yadayada“A soft mist clouded the windshield of the Toyota wagon, playing catch-me-if-you-can with the intermittent wipers.  Apartment buildings and three-storied six-flats crowded the wet narrow street like great brick cliffs.  The woman behind the wheel of the Toyota drove cautiously through the Rogers Park neighborhood of north Chicago, looking for Morse Avenue.”

Told through the eyes of a white woman who has become very comfortable with her life in Chicago, this story at first may look like one of the hundreds (thousands?) of cookie cutter “Christian” novels floating around out there.  But Jody, the narrator, doesn’t know what she’s in for when she accompanies her boss, Avis, to a Women of Faith conference.  Placed with 11 other women from every imaginable background and several different ethnicities, Jody is challenged to step out of her box and realize that though she’s been an involved Christian for most of her life, there’s still plenty of room for her faith to be stretched in painful and amazing ways.  And as she begins to form connections with the women God has placed in her prayer group – the Yada Yada’s – the challenge to her faith becomes much more personal through the form of a brutal car accident.

This book is somewhat of a perplexing read for me.  At first, I wholly disliked it, mainly because I disliked Jody and also – I don’t live in an enormous urban sprawl with issues of race everyday.  I was so put off by Jody’s voice as a character that I nearly put the book down.  However, I’m glad that I continued reading because while the book as a story didn’t interest me, the book as a concept did.  This book challenged me more on the issue of prayer in your daily life than any other thing has in the past five years.  How you pray, styles of prayer, what I’m comfortable with while praying, and what should be the focus of my prayers – all issues that were challenged.  I highly recommend this book to anyone who calls themselves a Christian – and while you may not be getting a story on par with C.S. Lewis writing, you’ll definitely be challenged in some manner.

“The Yada Yada Prayer Group” was written by Neta Jackson and published in 2003.