Guest Recommendations

Guest Reviewers recommend both new and favourite books...
Amy Boucher PyeAmy Boucher Pye is a writer, speaker and editor living in North London. An American by birth, she loves all things English, especially her husband and children. (Well, not all things - not its plumbing.) She writes regular columns (or, she hopes extraordinary columns on a regular basis) for Liberti magazine and Christian Marketplace, as well as running the book club for Woman Alive. She also enjoys writing Bible reading notes for a number of publications, including Day by Day with God. She is (still) working on her first book, Beloved Am I, a themed memoir. She is surrounded by history and the COE (her husband), Chelsea FC (her son), and Barbies (her daughter), but she maintains her allegiance to the Minnesota Vikings.
Heavenís Calling
Author - Leanne Payne

Paperback (01 October 2008)
Price: £8.99

Publisher: Baker Books imprint of Baker Pub. from Lion
ISBN: 978-0-801-01312-6
Working on another person's autobiography is an immense privilege, especially when that someone is Leanne Payne. One of my favourite quotations about her is that of Dallas Willard: 'You simply cannot categorize Leanne Payne. You simply have to ‘come and see' the intelligence, imagination and courage with which this seasoned and daily associate of Jesus opens doors to the Kingdom.' He so aptly puts his finger on her 'uncategorizable' quality. This is rooted in so many things, not least that she has been created by our most creative Father, but also, I think, because she so fully embraces the evangelical, charismatic and sacramental channels of the faith.

I've been profoundly affected by her ministry over the years, starting in my twenties when I was engaged to be married to a man who would have been highly unsuitable. Attending one of her healing-prayer conferences was a first step in my journey to accepting that I was God's beloved, and that I could have the courage to break off that toxic relationship.

A year or two later I was asked to be the editor for Leanne's book Listening Prayer (Baker, 1994). Having gained so much from her writing and healing conferences, I jumped at the chance. And as I worked on her new book, I enthusiastically embraced her premise - that the Lord longs to speak to his children, but that we are so often overwhelmed with the noise of modern life that we miss his still, small voice.

As I started to hear the Lord's words of love and affirmation (so crucial in the journey to self-acceptance), I became an evangelist for listening prayer. I hadn't quite developed the spiritual maturity needed, however, to discern when it was really the Lord speaking and when the desires of my heart were dominating. I can see now how the Lord allowed a few very large disappointments to help me grow in wisdom and maturity.

A couple years passed and much was happening in my life (like meeting and marrying my English beau) as Leanne started her autobiography, Heaven's Calling - One Soul's Steep Ascent . That was nearly fifteen years ago, for I remember eagerly reading some early chapters during our first year of marriage. Hers, I knew, would be a spiritual autobiography with a difference. And it is.

It took her many years to write her account, but it was worth the wait. Again I learned so much as I edited her book. This time round I gained greater insight into some of the deep truths she teaches on, such as what she calls 'Incarnational reality,' or that God through his son and Spirit dwells in his children, for she tells the stories about how she unearthed these biblical insights. And I learned more about the people she met along the way, including Dr Clyde Kilby, who set up the CS Lewis collection at Wheaton College; Fr. Richard Winkler, grandfather of the renewal movement; Agnes Sanford, pioneer in healing prayer; and the beloved priest and author Henri Nouwen.

Some think Leanne has a special hotline to God, but her book wonderfully illustrates that she doesn't exist on a higher spiritual plane than other mortals. She is a 'mere Christian' in the best CS Lewis sense of that phrase. But one whose life is worth exploring and gaining from.

This review of the reprinted book appeared in a longer form in Christian Marketplace in 2009.

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