges.

Image of the Holy Spirit and the Church is written in a devotional format with a reflection, prayers, and questions for study.

Hear the Words; Walk the Steps; Experience the Joy!

Cover art by C. Hiemstra (2023), The Lighthouse, Used with Permission.

 

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Reviews:Eric Teitelman wrote:

In Image of the Holy Spirit and the Church Stephen Hiemstra teaches us about the third person of the Trinity—the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the most misunderstood person of the Godhead, but also the most essential. Jesus told us he would not leave us orphaned, and he asked his heavenly Father to send the comforter, the Holy Spirit who will teach you and remind you of all the things Jesus spoke. There can be no spirit-filled life without the Holy Spirit. We live in his dispensation until Jesus returns. God’s peace, encouragement, guidance, and authority to minister all originate from the Holy Spirit.

Stephen’s books are exceptionally written, and each nugget of wisdom is captioned with thought-provoking questions that deepen our understanding of and draw us closer to God. This book is an indispensable addition to his Image of God series that will deepen your spiritual walk with the Lord.

Sharron Giambanco wrote:

“A footloose Holy Spirit” and an “Avian image of God” splash vivid word pictures on a canvas depicting the role of the Holy Spirit in the Church. Stephen Hiemstra, in Image of the Holy Spirit and the Church, writes of the Holy Spirit’s essential role in the Body of Christ in a lively manner that is both scholarly and comprehensible for those who wish to understand more about the third person of the Trinity.

Sarah Hamaker wrote:

The Image of the Holy Spirit and the Church helps believers to dive deeper into the Holy Spirit's role in establishing the early church and churches today. Stephen Hiemstra’s book covers topics related to the Holy Spirit with a special focus on the Gospels of Luke and John, as part of Hiemstra's Image of God series.


The Detour

A Thriller

What is the consequence of ignoring one’s better judgment and the advice of friends?

Luke Stevens believes he is lucky in love, but the path of least resistance leads to disaster at sea and waking up in a North Korea hospital. But Luke is not alone even as he becomes the object of an international manhunt. Will he find his way out of the Hermit Kingdom? Will his love prevail? Will he learn to trust his better instincts?

The cover art is called The Good Samaritan by He Qi (www.heqiart.com).

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The Detour is a highly suspenseful story with twists and turns and flavored with deep faith. This read is definitely a page turner.

Elizabeth Smith, Author

 The Detour is an interesting read that will keep you in suspense until the end.

Rui Ma

 This exciting book is perfect for a plane trip or as a break from daily responsibilities.

Hyunok Lee

 The Detour is a captivating and thought-provoking novel that transports readers into the heart of North Korea. With its engaging characters, compelling storyline, and exploration of social issues, this book offers a unique and immersive reading experience.

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Wilson McMillan

 This is fascinating story that I think you will love as much as I do.

Ann Westerman

 From the first paragraph, Stephen Hiemstra’s novella, The Detour, captures the attention of the reader and holds it securely to the end of the book. Remarkably, he shows the reality of persecutions of Christians in our time, a truly thought-provoking message.

Sharron Giambanco

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Image of God in the Parables

Our image of God reveals not only God’s character, but our own. 

Jesus’ parables reveal a God who is intentionally available to those who seek him. They invite the listener to enter the narrative and engage with God one-on-one to expand our understanding of faith and of ourselves.

The image of God in the New Testament takes at least three forms: The person of Jesus, Jesus' teaching about the kingdom of God with the parables, and the founding of the church on Pentecost by the Holy Spirit. In this book I will focus on the image of God the Father found in the parables.

The authenticity of the parables as Jesus' own words is seldom questioned, in part, because Jesus' parables are unique, a genre unto themselves, but not a typical genre. A typical genre might adhere to a particular structure or story form, but not a parable. 

Image of God in the Parables is written in a devotional format with a reflection, prayers, and questions for study.

Cover art by C. Hiemstra (2023), The Lost Sheep, Used with Permission.

Hear the words; walk the steps; experience the joy!

Author Stephen W. Hiemstra (MDiv, Ph.D.) is a slave of Christ, husband, father, author, and volunteer pastor. He lives in Centreville, Virginia with Maryam, his wife of more than thirty-five years. They have three grown children.

 

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Clear, well-researched, and innovative, Hiemstra has produced an important work investigating the defining feature of humanity—the Image of God.

Paul Lauerman, Pastor

Image of God in the Parables introduces you to a different perspective of God that you might not have considered before, an intimate God that seeks you out to have a relationship of Creator with created.

Nohemi Zerbi

The book will deepen your spiritual walk with the Lord as He continues to disciple us daily through His written word and many of life’s experiences.

Eric Teitelman, Pastor

In Image of God in the Parables, Stephen Hiemstra uncovers the image of God as Jesus taught in his parables

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Sarah Hamaker, Author

Stephen W Hiemstra helps us deepen the truths of the Kingdom of our beloved God.

Julio Martinez, Pastor

Stephen reminds us that: “We can never fully comprehend God, but he invites us to try. When we do, the forms that lead us to him, like the parables and worship, no longer constrain us. They simply launch us into this new dimension available only through faith.”

Briane Pittman Kairns

“Jesus’ parables are like the water offered to desert traveler lost, faint-hearted, and close to death.“ The Image of God in the Parables is a drink from the Living Water for the seeker who longs to quench his thirst for God in the arid desert of modern materialism.

Sharron Giambanco

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Reviews:Romuald Dzemo on The Book Commentary wrote:

Image of God in the Parables by Stephen W. Hiemstra is a wonderful exploration of the divine through the lens of Jesus' parables. The book examines the multifaceted nature of God's image as revealed in the New Testament, with a particular focus on the parables that convey the teachings of Jesus. Hiemstra contends that our perception of God reflects not only the divine character but also our own, establishing a connection between theological understanding and personal introspection. Hiemstra takes readers on a spiritual journey through the parables, highlighting their immersive quality and the unexpected paths they offer to experience God's transcendence. The book blends theology, narrative, and personal reflection, touching on metaphysics, anthropology, epistemology, and ethics. The author engages with philosophical perspectives, including the limitations of logical proof and the role of faith. Hiemstra explores the concept of ''warranted faith'' and the relational evidence of God's existence found in the Bible, emphasizing truth as a central theme.

The discussions on mercy unravel the distinction between mercy and compassion, drawing insights from parables like the “Good Samaritan” and the “Unforgiving Servant.” The author weaves biblical examples and principles into the book, reinforcing the consistency of God's merciful character and challenging believers to embody mercy in their lives. This gorgeous spiritual offering invites readers to meditate and to reflect on the hidden imports of the parables, with tools to grasp the allegorical interpretation of the Parables such as the “Barren Fig Tree.” Hiemstra integrates personal anecdotes and biblical references in the book, emphasizing divine mercy as a test for recipients and exploring the concept of restorative justice. The exploration of the healing of the man with an unclean spirit and the Parable of the Lost Sheep provides insights into the intricate relationship between grace, faith, and human response. Image of God in the Parables is written in prose that is accessible and in a voice that is authoritative. The questions at the end of each chapter will provoke a spiritual journey in readers. This book is a gift of faith that should be read and shared.


Image and Illumination

A Study of Christian Anthropology

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What does it mean to be created in the image of God? This is the core question in Christian anthropology and it is surprisingly important in understanding everything else. Anthropology is the study of human beings, the who question of philosophy. As Christians, our identity is found in Jesus Christ, but exactly what does this imply?

Because we are created in the image of God, he is familiar and we immediately recognize him (metaphysics). Because we worship the God who created the universe, we expect the universe to be orderly and worthy of scientific study (epistemology). Because God loves us, we can love those around us who make up God's family (ethics). Our anthropology is accordingly an interpretive key that colors how we see everything else.

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In exploring this question, Image and Illumination offers over forty devotions containing a reflection, prayer, and questions for discussion. These devotions are organized into these chapters: Introduction, Image, Fall from Grace, Illumination, and Restoration.

Cover art is by James Tissot (1836-1902): Moses Adores God in the Burning Bush. French Jewish Museum, New York.

Hear the words; walk the steps; experience the joy!

 What are people saying?

Image and Illumination is a book you'll want to read and reread, a treasure trove of spiritual insight. Through thoughtful interpretation of Scripture, Stephen applies insight in a way to challenge the believer to a greater appreciation of their faith.

Linda Wood Rondeau, Author

Stephen as a way of writing that not only brings clarity to these complex theological topics but brings them home to the reader, so they connect with these truths on a personal level.

Eric Teitelman, Pastor

Stephen has written a series of brief textual expositions on a variety of interesting, important, and sometimes difficult theological issues.

Walter Brueggemann, Columbia Theological Seminary

Stephen tackles that most basic of human questions: What does it mean to be created in the image of God? Through modern-day examples and scripture, he draws the reader ever closer to the answer found in Christ.

Sarah Hamaker, Author

Many of us live with the sense that all is not as it should be in this world. That our world is both beautiful and somehow broken. In Image and Illumination Stephen Hiemstra peels back the layers of our modern world to reveal not just what things should be, but what they one day will be through God's work in our world. You will not regret your time immersed in this book.

Aaron McMillan, Pastor

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Ein Christlicher Leitfaden zur Spiritualität

Grundlagen für Jünger

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Spiritualität ist gelebter Glaube ob im Gebet, in der Andacht, oder in der Begegnung mit unseren Mitmenschen. Dabei verleiht unser Glaube unserer Spiritualität eine Struktur, ähnlich wie die Knochen der Haut, die sich über sie erstreckt, eine Struktur geben.  Christliche Spiritualität beginnt bei Gott, nicht bei uns. Die folgenden Seiten beleuchten die christliche Spiritualität im Kontext von täglichen Andachten. Zu jedem Thema gibt es biblische Textstellen, Reflexion, Gebet, und Diskussionsfragen. Wo es angebracht ist, werden Hinweise für weitere Studien angeboten. Die ersten vier Kapitel (Einführung, das Apostolische Glaubensbekenntnis, das Vaterunser, und die Zehn Gebote) umfassen vierzig Tage und eignen sich daher zum Studium während der Fastenzeit.

Die gesamte Studie umfasst fünfzig Tage, und kann an Ostern begonnen und bis Pfingsten fortgeführt werden.

Höre die Worte; gehe die Schritte; erlebe die Freude!

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Autor Stephen W. Hiemstra (MDiv, Ph.D.) ist ein Knecht Christi, Ehemann, Vater, Autor, ehrenamtlicher Pastor, und Ökonom. Er ist seit über 35 Jahren mit seiner Frau Maryam verheiratet; die beiden leben in Centreville, Virginia, und haben drei erwachsene Kinder.

„Du hast meinen Segen. Es ist ein Buch, das geschrieben werden musste. Es wird viel Gutes tun.”

-Peter John Kreeft, Professor of Philosophy

Stephen hat einen hilfreichen, zugänglichen Leitfaden bereitgestellt, der in seinem Aufbau der klassischen katechetischen Struktur des Apostolischen Glaubensbekenntnisses, des Vaterunsers, und der Zehn Gebote folgt.“

  • David A. Currie, Professor of Pastoral Theology

Dies ist ein Buch für diejenigen, die verstehen wollen, wie man am besten einen lebendigen Glauben und eine sich ständig vertiefende hingebungsvolle und erlebte Kenntnis Gottes haben kann.”

- Stephen Macchia, Director, Pierce Center for Disciple-Building

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Masquerade

A Thriller

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What happens when an online date goes horribly wrong? 

Luke Stevens saves the day and pays the ultimate price, but U.S. relations with China preclude him from dying just yet. The CIA recruits his father, the divorced Pastor Phil Stevens, to masquerade as his son and flush out the terrorists. Can he remain faithful to his marriage vows in the midst of deception, temptation, and betrayal? Can he find love again?

Author, Stephen W. Hiemstra, is a debut novelist, but has published a Christian spirituality series (5 books), a standalone prayer-book, and numerous research publications while working as an economist.

Reviews:Publishers Weekly, March 21, 2022, p. 82. on BookLife Reviews wrote:

The first novel in debut novelist Hiemstra’s high-stakes Christian thriller Masquerade tells the story of Luke Stevens, a financial engineer for the United States government, and his father, Phil Stevens. While on a blind date, Luke foils a group of terrorists attempting the abduction of the daughter of Ling Xiu, the premier of China. Luke appears to die in the dustup, and Phil, a pastor, is tasked with impersonating his son in order to help the CIA flush out the terrorists. Phil reluctantly agrees, but is concerned about his former congregation and the impact of the mission on his own family, including the ex-wife he is struggling to forgive.

At just over 200 pages, Masquerade is fast-paced and packed with action, though that’s not all that’s on Hiemstra’s mind. Phil, the lead character for the majority of the book, often reflects on Christian values, and the narration and dialogue are often distinguished with Christian themes, including occasional quotes from scripture; readers who enjoy reading about the faith will likely enjoy this respectful treatment of a pastor who doubles as a CIA agent. The plotting offers strong echoes of Cold War spy craft, with double identities, a switcheroo funeral, and Phil’s physical transformation, and the prose, while often driven by dialogue, carries a lot of energy.

Some of that dialogue is, at times, stilted, and readers might face some confusion at the narrative choice to refer to the undercover Phil as “Luke.” Perhaps intended to suggest the delicate complexity of switching identities, that decision has the effect of distancing readers from the protagonist’s emotions and motivations. Lei Han makes an effective heavy, and the exciting adventure eventually involves the vice president, Air Force Two, a trip to China, and a jolt of an ending, likely to be picked up in future books. Christian readers of thrillers will find much that’s engaging here.


Vida en Tensión

Cuando Dios llega en nuestras vidas, cambiamos.

Nuestra nueva identidad en Cristo entra en tensión con nuestra vieja identidad en nosotros mismos cuando el Espíritu Santo obra en nuestros corazones y mentes. Esta tensión surge entre quiénes éramos y para quién Dios nos creó, entre nosotros y Dios, y entre nosotros y quienes nos rodean. El apóstol Pablo llama santificación a la obra del Espíritu Santo en nuestra vida.

Vida en Tensión refleja sobre las Bienaventuranzas de Jesús en el contexto de las Escrituras. Las Bienaventuranzas sirven como introducción al Sermón del Monte y exponen las prioridades de Jesús al enseñar a sus discípulos. Debido a que el sermón sirve como una especie de servicio de ordenación para los apóstoles, no se puede exagerar la importancia de las Bienaventuranzas para la iglesia primitiva, la espiritualidad cristiana y el discipulado de hoy.

Vida en Tensión se organiza como una devocional. Cada capítulo ofrece una reflexión, una oración y preguntas de discusión. Los capítulos están organizados en torno a las nueve Bienaventuranzas de Mateo.

Escuche las palabras; camine los pasos; ¡Experimenta la goza!

 Las palabras de llave para este libro incluyen: Bienaventuranza, cristianismo, espiritualidad, Jesús, Bible, devoción, y fe.

El autor Stephen W. Hiemstra (MDiv, PhD) es un esclavo de Cristo, esposo, padre, pastor voluntario, escritor, y orador. Vive con Maryam, su esposa desde hace más de trenta anos en Centreville, VA y tienen tres hijos adultos.

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Living in Christ

Character, Community, and Leadership

Our journey in Christian ethics starts with God in whose image we are created. Creation begins with birth and continues as we mature. Our character matures, shaped by the example of Christ under the mentorship of the Holy Spirit through the family and the church. Christian leaders reach full maturity once they able to mentor others—we are blessed to be a blessing.

Living in Christ focuses on explaining, not justifying, Christian ethics. At a time and in a place where people scoff at developing a theological understanding of their faith and refuse to teach Christian morality, ethics is almost a lost art. At the heart of the ethical dilemma is a tension between theological principles that can only be resolved the guidance of the Holy Spirit. How do you practice forgiveness for sinners who refuse to confess their sin and force you to bear its consequences? In this context, ethics is less a philosophical discipline that a recognition of our own limitations as Christians and the need for divine intervention.

Ethical thought and action always involve interpretation under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. It is thus ironic that a book on Christian living should have an outward focus on God rather than an inward focus on what to do and not do. This interpretative element colors how we view character formation, the community of faith, leadership, and the many special issues that arise in daily life.

Keywords:  Spiritual growth, ethics, Christian spirituality, character, community, leadership, and Christian living.

Categories: Spiritual Growth and  Ethics

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Reviews:Rollin A. Van Broekhoven, JD, LLM, DPhil, DLitt. wrote:

Many who are not followers of Jesus may believe and act in accordance with what Dr. Hiemstra has written without the summon bonum, which characterizes our life in Christ.

Eric Teitelman wrote:

Stephen Hiemstra has written yet another impactful and thought-provoking book for the church. In a world where ethics and morality within the church are continuously being challenged and redefined by human thought and reason, it is refreshing to see a book that, in simple terms, provides a clear framework for recognizing genuine biblical leadership. And yet, Christian leadership is not reserved for an elect few. No, Christ requires the entirety of His church to attain Godly characteristics that reflect His attributes to a lost and dying world. We are His representatives, and how we live and conduct our lives establishes for the Lord His reputation. Here, Stephen has done a remarkable job highlighting for us what should be intuitive to every Christian filled and born again of the Holy Spirit. Thank you for speaking God’s truth and providing clarity and stability for those of us who are continually seeking to become like Christ—moral and ethical leaders who live and die by God’s biblical standards.

Aaron Gordon wrote:

Stop burning rubber in your faith life! Living in Christ explores the point at which the rubber meets the road for Christians. For a car, the power from the engine transforms into motion through the tires. For a human, faith in Christ transforms into real life choices through ethics. Without a good exploration of Christian ethics, even the most powerful faith in Jesus has no way to transform into decisions that move us forward. Stephen Hiemstra's discussion of Christian ethics is like a great set of tires, providing traction for our faith. It is detailed, relevant, and current. It provides a touchstone for our own personal ethical reflection, something you will need if you want to run the race without spinning tires at the starting line.

Publishers Weekly on Publishers Weekly wrote:

Our journey in Christian ethics starts with God in whose image we are created. Creation begins with birth and continues as we mature. Our character matures, shaped by the example of Christ under the mentorship of the Holy Spirit through the family and the church. Christian leaders reach full maturity once they able to mentor others—we are blessed to be a blessing. Living in Christ focuses on explaining, not justifying, Christian ethics. At a time and in a place where people scoff at developing a theological understanding of their faith and refuse to teach Christian morality, ethics is almost a lost art. At the heart of the ethical dilemma is a tension between theological principles that can only be resolved the guidance of the Holy Spirit. For example, how do you practice forgiveness for sinners who refuse to confess their sin and force you to bear its consequences? In this context, ethics is less a philosophical discipline that a recognition of our own limitations as Christians and the need for divine intervention. Ethical thought and action always involve interpretation under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. It is thus ironic that a book on Christian living should have an outward focus on God rather than an inward focus on what to do and not do. This interpretative element colors how we view character formation, the community of faith, leadership, and the many special issues that arise in daily life.

The fifth and final work in Hiemstra’s Christian spirituality series (following 2019’s Simple Faith) unpretentiously explores the role of Christian ethics in a postmodern environment and examines biblical components of modern religious leadership. This uncomplicated publication illuminates the clash between many core Christian values and current American society, offering concrete methods to tackle topics such as idolatry, family dysfunction, and morally complex decisions. Readers seeking to enhance personal and professional leadership skills will find Hiemstra’s guide easily relatable, with basic and adaptable suggestions for living responsibly. Hiemstra offers specific advice on the trials of pastoring amid present-day demands, and much of the work uses his own experience in the ministry to highlight ethical dilemmas around such everyday concerns as raising children, funding churches, and making restitution for harm.

Theology is explained in straightforward terms with comprehensible interpretation of biblical principles and parables. The work consistently delivers a framework for Bible-based leadership, though at times it digresses with unrelated and disconnected material. Hiemstra’s emphasis on sharing the Christian message in modern times is candid, and the work does not shy away from confronting sensitive topics. The author utilizes personal experiences to clarify and support themes in the work, although readers may find these rudimentary and extraneous. Building from a foundation of pure devotion, Hiemstra exhorts followers to self-transformation through emulating the behaviors and beliefs of Christ and witnessing to others.

Highlighting the Christian leader’s role in addressing societal problems while promoting moral accountability, Hiemstra provides readers with impetus to model maturity by mentoring others. The combination of straightforward biblical analysis of Christian leadership practices and tangible applications for living in faith makes the work relevant to postmodern Christianity and gently challenging. Hiemstra offers a balance of mild admonishment and aspiration for ethical living, and readers will appreciate the forthright presentation of Bible-based principles for effective leadership.

Takeaway: Readers seeking to improve Christian leadership skills and heighten ethical living through well-known biblical principles will find this work straightforward and useful.

Great for fans of John MacArthur, Henri J.M. Nouwen.

Production grades
Cover: C
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: -
Editing: B-
Marketing copy: B

Appeared in the print edition of Publisher's Weekly on November 23, 2020 (page 154).


Simple Faith

Something Worth Living For

As Christians, how do we know what we know? This simple question challenges the nature of information, how we learn, decision making, who we are, and who this God is that we worship. If this challenge appears optional; it is not—our post-Christian culture questions every faith assumption. Simple Faith examines these questions and discusses implications for faith and life.

An important implication of this study is that faith plays a critical role into how we think, learn, and make decisions in the context of limited resources and an uncertain future. Even scientific inquiry requires faith, which normally gets hidden in untested assumptions and presumptions about what is interesting to investigate. Often the critical arguments driving our decisions are not cold hard facts, but the stories that we tell in the midst of complex decision environments.

The timing of this inquiry is critical. The movement from modern to postmodern thinking has upended most institutions, but especially the Christian church. The separation of heart and mind, which characterizes modern thinking, eroded faith leaving the church in a weak position to adapt to the rapid changes accompanying postmodernism. Ironically, postmodern thinking that values storytelling favors Christian faith because the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the best story around.

Keywords: epistemology, faith, Christian philosophy, theology, apologetics, knowledge, decision making

Categories: Spiritual growth, apologetics

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Everyday Prayers for Everyday People

Everyday Prayers for Everyday People
Editions:Kindle: $ 4.95
ISBN: 9781942199342 
Size: 5.00 x 8.00 in
Pages: 152

God’s mercy carries us day in and day out. His love comes to us everyday through simple things—unexpected beauty in a garbage heap; encouragement from a stranger; sunshine bursting through a thunder-shower. Is it any wonder that the Apostle Paul admonishes us to pray without ceasing? (1 Thes 5:17) In doing so, we model what was first modeled to us.

Prayer might be called the language of the heart. Yet, because emotion and thinking are inseparable in the biblical tradition, our heart’s language is both highly emotive and deeply theological. And because our identity is in Christ, our heart’s language is also both immanent and transcendent. The Holy Spirit is both the author and recipient of our prayers. Even ordinary prayers can do extra-ordinary things.

This book, Everyday Prayers for Everyday People, assembles 99 weekly prayers composed from September 2016 through September 2018 by author, Stephen W. Hiemstra. These prayers have been organized into a dozen topics: presence and protection, faith, church, Sabbath rest, adoration, healing, holidays, strength, family, intercession, seasons, and lamentations. The single longest topic is holidays with fourteen prayers.

Hear the words; walk the steps; experience the joy!

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