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The Prayer Box

By Lisa Wingate


When Iola Anne Poole, an old-timer on Hatteras Island, passes away in her bed at ninety-one, the struggling young mother in her rental cottage, Tandi Jo Reese, finds herself charged with the task of cleaning out Iola’s rambling Victorian house.Running from a messy, dangerous past, Tandi never expects to find more than a temporary hiding place within Iola’s walls, but everything changes with the discovery of eighty-one carefully decorated prayer boxes, one for each year, spanning from Iola’s youth to her last days. Hidden in the boxes is the story of a lifetime, written on random bits of paper--the hopes and wishes, fears and thoughts of an unassuming but complex woman passing through the seasons of an extraordinary, unsung life filled with journeys of faith, observations on love, and one final lesson that could change everything for Tandi.

Book Takeaway:

Be active and mindful of the things you’re praying for. Writing down and preserving your prayers helps you clarify the prayer, helps you to continue to pray and allows you to look back on prayers and celebrate prayers answered, whether as you wished or in a different way.

Why the author wrote this book:

Of course in The Prayer Box, there is the message of being active and mindful of the things you’re praying for. Even though only around 50% of Americans report that they go to church, 90% say that they believe in prayer.

I think prayer boxing and the idea of taking the time to record our prayers, hopes, and gratitudes in writing (as Iola did in the book) is one of the most viable media hooks of the book (See attached doc of Ideas for Prayer Boxes for more information). Wouldn’t it be wonderful, when a child graduates, to be able to give that child the box of hopes and prayers written during the first year of life? Or for a couple on their 25th anniversary to re-open the box from their first year of marriage? Our stories have amazing power and value, yet we’re in danger of losing that tradition of sharing our stories, particularly with the next generation.


"Characters are compelling and interesting and the story flows with a sense of interest for this reader."
- Casey on August 17, 2013

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