The 700 Club with Pat Robertson

Bonnie St. John

Author, latest book How Strong Women Pray (Faith Words 2007);  

First African-American
to win Olympic medals in ski racing, winning a silver and two bronze medals in the 1984 Paralympics in Innsbruck, Austria;

TV appearances on The Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, Montel, and The Discovery Health Channel;

Featured in publications such as The New York Times and People Magazine;

Was appointed to the White House National Economic Council; 

She graduated with honors from Harvard University and won a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford. 


Bonnie St. John: How Strong Women Pray

CBN.comBonnie went to Sunday school as a child and as a teen, she turned away from God. She had faith in herself and relied on her own strength, but God stuck with her throughout.  She made things harder for herself by not relying on God. She was sexually abused as a child and that shut her off from an intimate relationship with the Lord until she became an adult. Only then did she find true healing from the abuse, only when she took it to God in prayer.
Bonnie's leg was amputated when she was six-years-old – the result of a physical abnormality she was born with. But once home from the hospital, her mom gave Bonnie a brochure featuring the picture of an amputee on a ski, saying she could dream big. 

Bonnie's done that, becoming an Olympic skier and the Paralympics Silver Medalist in downhill skiing. She's a Rhodes scholar and a former Clinton White House official.  Throughout her Olympic career, Bonnie relied on meditation instead of prayer. Years later when she gave her first motivational speech, she received her first breakthrough in prayer. Bonnie was traveling to give a motivational speech and was terrified. She started crying and could not move. She asked God for help, and she felt the difference right away. She felt a sense of relief and that she could go on and deliver her speech.
Her first event as a motivational speaker was her next milestone in prayer and with her relationship to God. She had to deliver a speech to 10,000 people and remembered when she would meditate to prepare for skiing. She started praying and imagined Jesus line dancing. This helped her with her speech because she felt like He was trying to show her the joy in things. After this experience, Bonnie started attending church and praying regularly. Her relationship with God was no longer a hobby. The ups and downs of life, including a broken marriage, changed her relationship with Christ and drew her closer to Him.

As Bonnie was growing in her own prayer life and relationship with God, she sought to know how other women prayed when going through tough times. There are 27 women’s stories compiled in the book - Christine Todd Whitman, Amy Grant, Janet Parshall, Barbara Bush, Kathie Lee Gifford, Nadia Comaneci, Susan Taylor, Olympian Vonetta Flowers, Maya Angelou, Radio personality Delilah,  Edie Falco, Marilyn McCoo, Heather Whitestone, etc.
Amy Grant shares how she prays with husband Vince Gill about their family well-being, and during trying times. Barbara Bush says she’s not good at talking about religion or prayer – she’s Episcopalian – but she does believe in the power of prayer. She takes time often to thank God for her family. Actress Edie Falco came to know the power of prayer when she struggled to overcome alcohol abuse. Though she attended AA, she says she knows it is God and not a “higher power.” She prays to God about everything in her life.  Nadia Comaneci says she has prayed all her life – when she was competing, traveling, and press conferences. Much of her life she succeeded in what she tried to accomplish, so she believes prayer made her stronger. Poet Maya Angelou prays all the time, even when she's walking a few paces away. She prays about everything and will thank God for God.  Rwandan genocide survivor Immaculee Ilibagiza and Hurricane Katrina survivor Colette Branch are other examples of women that pray that Bonnie finds memorable.
The experience of writing this book has been humbling and bigger than Bonnie. She wanted to know how other women pray and what kind of difference it makes. Bonnie gets physical and emotional strength from prayer. Her former prayer routine included prayer in the morning and feeling strength after that. While she was putting this book together she learned several things - that she burned out on her routine and her prayer time was limited, and that there is no right or wrong way to pray. She also learned that prayer is not a formal religious ritual. Ritual is neither the ultimate goal nor the most important aspect of prayer. The important thing is the connection with God. Now Bonnie prays throughout the day, and she's let her prayer life grow and evolve. It's good to connect with other people that pray and get in a prayer group or have a prayer partner. In times past, it seemed that people talked about the act of prayer but did not discuss their experiences in prayer. If you change the way you pray, you are going to hear God in different ways. There is no wrong way to pray, and Bonnie believes any prayer will bring you closer to God. Bonnie believes that every prayer is an answered prayer.
God is always reaching out to us. We usually reach out to Him in our hardest moments.  For Bonnie, before she learned about the true purpose of prayer, God was a hobby.  Here are a few key things that Bonnie learned through the process of completing this book:

* Relationship with God is Active – Prayer is our Connection to God
   - A big difference Bonnie has seen in her own life is that as she increased prayer in her life, her relationship with God went from a hobby to a lifestyle.
* Work on Your Relationship with God
    - Find a regular prayer time. Don't just pray when you're in trouble.

* Try Asking Your Friends About How They Pray
    - It is good to be part of a prayer group or to get a prayer partner.
* Find Those Things that Really Nurture, Feed, and Support You
     - Don't be satisfied with less.

* You Waste Time by Asking for Things 
   - Ask first for God to change you, and you can change the world.

* You Need a Continuous Connection to God
   - This is a very personal thing. Everyone needs to pray on a regular basis – there isn't one particular way to communicate with the Lord. 

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