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The Wall Around Your Heart [Book Review] by Mary DeMuth (Thomas Nelson2013)


When Jesus traveled the hills of Galilee in the early days of His ministry, He had one primary message: “Repent, for the King of Heaven is at hand.” The Sermon on the Mount provided His unequivocal standard for entering the kingdom He offered: “Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matt. 5:48). He then showed Himself as the only means of entry (7:13-14).

Tucked away in that sermon is a model prayer of humility and dependence that comes in the context of trusting God to meet true needs. The prayer stands as a complete opposite of the showy prayers of the scribes and Pharisees.

Mary DeMuth takes the prayer a step further by writing on the topic of each phrase of Jesus’ prayer and applying the principles of these topics to relationships—particularly to ones that have hurt us.

The Wall Around Your Heart speaks to the separation we’ve all encountered and the walls we have erected around our hearts to protect us from the pain of people. Although the Lord’s Prayer didn’t have relational pain as its primary purpose, the prayer covers areas of need in our lives that certainly apply to relationships. In fact, the part of the prayer that asks our Father for forgiveness is one that Jesus elaborates on immediately after the prayer (5:14-15). The Lord’s Prayer usually causes us to zero in on the forgiveness element of dealing with others, but there is more to the Lord’s Prayer than forgiveness—though that’s a great takeaway.

Each phrase is coupled with a relational principle to apply. Can you guess which part of the Lord’s Prayer goes with what principle?

  1. Pray first
  2. Live in Your Father’s Affection
  3. Allow God to be God
  4. Walk in the Great Right Now
  5. Respond Like Jesus
  6. Let Heaven Frame Your Relationships
  7. Ask Jesus for Help
  8. Be Repentant
  9. Defy Bitterness
  10. Dare to Engage Anyway
  11. Be Fully Alive

DeMuth points us to understand and embrace God’s love for us so that we can reach out and love others. We can’t love from an empty place. We give others what God has given us.

My favorite quote from the book:

Everything that hurts us on earth has the potential, when we let God put His hands in the conflict, to bless the world. In short, we hurt, and God heals, which makes us an agent of healing. (p. 116)

Mary is a gifted writer. Her new book describes how God heals the pain in our relationships through the very community that caused it.