Discussion Guide For innocents Pray

From Innocents Pray by Lisa J. Lickel
copyright by Lisa J Lickel, 2016

NOTE: These questions contain spoilers for those who have yet to read the book.

1. The characters in Innocents Pray make individual choices while still being under the greater authority of God. What influenced the major characters to make the choices he or she did in the novel? How do you make decisions?

2. The names of the characters are significant. How does each represent the personality of Libby, Vic, Jordan, and Able?

3. Able said he could feel despair in other people. How or did that trait affect the choices he made?

4. At what point was Libby ready to admit that she was sick again? Did you ever feel like Libby and want to run away from everything? Why or why not? Was Libby justified in what she tried to do?

5. How did Nona fit into the Davis family equation? What kind of influence did Nona have over each member of the family?

6. Libby looks at her world with artist’s eyes, often focusing on little details versus the big picture. How did her outlook influence the decisions she made?

7. How did Brother Able’s religious convictions direct the way he lived and treated others? What were some of the more profound influences on his choices? Do you agree or disagree with how he treated the patients, staff, friends, Vic, Libby, Emily, Nona, and Rich?

8. How did the faith or lack of faith of the others in the story besides Able influence their lives?

9. What kind of person was Rich Bernard? What, ultimately, did he want to do? Was he right or wrong?

10. How is the way both Libby and Rich handle tragic events in their lives similar and different?

11. When did you realize the identity of the speaker behind the hunting and chat website entries? The man and his gun was Jordan, who showed how adept he was on the computer, and how he learned he could transport a weapon. Surviving11 is also Jordan, who takes his online handle from the year his life changed, at age eleven. What did you learn from the online discussions?

12. How different and similar were Libby and Vic’s and Nona and Able’s parenting skills? Did those skills affect the choices they made in other areas of their lives?

13. Able told Libby they had put God to the test when she asks “What have we done?” on page 264. Did Able and Libby take an active or a passive role in Rich’s decision? What else could they have done?

14. Do you think Jordan meant for his final action to have the consequences it did? Discuss his motivation. What led up to his solution to the problems in his life?

15. Feeling as if we have control over a situation is another powerful influence in making decisions. Did the characters feel as if they could control their lives? How do you think each of them reacted according to that sense of power or control?

16. Do you agree or disagree with Able’s response to Libby about God being able to forgive a person incapable of asking for forgiveness for himself? What about Able’s response to Vic’s question about how God answered each of the prayers for Libby’s life?

17. Did each character in the story get what he or she asked God for? Or deserve?