In our previous article, Santhosh Thomas, interviewed Roo Standring about A Praying Life, one of many great books on prayer that really help you appreciate the outrageous privilege it is to draw close to God so intimately, and re-prioritise prayer in your life. We’ve asked a few people within the network to give us their recommendations on other helpful books & resources to encourage us to pray.
Pray Big | Alastair Begg
This is the best book I’ve ever read on prayer. Firstly, Begg helps us to see that prayer is a recognition of complete dependence on God (the more we realise our need, the more we will pray). Next, he shows us how the apostle Paul always has his eyes fixed on eternity and that his prayers are spiritual (but not impractical). He says ‘All that matters may be brought before God, but we must always bring before God the things that matter most’. Then, he goes on to answer the question ‘What do I say?’ from Paul’s prayers in Ephesians, summarising what we should be praying for under the headings: focus, hope, riches, power, love. Focus - ‘the most transformational thing you can do today is to look clearly at Christ with the eyes of your heart’. Hope - we need to ask God to open our heart-eyes to the hope he is holding out. ‘You are going to live forever. The only question is where.’ Riches - ‘we are richer than we realise and one day in glory we will be richer than we can even begin to imagine’. Power - ‘Live with a sight of the risen, ascended, reigning Christ, and know that the power that set him there is yours today. Don’t let anybody - including yourself - tell you differently.’ Love - ‘Do you know how loved you are? It is too big fully to comprehend - but it is not too wonderful to begin to experience.’ This is a warm, God-glorifying, encouraging read and it will cause you to want to pray.
Jackie Moralee, Cornerstone, Kingston
5 Things to Pray for Your City | Helen Thorne & Pete Nicholas
I find it hard to pray - and hard to know what to pray. This little series is therefore gold-dust: because it takes Bible passages and uses them to give five prayer prompts about a person or theme. This particular book helps us pray for our city - yes, for its evangelisation, but for so much more besides. And because they flow directly from Scripture, we can pray them confidently, knowing they’re prayers our Father loves to hear! This is not a book to read, so much as a book to pray.
Carl Laferton, Grace Church, Worcester Park
Our Father | Richard Coekin
Many of us know the ‘Lord’s Prayer’ by heart, yet sometimes the words can become so familiar that they lose their impact as we say them. So this is a wonderfully refreshing opportunity to slow down and take time to consider them afresh. Richard walks us line by line through the prayer, showing us that the key to a great prayer life is not better techniques, or more self-discipline, but a greater love and appreciation of the God to whom we pray - our heavenly Father. When we start by considering his goodness, majesty and power, and all that he has done for us in Christ, we find ourselves excited at the prospect of praying to him, and our own desires and needs start to be shaped by his priorities rather than our own. Then prayer becomes something you want to do, rather than feeling you ought to do.
At the end of each section there is a summary sentence on how that part of the Lord’s Prayer helps us to enjoy God more, as well as an everyday scenario to show how it can be practically applied. This is really helpful and will give you ideas for how you can work more opportunities to pray into your day to day life. This book would be a great read if you’ve never thought deeply about the Lord’s Prayer. But I would also particularly recommend it if you know the prayer so well that you sometimes find yourself saying it without feeling the true power and beauty of it. Increasing your love and passion for this prayer will go hand in hand with growing your love and passion for your heavenly Father and enjoying him more.
James Burstow, Grace Church Worcester Park
Every Child Should Know About Prayer | Nancy Guthrie
This is a nicely illustrated, hardback book on prayer that would suit children aged 4-7. It is written by Nancy Guthrie, a highly respected Bible teacher from the US, who does a good job of expressing theological truths about prayer in language that young readers can understand. She explains what prayer is, why we should pray, and how we can pray. Each page features a paragraph about some aspect of prayer, an appropriate illustration, a relevant Bible verse and a suggested prayer for the reader to make their own. As with many children’s books, parents will learn things or be reminded of things too as they read along with their children and this would therefore make a great gift for a family with young children that you would like to encourage.
James Burstow, Grace Church Worcester Park
Praying Life | Paul Miller
A Praying Life addresses your heart; looking at what kind of attitude drives us to pray all the time — in the good, bad and everyday moments. If you feel your prayers are often dry or you get hung up on what you should be praying, this book is a marvellous tonic. Paul Miller shows us how the route to a prayerful life is to realise how needy, helpless, weak and empty-handed we are. When we get that, prayer becomes like breathing — we cry out to our Heavenly Father upon whom we depend for everything. As we do that, we grow in dependency and trust, our wills are aligned to God’s will and we surrender completely to him.
Katie and Tom Beard, Dundonald Church
All these books are available to buy from our friends The Good Book Company.