The next to last book I finished reading is Sun Stand Still by Steven Furtick. Furtick is the lead pastor of Elevation Church based out of Charlotte, NC. I had the pleasure of hearing him speak at the ReFuel conference I attended with our church staff last May. I picked up the book at the conference, but as you can see, I just now got around to reading it. I feel even more connected to the church now (even though I am three hours away) because I have a close friend from high school who now attends there. So, without much hesitation, let us go ahead and actually talk about the book.
The book is based around the story of Elijah in Joshua chapter 10 where he and his men are battling the Amorites. Joshua had been told by God that they were to destroy all the Amorites; however, the sun began to set and the Amorites began to flee into darkness. At this point, Joshua cries out for God to make the sun stand still so that they can continue to carry out what they were assigned to do. It is a miraculous story that I am sure many debate the scientific nature of and whether it even happened. I do not want to get bogged down in those debates as, like many things, I believe regardless of your beliefs, you have to say that if God is everything He says He is, He must at least have the power to do this. Whether or not it truly happened is not up for me to decide. I simply know He has the power to do this.
Let me first say that it is possible that after reading this, you will think that Furtick is a prosperity preacher. That is not the truth, but rather, I relate to the message he is trying to convey through the book. For me, I found myself taking to heart a lot of the information written in the book. For instance, I often find my prayers being very basic and gray. I rarely ask for something specific. Rather than asking for this specific plat of land for our church to build on, I am more likely to ask that we just find a spot. That is not how Joshua attacked his situation, and I do not think you and I can either.
Joshua did not just say, “Lord, please help us finish off the Amorites before it gets dark because it is what you want”. No, he had a direct intentions when he said in verse twelve of chapter 10, “Sun, stand still over Gibeon, and moon, over the Valley of Aijalon”. It seems clear to me that Joshua knew what he wanted to happen and he was not afraid to ask God for it. For me, I have to be willing to pray specifically for issues about my church and my own personal life. Instead of just asking for God to place someone in my way for me to share Christ with, I need to be asking Him to place specific people. There is nothing wrong with specific things.
Often times we wrap up prayers with some phrase that says if it is according to His will. When we do this I feel like we ask for something, but we do not actually believe it is going to come to pass. It is almost as if we say, we would like this to happen, but we do not really believe it is going to materialize. Again, this is not a “name it and claim it” theology, but rather it helps us show God that we are thinking about the words we are actually saying. Rather than asking just a general blessing, we have taken the time to ponder what we truly need or are blessed to have. Rather than only asking God for a small, crumb of a blessing and approaching Him like that is all He has to spare we need to be willing to ask for the audacious goals so that it can be proclaimed that it had to have been of God.
Outside of this, the book is a fairly simple read. I finished it in about a week. At this point I really only have two complaints. The first is that my copy is a larger print than I would have liked. I do not know if that is normal or if it is just my copy, but larger print makes my eyes hurt. The second is that I wish Furtick would have spent more time dealing with how to respond when God says “No”. We know that sometimes He does not answer our prayers, but Furtick only gives one chapter to this notion. In my own life, I have found that more Christians believe that God has said, “No” instead of “Yes” and it would have been useful to have more information on this time in life.
Overall the book is good and seems to be fairly solid with no major theological flaws. I would recommend it to someone who is either someone who is new in the faith or burnt out as it can help ignite a person’s prayer life once again. I know it did mine.