By Theresa Clark
When Dr. Tammy Schultz asked Roger Peugh-both faculty members at Grace College and Seminary–to speak to her graduate students about the importance of prayer in counseling, Peugh was shocked by what he did not find as he prepared to speak.
“I didn’t find a book on the subject of prayer and counseling,” Peugh says.
From that disappointing revelation grew a vision for a book that would help fill the gap in the counseling community regarding prayer.
“One of us said, ‘Let’s write it,’ and one of us said, ‘Let’s do it,'” explained Peugh.
That was three years ago.
Today, Peugh and Schultz’s vision has become reality. Their recently-released book, Transformed in His Presence: The Need for Prayer in Counseling, emphasizes the necessity of prayer among those who counsel and help others.
In a world where prayer is overlooked, Peugh and Schultz believe there is nothing more vital that a counselor can do than to seek God in prayer, both for and with clients.
“Counselors are not praying with them or for them,” says Schultz. “How is it that in the most difficult situations of life, counselors are not praying, and those in their deepest crisis points are not praying?”
Through Transformed, Peugh and Schultz hope many counselors will be reawakened to the importance of prayer in their field of ministry. Using a unique approach, the authors illustrate their main points by combining scriptural guidance and encouragement with their personal stories.
The book also has a reflective, mentoring tone. Both Peugh and Schultz attribute much of who they have become in life to their own mentors. They hope through their book to mentor readers, directing them toward prayer and the Lord.
Peugh and Schultz have one concern about Transformed. They do not want it to be viewed as just another book that makes prayer out to be another draining responsibility, another “should.”
Peugh says, “We didn’t want people to see it as another ought, another burden. Our repeated desire is not to present a formula, not to give trite cliches. [We just want] to try to point them to God.”
Peugh and Schultz are aware that many counselors working in secular environments have to walk a thin line when it comes to prayer and God. But that does not mean counselors cannot approach God’s throne for their clients. As Schultz points out, “It may be quietly praying.”
Yet no matter what environment counselors are working in, Peugh and Schultz advocate the creation of a support system, a prayer team. By having a group of people regularly encouraging and praying for them, counselors will feel uplifted and supported as they help others deal with challenging situations in life.
Though the main focus of their book is directed at counselors, the co-authors desire that people outside the clinical counseling community-pastors, social workers, parents, friends of hurting people-will also find support and scriptural guidance through the book.
In fact, Peugh explains, this book is for “anyone who is trying to influence someone to make good life changes.”
What’s the bottom line?
“Pray,” said both Peugh and Schultz.
For them, the success of the book is not based on the amount of publicity or the number of sales. Instead, the value lies in the book’s ability to bring the focus of others back to the throne of God.
Peugh sums it up, “One of our favorite people on the planet that is now living with the Lord is Corrie ten Boom. She said, ‘I just want to be the donkey who brings Jesus to the people.’ We want the book to be that kind of instrument to bring Jesus and the people together-not that they see us, but that it draws them to Jesus.”
Roger Peugh, M. Div., is the Associate Professor of World Missions at Grace Theological Seminary. He served as chaplain at Grace College and Seminary and was a church planting missionary to Germany for more than twenty years.
Tammy Schultz, Ph.D., is the Department Chair of the Graduate School in Counseling and Interpersonal Relations at Grace College. She has taught and had counseling ministries in the United States and Canada.
Transformed in His Presence: The Need for Prayer in Counseling is published by BMH Books of Winona Lake, Indiana. It has received numerous endorsements, including one by Gary D. Chapman, Ph.D., author of The Five Love Languages. The book’s ISBN number is 0884693007 and the 136-page paperback retails for $10.99. To order or to obtain more information, visit www.bmhbooks.com or call (toll free) 1-800-348-2756.
Theresa Clark, a Grace College journalism major from Delaware, Ohio, is an editorial intern with FGBC World the fall semester, 2005.