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Saturday, March 17, 2012

"The God Box" (Mary Lou Quinlan)

TITLE: The God Box: Sharing My Mother's Gift of Faith, Love and Letting Go
AUTHOR: Mary Lou Quinlan
PUBLISHER: Austin, TX: Greenleaf Book Group Press, 2012.

This is a very nice little book that is part biography, part exhortation to establish a unique prayer routine. Beginning with stories of her late mother's passion to pray with little notes, the author shares her personal reflections about how the 'God-Box' represents her mother's love to people. Her mother, Mary Finlayson, diligently keeps all her prayer requests written and shared with God on behalf of her and her family. From personal health matters to praying for a cancer patient, Finlayson makes her prayers not only intimate, but exceptionally generous. Together with precious family photos, and pictures of the many messages written on papers of various shapes and sizes, the author is able to trace the ups and downs of her mother's time on earth. At the same time, it demonstrates the simple and personal faith of her mother.

Her mother is a 'hands on' person, regularly teaching it through actions.  The author praises her mum as one who 'could solve anything.' Anything that she cannot do on her own, or feels that she cannot do any better than God, goes right into the God Box. With God like a pen-pal, the little notes reveal the mother's deepest desires. It reflects her deep faith as she takes them to the Lord in prayer. It reflects her love, especially for her husband, reflected through her fierce care of him even during the untimely stroke that devastated his speech. Her compassion shines through as the box contains prayers for people far and wide, from praying for people to even 'pet friendly' little intercessions.

For me, this book paints a picture what simple faith and living prayer look like. It is a simple heart of belief put into practice with a simple idea of prayer notes in a box. Simple enough for anybody to do. Authentic enough for anyone to pour out their deepest desires to God in private. It reminds me of the verse in Psalms:

"Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart." (Ps 37:4)

Mary Finlayson turns the old hymn, "What a Friend We Have in Jesus" into reality through her God Box. We do not need lots of knowledge about God or the world in order to talk to God. Neither do we need to be trained many years theologically in order to practice our faith. What we need is more heart, and Mary Finlayson shows us one way to do just that.

Be moved. Be warmed. Be encouraged to pray. The God Box is a very simple but highly creative way to take it to the Lord in prayer for everything that matters. For there is nothing too small that God cannot hear. There is nothing too big that God cannot solve. Little faith presented with a big heart to God will grow firm.

Rating: 4 stars of 5.


This book is provided to me free by Greenleaf Publishers and NetGalley without any obligation for a positive review. 


  1. Conrade, Thank you so much for your kind words about my book and especially about my Mom. She was so special to me and I hope my story of her God Box inspires others to give her simple practice of hope, prayer and faith...a try. My best to you! Mary Lou Quinlan

  2. Dear Mary Lou,

    Thank you for writing the book. It is a simple idea but profound in meaning.