Seminary professors probably don't study Stormie Omartian, but perhaps they should. Judging by book sales, Omartian influences more prayers than anybody else in America (save perhaps Prayer of Jabez author Bruce Wilkinson). Most of her readers are women. Most of her books follow a formula.

Start with the titles: The Power of a Praying (choose one) Wife, Husband, Parent, Woman, or Nation.

The contents are similarly patterned. The Power of a Praying Wife, for example, considers every aspect of her husband's life: his wife, his work, his finances, his sexuality, his temptations. In each short chapter, Omartian explains why that area of a man's life matters, and how it can be transformed by God's help. She uses lots of experience from her own marriage. Then she offers a sample prayer, often two or three pages long. Finally there are "Power Tools"—Scripture verses to use in praying.

Omartian doesn't teach how to pray so much as what to pray. She gives you the subject matter, plus the words and Scripture passages. This is not advanced prayer, mystical prayer, or miracle-a-day prayer. Her writing is not fancy. The closest counterpart is the book in your hardware store that tells how to install a sink. Omartian's books are tools for people who want home improvement. For illustrations, she uses snapshots from her own remodeling.

Omartian began in Hollywood. While still in college, she started work as a singer, dancer, and actor in the heyday of musical variety TV shows. She played a ditzy blonde on Glen Campbell's show, along with many other roles. Now in her 60s, she appears in publicity photos as a flawlessly made-up blonde with blue eyes. "My wife," husband Michael writes, "is a 'babe.' "

Michael himself is a Grammy-winning music producer ...

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July 2004

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