Review: When I Pray For You by Matthew Paul Turner

I’ve been a fan of Matthew Paul Turner ever since he wrote ADULT books. Back in the day, his book, Relearning Jesus, made for great fodder with my student leadership team. I’ll admit, when he switched to writing children’s books, I was a bit skeptical.

But then someone gave us When God Made You as a shower gift when we were pregnant with our daughter, Hope. I loved it. I loved the message. I loved the verse. I loved the illustrations… and so I was sold. For those reasons, I was excited to read When I Pray for You.

When I Pray For You

When I Pray for You is a special book. Matthew truly understands what it’s like to pray for your child. I dare any Christian parent to read When I Pray for You without crying. I know I did the first time I read it to my daughter.

Beyond that, though, the rhyming is really good. So often I find myself cringing while reading a rhyming book to my daughter because the rhymes simply don’t work. That’s not the case here. The rhymes are sharp and unforced. They work. 

The illustrations in When I Pray for You are also exceptionally good. They’re charming enough to captivate my daughter. Yet, they also have things that I value. They show ethnic and gender diversity as well as kids who are disabled.

When I Pray for You is a beautiful book. As a Minister of Youth & Family, I plan to gift it to some of our church’s young families in connection with a milestone on prayer. It’d also make a great baby shower gift… Or really a great gift for any family with children.


I was honored to be an early reader for Waterbrook Press and chose to review the book. All opinions are my own.

Jen Bradbury on Youth Ministry

Jen serves as the Minister of Youth and Family at Atonement Lutheran Church in Barrington, Illinois. A veteran youth worker, Jen holds an MA in Youth Ministry Leadership from Huntington University. Jen is the author of The Jesus Gap: What Teens Actually Believe about Jesus (The Youth Cartel), The Real Jesus (The Youth Cartel), Unleashing the Hidden Potential of Your Student Leaders (Abingdon), and A Mission That Matters (Abingdon). Her writing has also appeared in YouthWorker Journal, Immerse, and The Christian Century. Jen is also the Assistant Director of Arbor Research Group where she has led many national studies. When not doing ministry or research, she and her husband, Doug, and daughter, Hope, can be found traveling and enjoying life together.

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Jen's Books

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A Mission That Matters: How To Do Short-Term Missions Without Long-Term Harm

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Unleashing the Hidden Potential of your Student Leaders

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The Real Jesus

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The Jesus Gap

What Teens Actually Believe About Jesus

Based on National Research

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