911 PSALM by Ahmes  Askia


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A debut prayer journal directs readers to Psalm 119 when they are in a state of spiritual emergency.

For three years, Askia read Psalm 119—known for being the longest single verse in the Bible—every day in its entirety. In addition to its spiritual content, the author was drawn to the individual sections, each of which is headed by a letter of the Hebrew alphabet. She even began to think of them as separate people. The author’s slim work, which includes Askia’s interpretation of Psalm 119, is broken along those same sections, giving readers space to think and journal after each one. By inverting the number of the psalm—119 to 911—the author frames the verse as an emergency spiritual hotline, offering direct assistance from God himself. “It is a call in devotion to the Holy Spirit for help,” writes Askia in her introduction. “It is a call to journal our day with the Holy Spirit’s help. It is a call to plan our day with guidance from the Holy Spirit. Like any 911 call, the purpose gets the help you need.” Divided into 22 sections to be read, presumably, over the course of 22 days, the psalm appears as a slightly expanded and Christianized version, courtesy of Askia. “Victorious and pure in heart,” it begins, “are all / who walk in the way of Christ Jesus our Lord, / Who walk in faith in the Lord! / Victorious in every way are those / who search for His victories; / who search for Him with all of their / being and with everything that is / within them!” Each section is followed by two blank pages for diary entries, prayers, or notes, bearing the heading “911 What Is Your Emergency? Holy Spirit, today, right now I need…” and ending, “I Trust You Lord!” While the 119/911 conceit may be a bit cute for some, the author has found an innovative and interactive way for believers to familiarize themselves with Psalm 119, though it would have made more sense to include a standard translation rather than this variation.

An inventive, idiosyncratic work inspired by Psalm 119.

Pub Date: April 5th, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-982225-33-9
Page count: 108pp
Publisher: BalboaPress
Program: Kirkus Indie
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