In her book The Aroma of Prayer and Faith, Virginia-based ordained minister Lonetha Jones offers a series of reflections on the beauty of Christian spiritual life. At the heart of her ponderings are the importance of communication and a celebration of God’s majesty: “The Christian’s prayer is not something done to just be religious; there is power in prayer. Where else can one go anytime of the day or night and be welcomed into the court of a king?”
Jones’ approach to her material is impassioned. Her understanding of scripture is acute and her faith is devout, all necessary components found in the best Bible teachers. Indeed, she is a fine teacher. But some constructive criticism could enhance the overall quality of her book.
One, its introduction does little to set the stage. The author’s specific intention (other than to talk about prayer and faith) isn’t clear; nor is it apparent how her project differs from the plethora of similar books on the market.
Two, Jones quotes prodigiously from scripture (Chapter 2 is almost entirely scripture excerpts), but the book would serve the reader better if she unpacked those passages in her own unique voice. One may argue that God can speak for himself, but the purpose of a book like this is to gather insights from an author’s intellectual or spiritual experiences.
Three, the book needs editing to reel in redundancies and to help work out some awkward phrasing (e.g., “This then becomes the Abraham journey whereas we trust in the Lord with all of our strength based on Jesus’ promise never to leave or forsake us”).
Although the book needs work, Jones offers a clear and important message: that asking for forgiveness leads to a renewed and loving relationship with the Almighty. That’s a message believers can never hear too often. Despite the issues mentioned, Jones’ book is worth a look.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.