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Customer Reviews for Thomas Nelson Prayers of a Stranger: A Christmas Journey

Thomas Nelson Prayers of a Stranger: A Christmas Journey

Christmas is coming---but Amanda's dream of a large, happy family seems hopelessly out of reach. The nursery she so lovingly decorated stands as empty as her heart. When she receives a last-minute invitation to visit the Holy Land, her husband urges her to go. Will a spiritual encounter with the Christ child transform her circumstances at home? 304 pages, softcover from Nelson.
Average Customer Rating:
4.923 out of 5
4.9
 out of 
5
(13 Reviews) 13
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13 out of 13100%customers would recommend this product to a friend.
Customer Reviews for Prayers of a Stranger: A Christmas Journey
Review 1 for Prayers of a Stranger: A Christmas Journey
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Loved the book

Date:December 22, 2012
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P.J. Walker
Location:Arizona
Age:Over 65
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
This is a great book; short, but deep. I always enjoy reading books by Davis Bunn. He is one of my favorite authors.
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Review 2 for Prayers of a Stranger: A Christmas Journey
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

A great Christmas or any time read

Date:December 11, 2012
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Carole Jarvis
Location:Jonesboro, Georgia
Age:55-65
Gender:female
Prayers of a Stranger: A Christmas Journey by Davis Bunn is a story about forgiveness, healing and the giving of self. While set in Melbourne, Florida and Israel during the Christmas season, it would be good reading for any time of year. The journey of healing after the loss of a baby, opening arms of welcome to a prodigal daughter, and the hope that comes to a struggling business all combine to make this much more than a Christmas story.
At the urging of her husband, Amanda accepts the invitation of their neighbor, Emily, to travel to Israel - and it is on this trip that an unexpected encounter with Miriam at the Wailing Wall helps Amanda to look beyond her year of grief over the loss of her stillborn baby. Back in Melbourne, Florida, Emily's husband, Frank, struggles to accept that their prodigal daughter has truly changed after so many broken promises. And Amanda's husband, Chris, puts his ethical business beliefs on the line in an effort to keep his small electronics business from going bankrupt during an unstable economy.
This is a well-written story with fleshed-out characters, and I enjoyed every minute immersed in its pages. Bunn has the ability to pull you into the story, as if you were seeing Jerusalem's golden walls reflected in the noonday sun, experiencing the sights and smells of Bet Jola's open market, or feeling the raw emotions of a mother's grief. Amanda "had never seen anything like Israel, the startling combination of past and present, divine and intensely earthbound, the eternal and the present problems . . ."
Halfway through their trip, Emily says to Amanda, "I didn't come here to see Israel. I came to grow closer to our Lord. . . . I feel like we're running too fast to see anything at all." Much to their host's displeasure, they decide to leave the tour in order to explore on their own, and it is at this point that their path to healing begins.
One of the book's main strengths is the way prayer is woven throughout the story, uniting both those in Melbourne and in Israel - from prayer groups where Chris and Amanda work, to handwritten prayers pushed into cracks in the Wailing Wall. Miriam prays for Rochele, a child in her care, and then says to Amanda, "You will heal her."
It's often said that God never wastes a hurt, and through an entertaining fictional account, Bunn shows how one person who is open to God can help lift another's sorrow. I highly recommend Prayers of a Stranger to those who enjoy inspirational fiction, but it would be especially meaningful to someone dealing with grief. While marketed as a Christmas story, this book can be enjoyed throughout the year.
For more information on Davis Bunn and his books, go to http://www.davisbunn.com/
This book was provided by Thomas Nelson Publishers through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.
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Review 3 for Prayers of a Stranger: A Christmas Journey
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

A truly inspirational story for Christmas!!!

Date:December 8, 2012
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Heart2Heart
Location:Victorville, CA
Age:45-54
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
I'm starting to sense God's presence in all things, especially in the latest books I've been writing and Prayers of A Stranger by one of my favorite authors, Davis Bunn is certainly no exception. In fact I've highlighted more passages that spoke to me personally than I think I ever had in a book before and to me, that means something.
"It's a shame that life does not give us a time free of other worries when we can heal."
In the novel, Prayers of A Stranger, Davis Bunn accomplishes something more than taking the reader along for a great story. He lets the presence of God speak to your own heart, if you are willing to listen and open yourself up to Him. In fact he does this so well, you feel as if the journey is designed especially with you in mind and I personally feel that is God's anointing on this wonderful novel without being heavy handed on religion that would put most people off when reading a Christian book.
Prayers of A Stranger is a story about healing and seeing the good that often accompanies difficult times we can not understand and may not this side of heaven in our walk on Earth. Amanda Vance works at the local hospital as the administrative assistant under a harsh director, Moira Campbell, who makes work a living hell for those working with her. In fact her day starts out like the ordinary but soon turns into something quite unexpected. All the hospital staff seem to be in good spirits and being close to Christmas is not the reason. It seems that Moira is about to be reassigned, and thus the need for the rejoicing of all the hospital staff. It even puts Amanda in better spirits.
She learns the new director will be starting in the coming days and she is advised to take a few weeks off to think about what direction she wants to take her career in. Seems some of the staff think she will return to her former job as a critical care nurse since she was seen waiting just outside the nursery of the critical care infants. But she can't go back to that. Not yet. It's still too soon and the pain is as fresh as the day it happened. The day she lost their only child, before it had a chance at life. This is the reason she stayed as far away as possible and taken the position of working as an administrative assistant. How will she ever move forward.
When Amanda is given a gift of a trip to Israel with her neighbor Emily, who can't take her husband Frank since he is waiting a double hip replacement and can't endure the trip. Rather than having the trip wasted, Emily invites Amanda to see the Holy Land with her. Amanda isn't sure she should go since her husband Chris is still trying to find a way to save his company Avery Electronics from going bankrupt in this tough economy. Yet even Chris knows that Amanda hasn't been the same wife he married since the loss of their child and thinks this might be the answer to restoring her faith and helping to heal her from this loss. Yet neither of them could prepare for what happens when Amanda places a simple prayer into the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. It's truly an inspirational story for cold hearts to make them whole again.
I received Prayers of A Stranger compliments of Thomas Nelson Publishers and Net Galley for my honest review. I have read several of Davis Bunn's books and remain amazed at how many different directions his writing has taken him. This is such a great book to share with those that may be questioning their own walk of faith through tough times. I know for me, it has truly been a huge walk up call and has melted my own hardness of heart and restored my prayer life. Thank you to Davis Bunn for sharing God's message to my own soul. For this reason, I personally rate this one a 5 out of 5 stars in my opinion, and I am sure that there is something for everyone is this one. It comes at the perfect time for those looking for a bit more than just a really good Christmas story. Perhaps one with just the perfect message in store to speak to your own heart. Are you will to listen and open your heart?
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Review 4 for Prayers of a Stranger: A Christmas Journey
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Enjoyed this book!

Date:January 4, 2013
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Daphne Hvizdak
Location:Amsterdam, New York
Age:55-65
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
As usual Davis Bunn came through with a great read for the Christmas season. I found the characters believable and the story line stirring. I liked the way the issues resolved and God used one situation to help in another. He often does that in real life. I identified with the main character as I also lost a child to stillbirth and am a nurse who worked in a maternity unit. I found my grief much quicker to resolve than hers did but understood a lot of the feelings she had.
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Review 5 for Prayers of a Stranger: A Christmas Journey
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

A BEAUTIFUL STORY OF HEALING!

Date:November 2, 2012
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Carolyn Johnson
Location:Golden Valley, MN
Age:Over 65
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Davis Bunn has written another novel with memorable characters, strong emotion, extraordinary personal challenges, and, above all, eventual healing by the Spirit of God. The book is equally beneficial for men and women, and appropriate for any time of year. After reading it, the reader will feel that he/she has actually been in Jerusalem and its surroundings. (I must mention that I'm glad that while in that great city decades ago, I never met any of the young students in the book who were preying on tourists while training to be rabbis!) Above all, this book underlined for me the absolute power of prayer in healing all manner of grieving in the lives of believers--by all who call themselves a friend.
The way the Holy Spirit brings all the pieces together for all concerned is beautiful indeed!
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Review 6 for Prayers of a Stranger: A Christmas Journey
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

heartwarming holiday novel

Date:October 25, 2012
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bookwomanjoan
Location:Oak Harbor, WA
Age:55-65
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
What a pleasant novel to read during the Christmas season.
A couple is healing from pain of a stillbirth the Christmas before. Amanda had been a nurse in the hospital natal unit. She could not face returning to that job and had been appointed personal assistant to the hospital's director. She excelled, even as she pushed down her pain.
Her husband Christ was with an electronics company, a company that looked like it was facing bankruptcy soon.
Their neighbors, an older couple, had received word their estranged daughter wanted to reconnect – again. Would it be like the last time she showed up, stealing her mother's jewelry and going back to drugs?
The lives of these two couples intertwine as the women travel to Israel and the men face their concerns at home. God graciously acts through the prayers of others as healing takes place in each of their lives.
A pleasant and satisfying novel.
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Review 7 for Prayers of a Stranger: A Christmas Journey
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

A Story Of Healing, Family And Love

Date:October 2, 2012
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VicsMediaRoom
Location:Irvine, CA
Age:55-65
Gender:male
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Davis Bunn in his new book, “Prayers of a Stranger” published by Thomas Nelson takes us into the life of Amanda Vance.
From the back cover: While visiting the Holy Land, Amanda answers the prayers of a stranger . . . and begins an amazing Christmas journey.
Amanda Vance is ambivalent about her husband’s idea for a big family holiday up north. Last year she planned a special Christmas in their own home, carefully preparing a nursery and the keepsake ornaments for their newborn. Now that room stands as empty as her heart.
Then a neighbor’s mishap turns into a last-minute chance for Amanda to take a much-needed vacation to tour the Holy Land.
An extraordinary turn of events allows Amanda to help answer a young mother’s plea for healing. Then, filled with a sense of awe, Amanda visits the place of Jesus’ birth. There she discovers anew the miracle of the Christ child—God incarnate as a tiny, vulnerable baby.
Her return to Florida marks a momentous shift in her soul and in her marriage as she begins to realize that her journey didn’t end in the Holy Land. And that God doesn’t just answer prayers of strangers . . . but also those of her own heart.
No doubt about it Davis Bunn knows how to write a great story. In “Prayers of a Stranger” I think Mr. Bunn has created his most memorable characters yet. This is more than a Christmas story though it is a story set around Christmas. Amanda Vance has suffered a terrible physical and emotional trauma and has yet to heal from it so when the opportunity to go to Israel arises her husband realizes this is what she needs. This is a story about healing, about family and that God is with us through every circumstance that comes our way. The lead characters are terrific and we root for them as we live through their various encounters. Davis Bunn does a truly remarkable job in this book while exciting us with this story that everyone will enjoy. I liked “Prayers of a Stranger”.
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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Review 8 for Prayers of a Stranger: A Christmas Journey
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

This was a great inspirational book.

Date:September 24, 2012
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DavidsMom
Location:Louisiana
Age:25-34
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
This was a great inspirational book. The main characters have suffered a great loss in life and the future doesn’t look much promising, still they hold to their faith. It was an uplifting story about how God places people in our life to support us during our time of need and how God places us in situations where we can use our past to help others. We might not know how many people are out there praying for us and lifting us up, but we should place our trust in God’s hands and watch his story unfold. There were many side stories in the main story of this book, but one special one to me was being able to forgive and accept back a special person in ones life even after damage has been done. I love reading books where you see God’s will working in the lives of not just one, but how one or two people can make such a difference in this world that we may thing is so big.
This book was given to me by Thomas Nelson though the Booksneeze program for my honest review. I would strongly recommend everyone reading this book, but be sure to keep a tissue close by because it hits the heartstrings a few times, in a good way.
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Review 9 for Prayers of a Stranger: A Christmas Journey
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

One of my new favorite books

Date:September 2, 2012
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An Avid Reader
Age:18-24
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Prayers of a Stranger, a Christmas Journey is a book to treasure. Its rich emotions and detailed descriptions draw you in and refuse to let go. I am always pleased and surprised when I come across a book that I want to reread as soon as I finish it, and this is one of those books.
A year ago, Amanda Vance suffered a personal tragedy. It caused her to withdraw from everyone she possibly could, to leave the job doing what she loved, and to become a shadow of the joyful woman she once was. And it caused a distance to develop between her and her husband.
Chris Vance keeps up a strong front around his wife, not telling her all the troubles and problems happening at his job. But the worries are constantly on his mind, as are his worries about Amanda and her inability to move beyond her grief.
Just weeks before Christmas, the opportunity suddenly arises for Amanda to travel with a neighbor to Israel for a week. Although somewhat reluctant, she accepts the invitation. Little does she realize the healing that trip will bring about. Unforeseen events and the prayers of a stranger give her the opportunity to return to the peace and joy she once knew.
This story has a way of getting into your heart. Amanda and Chris will begin to seem like people you know well-- or maybe you will even see a bit of yourself in them and the struggles they face. This is a story of the hope and joy only found in the loving arms of our Savior.
The rich descriptions only add to the pleasure of the read. All your senses will be filled with the sights, smells, and sounds of Jerusalem. You begin to get the feeling that you are there with Amanda.
Prayers of a Stranger is a book I would eagerly recommend to anyone, and not only to read at Christmas time. It is a book for all seasons, reminding us that the joy and hope of Christmas is not only for one day a year. It is for all time.
Thank you to Thomas Nelson publishers for providing a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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Review 10 for Prayers of a Stranger: A Christmas Journey
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Good Christmas read

Date:August 28, 2012
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Cheryl
Location:Prospect,KY
Age:45-54
Gender:female
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
It has been a year since Amanda and Chris Vance lost their child and the same amount of time since Amanda has been able to perform her job as an Ob-gyn nurse. When her neighbor, Emily, unexpectedly suggests Amanda join her on a trip to Israel, Amanda agrees in spite of her reservations.
Left at home, Chris Vance is dealing with life. He misses the girl he married since Amanda has changed so much in the last year as she tries to deal with her grief. His job is on the line since the company he works for is hanging by a thread. And, he is helping his neighbor, Emily's husband. While Amanda is in Israel, Chris' life takes on some pretty big changes.
Little did Amanda dream that the true beginning of her healing would take place in the land of her Savior's birth. Through reaching out to help another in need, Amanda begins the journey of mending both her heart and her marriage. Could the "prayer of a stranger" she met at the Wailing Wall be the answer to her prayer?
Prayers of a Stranger by Davis Bunn is a sweet, simple story that captures the spirit of Christmas and redemption. It did take me a bit of reading to totally get into the story but, by the middle, I didn't want to stop reading and wanted to find out how all the relationships would resolve themselves or if they would. I would recommend Prayers of a Stranger for your Christmas season read. Make sure you check out more of Davis Bunn's books.
This book was provided free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way obligataed to leave a positive review.
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Review 11 for Prayers of a Stranger: A Christmas Journey
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

An Amazing Christmas Story

Date:August 28, 2012
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Anonymous
Location:Columbus, GA
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
"Prayers of a Stranger: a Christmas Journey" by Davis Bunn is such a beautiful story! I was so touched by it that I read it through mostly in one afternoon. It’s a story of deep loss, grief, and a struggle toward healing. It’s the story of a couple in pain, who still manage to minister to those all around them, reaching out to neighbors and co-workers, setting boundaries where needed, always sticking up for what is right. When those neighbors and co-workers reach out in love right back, God uses their overtures to bring healing all around.
As I read this comparatively short story (only 210 pages, but they were enough), I especially loved the parts set in Israel. The author made me want to travel there myself! I was proud of Amanda and Emily for leaving the tour bus. I also loved how the characters throughout the book interacted with each other: with forbearance, forgiveness, understanding, wisdom, compassion, honesty, boldness, and encouragement. Lucy’s story in particular filled my heart with hope.
This Christmas, you simply have to read "Prayers of a Stranger"!
I thank Thomas Nelson Publishers for sending a complimentary copy for this honest review. I was blessed to read this book.
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Review 12 for Prayers of a Stranger: A Christmas Journey
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Great book

Date:August 24, 2012
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deanna13
Location:Jonesboro, LA
Age:Over 65
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Prayers of a Stranger A Christmas Story by Davis Bunn is one of the best books that I have read in a while and I have read quite a few. Of course any book by Davis Bunn is a winner.
Amanda has just gone through the hardest year in her life and as the Christmas holidays approach, things get even worse. One year earlier her baby had been stillborn and her deep sorrow caused a problem in her marriage. Emily, a neighbor and friend, has plans to visit Israel with her husband but health matters prevent him going so Emily invites Amanda to go with her. Little does Amanda know that the trip will prove to be a turning point in her life. While in Israel, Amanda helps to answer a young mother’s prayer for healing for her daughter. After a visit to the birthplace of Jesus, Amanda rediscovers the miracle of the birth of the Christ Child. She makes one more visit to the Wailing Wall and leaves a prayer for her marriage in the wall. She returns home to Florida a healed person and with her marriage in great shape. Amanda also realized that God not only answered the prayers of a stranger but He also answered the prayers for healing of her own heart.
To put it in a very few words, I can say that I liked everything about the novel and there was nothing that I did not like. The plot, the character development, the dialogue, and the description of the country of Israel were all excellently done. I felt as if I were walking the narrow streets of the cities of Israel and visiting the Wailing Wall with Amanda and Emily. I found the book to be very inspiring and it held my interest to the very last word.
I would like to see Mr. Bunn do a sequel for there were many characters and situations that would be interesting to follow in another novel. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes to read a great story.
I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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Review 13 for Prayers of a Stranger: A Christmas Journey
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Magical

Date:August 21, 2012
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cici
Age:25-34
Gender:female
Prayers of a Stranger: A Christmas Story by Davis Bunn is a wonderful story about unplanned but much needed experiences. Amanda is planning for a down home holiday not a trek to the holy land with a soul changing shift. Yet that is exactly what happens to her. This story is beautifully written that I feel her pain and her happiness right along with her. I feel as if I am on this journey too. This novel reminds me so much of what life is really about, even in the worst of times there is always good about.
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