Prayer is critically important for every person in ministry. Time is short, schedules are busy, but the need to pray remains. I’m not a great prayer warrior. However, I’m always looking for ways to grow in this all-important endeavor. In this post I’m going to recommend three books that have impacted my prayer life in some unique ways.
Let me recommend reading these books in the order provided below. These books were not selected at random. Reading these works in succession will be like attending your own personal prayer seminar. Firstly, Book One provides a stirring challenge and inspiration to pray with renewed vigor. Secondly, Book Two calls for a renewed focus on God’s purposes in your prayers. Finally, Book three examines the prayer life of one of history’s greatest Christians, the Apostle Paul.
Book #1: It Happens After Prayer
The first book on this list provides some powerful encouragement to pray.
If you are lacking the drive to pray, I highly recommend It
A few great quotes include:
Prayer is arguably the most objective measurement of our dependence
uponGod ….The things you pray about are the things you trust God to handle, (16).
God flung the stars like a million flaming skyrockets against the ebony dome of
evening…do you know who you are talking to when you pray, (91)?
God is intimately aware of what you’re dealing with. He cares about your situation. And He is at work on your behalf, (140).
Book #2: Praying Backwards
The second book on our list should be required reading for every Christian. Brian Chapell’s book Praying Backwards: Transform your prayer life by beginning in Jesus’ Name had a profound impact on my prayer life. It is unfortunate that this book is not more widely known. In brief, “praying in Jesus name” means holding to the conviction that each request should be measured by and submitted to the will and purpose of God. This book also addresses (and dismantles) several erroneous beliefs taught by prosperity preachers. The first chapter provides an excellent rebuttal to “name it and claim it” prosperity-gospel type of praying. Pouring over this book will deepen your understanding of “praying in Jesus name” and help reorder priorities in prayer.
A few honorable mentions from the book:
Despite our sins, faults, and weaknesses, we enter the heavenly Father’s throne room of grace on the basis of Christ’s merit and his willingness to identify with us, (23).
We put [Jesus’] purposes first when we treasure his honor above all earthly desires, (48).
Whenever physical healing does not occur and suffering is prolonged, we should not minimize the pain but remember its eternal frame. This affliction is but for a moment of our eternity and works in us and others a dependence on Christ that makes heaven’s promises surer and more precious, (62).
God does not give finite people the burden of solving the world’s problems
….Instead, our God provides his Holy Spirit to match the fervor, content, and desires of our prayers to his purposes, (83).
Our Heavenly Father grants us the privilege of praying specifically for immediate and future matters…with the expectation that he will hear and delight to answer in the ways he knows are best…, (119).
Book #3: Praying With Paul
The final book on our list is Praying with Paul: A Call to Spiritual Reformation by D. A. Carson. This book examines the prayer life and priorities of the Apostle Paul and, as a result, has deepened my understanding of how Paul prayed and the priorities he held in his ministry. It will challenge you to pray for those around you and your ministry in new ways. Read this book to gain new insight to pray for the glory of God and the advancement of the Gospel.
Some wise words from this book:
…It is better to pray often with brevity than rarely but at length, (1).
…Effective prayer is the fruit of a relationship with God, not a technique for acquiring blessings, (15).
If you are serious about reforming your prayer life, you must begin with your heart. Unconfessed sin, nurtured sin, will always be a barrier between God and those made in his image, (57).
A healthy and growing prayer life is part of a strong walk with the Savior. These three books have made a significant impact on my prayer life. Reading books like these add fuel to the fire of my own prayer life. My prayer for you is that they would play a small part in your own journey to pray with renewed boldness, passion and regularity.