Review: Developing a Healthy Prayer Life
This is the second book on prayer I’ve reviewed in about as many weeks. I suppose the COVID-quarantine has made me both hyper-aware of the parts of my job I’m unable to do at the moment (e.g., hospitality, in-person discipleship, hospital visitation) and re-focused me on the parts I can be doing (e.g., study, prayer). And, for that and other reasons, I praise God.
Developing a Healthy Prayer Life is one of the best treatments of the subject I’ve read to date. It’s insightful and practical, challenging and comforting, deep and pithy. Even the Beeke’s description of prayer is beautiful:
“Prayer is the act of forging a connection between two specific points: our human needs and the resources of God offered to us in Christ. You can start at either point, and reach to the other in prayer” (xi).”
I strongly recommend every Christian read this book. To whet your appetite, here are some quotes taken from select chapters.
Chapter 4. Pray Privately
“He who does no pray privately is his own thief and murderer. He robs himself of the greatest of blessings and kills his own spiritual life” (12).
Chapter 7. Pray Boldly
“Boldness without humility and humility without boldness are both sinful. Both deny the God of Scripture” (20).
Chapter 11. Pray Thankfully
“There is no greater blessing than receiving a truly thankful heart from God, and no greater joy than pouring out your heart to Him in thankful prayer” (36).
Chapter 17. Pray Sincerely
“To pray sincerely is to pray without pretence or deceit. It is to be honest and frank with God in prayer, so that nothing i assumed or put on to impress Him” (52).
“We sin in God’s sight when we look more to the degree of sincerity of our requests than to the degree of sincerity in God to hear and answer graciously” (54).
Chapter 20. Pray Reverently
“When we pray, it is crucial that we view both who is praying and to whom we are praying; who we are and who God is” (61).
Chapter 22. Pray Constantly
“By nature we pray sporadically because we trust ourselves so much. By grace, the closer we walk with the Lord the closer our prayer life will be with Him” (66).
Chapter 23. Pray Dependently
“True prayer weans the petitioner from self-reliance” (67).
Chapter 24. Unfulfilled Prayer
“If our prayers do not obtain the benefits we desire, this does not necessarily mean that they are fruitless” (71).
Chapter 25. Lust-Driven Prayer
“The critical difference between lustful and loving prayer lies in who is reigning as king in a person’s heart. Only one can be on the throne. It is either my will or Thy will be done” (74).
Chapter 30. Pray Thoughtfully
“Thoughtful prayer, like wisdom, begins with reverence and humility and ends with peace and pleasantness in the knowledge of God (cf. Job 28:28; Prov. 1:7; 3:17)” (89).