GRAMMY ® and GMA Dove Award winning, multi-platinum selling recording artist Michael W. Smith reaches another milestone in his 28 year career with the release his 12th book, “A Simple Blessing; The Extraordinary Power of an Ordinary Prayer,” in March 2011 (Zondervan).
Smith, known for his compassion and generosity, has been impacted by stories of those hardest-hit by life changing devastation. From the effects of the economic downturn to families losing loved ones to natural disasters half a world away. Recently, Smith has felt led to close his concerts with a prayer of blessing over his audience. A simple prayer of blessing, sparked a response unlike anything he’s experienced in his 28 years of ministry.
Letters and e-mails poured in, relaying stories of the encouragement, empowerment and hope brought to troubled lives. An organic move to prayer is taking place.
From this response Smith discovered that God’s blessings are measured more by the flourishing of character in adversity than the flourishing of possessions, and that the result in such is overflowing joy and peace. Collaborating with accomplished writer Thomas Williams, Smith’s desire and purpose in writing the book was to encourage and inspire readers to examine their hearts and learn to experience God’s blessing as well as to speak words of blessing to others to draw them nearer to the heart of God.
This book breaks the prayer Smith prays into its six specific Blessings: What Does It Mean to Pray for Others, The Prayer for Spiritual Health, The Prayer for a Pure Mind, The Prayer for Personal Holiness, The Prayer for Backyard Blessings, and The Prayer for Spiritual Victory. Each chapter begins with a quote containing the segment of the blessing it will address. Then the chapter explains the value of the blessing and gives practical guidance on how to open oneself to the blessing and enjoy its benefits. An example of one blessing is in The Prayer for a Pure Mind:
Be blessed with supernatural strength to turn your eyes from foolish, worthless, and
evil things, and to shut out the demeaning and the negative. Instead may you behold the
beauty of things that God has planned for you as you obey His Word. May God bless you
ears to hear the lovely, the uplifting, and the encouraging. May your mind be strong,
disciplined, balanced, and faith-filled.
Following the blessing Smith goes on to describe how the impact of our culture is determining how our minds are affected (or not) by entertainment: “We’re being conditioned to accept the negative as the normal. From time to time I’ve expressed to friends my disappointment with a TV show or my longing for a movie with a hero I could admire for his values or his refusal to compromise. More often than not, the response I get is that I’m not moving with the times. The movies of the past were not realistic, they tell me….They want movie heroes with real flaws like the rest of us. No one is altogether pure or altogether evil. And if movies, TV shows, and novels are honest, they will give us characters who reflect that natural mixture.”
And then in approaching the value of the blessing he says : “I know that today’s movie critics would dismiss films such as ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ as unrealistic, wishful fantasies with impossibly good heroes and sappy happy-ever-after endings…I beg to differ. The grunge, corruption, immorality, and violence that critics like to call reality are not reality at all. The true reality is found beneath the blight in what God created in the beginning — the perfection of the world as he originally made it. Only the good that God created is real. We came along and added the corruption, evil, pain, decay, and death, which are not reality but contaminations of reality…. The story God wrote has a happy-ever-after ending that promises eternal joy to those who focus on the pure and lovely and adopt true character into their lives. If we focus our eyes and ears on things that give us glimpses of that happy reality, it will go a long way toward enabling us to receive the blessings God wants to pour into us.”
Smith recently wrapped the very successful “Make A Difference” Tour with Max Lucado , TobyMac and Third Day, and recently launched his, “It’s a Wonderful Christmas” tour on November 26th in his hometown of Nashville, Tenn. He also recently announced the “2 Friends” tour with Amy Grant, which marks the first time the two will tour together (for a non-holiday tour) in more than two decades. The multi-city U.S. tour will kick off in early February.
For more information on “A Simple Blessing; The Extraordinary Power of an Ordinary Prayer,” and Michael W. Smith, please visit www.michaelwsmith.com or www.zondervan.com/Cultures/en-US/Product/ProductDetail.htm?ProdID=com.zondervan.9780310327561&QueryStringSite=Zondervan.
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