Minister and author Max Lucado of Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas, has released his latest fiction book, Miracle at the Higher Grounds Café, which deals with various Christian topics, including prayer.
The book's main character, Chelsea Chambers, splits from her star NFL husband and begins working at the Higher Grounds Café. A stranger that could be an angel walks through the door of the café one day followed by a unique string of events that leads many people to the coffee shop in search of answers to life's biggest questions.
Many of these people rely on this place for answers to what could be considered their prayers. Lucado explains that Christians who look at prayer this way don't see themselves as adequate enough to have their prayers answered.
"That's one of the most common struggles that people have," Lucado told The Christian Post. "They assume that their prayers are not heard because they didn't pray correctly."
Lucado further emphasized that some teachers within the Christian faith intimidate believers at times by making them feel they need to have a certain passion or be in a certain place for their prayer to be heard.
"It's easy [for people] to draw the conclusion that prayer is a privilege for the uniquely skilled or the very pious people when really, in the Bible, the power of prayer is not in the one who says it, but in the one who hears it," Lucado continued. "Prayer is strong because God is strong. Prayer works because God works."
Lucado uses the character Chelsea as the catalyst for this principle as she finds that the more honest she is in her prayers the more results she sees from them.
He believes prayer should be an honest conversation with God and not a repetitive ritual. He also doesn't find his personal prayer life to be a very complicated one.
"I don't pray for long periods of time. I do know people who do pray for 50, 60 or 70 minutes. My prayers are relatively brief. The times I really feel blessed through prayer is when my prayers are sincere — when I kind of think through what I'm going through, or I'm going through a hard time and I use that prayer to talk to God about everything."
Though he respects those who pray for long periods of time, Lucado doesn't beat himself up for keeping his relatively short, and believes much of how prayer is conducted between a person and God is based on their personality.
Lucado believes that fictional entertainment provides a great vehicle for teachers to convey principles, such as the ones found in Miracle at the Higher Grounds Café.
"Fiction allows an author to still teach but to embed the teaching in a story. And there are many people who would prefer fiction over a non-fiction book, just because it's more engaging and entertaining. And I'm kind of the same way. I love a great story," he told CP.
Lucado has written various non-fiction books and just a few short fiction projects which includes one Christmas themed work. Higher Grounds is his longest fictional work to date and could be considered a novel.
"It's hopefully an encouraging story that gives people a couple of hours of really good entertainment, but also gives them some inspiration as well," he said.
The story inspires as God is out to get the main character Chelsea's attention despite everything falling apart around her.
Miracles At The Higher Ground Café is available wherever books are sold.