Whether it’s finding the time, finding the words, the faith to the frame of mind, most of us go through a time of problems with praying and need a bit of expert help to achieve the life of prayer we most desire.
Prayer, we’re told, is the most basic and simple relationship of the Christian with God. Not the most encouraging of statements for the many of us who often find prayer difficult. The vast majority of people – even those with no confessed religious belief admit to praying sometimes.
Prayer is that natural human response to look to something outside ourselves for help, comfort and reassurance when we can no longer cope with everything that’s thrown at us. But for greater or lesser periods of our lives prayer can seem to desert us.
Toward a more life enriching life of prayer
There are many books and guides about prayer. Looking to choose one is not an admission of failure, it’s a declaration that you want more out of your prayer life. So don’t choose a book that makes you feel guilty and inferior. Choose one with a positive outlook, that respects you for seeking a closer relationship with God and wanting to engage the power of active prayer in your life and work.
To help your search for books to build your life of prayer, here’s a rundown of '7 guides to a richer prayer life… and one extra'. You’ll find them all and more resources to enrich your walk of faith and life of prayer at Eden.co.uk.
Jesus as the model for a life of prayer
- Prayer: does it make any difference? - by Philip Yancey
One of the most readable and uplifting writers, Philip starts from his own sense of failure in prayer – a feeling he is careful not to offload onto his readers. Researching for the book, Philip Yancey studied 650 prayers spoken in the Bible. Drawing on Jesus’ prayer life as his model, he helps you establish a balance between action and meditation in prayer. The book helps you confront some of the harder issues including why so much prayer seems to go unanswered and whether prayer really does change God’s mind.
Why it's sometimes hard to pray
- Learning to Pray - by Billy Graham.
Part of Billy Graham’s respected ‘The Journey’ series of study guides, ‘Learning to Pray’ will reassure you that you have already the ability to pray well in your heart. With the help of a simple self appraisal of your prayer life, Dr Graham guides you through an understanding of what you see as prayer ‘problems’ and gently leads you toward a more intimate and satisfying prayer relationship.
Practical prayer and spiritual power
- Warfare Prayer - by C Peter Wagner
If you’re looking to strengthen your prayer as a powerful weapon against the spiritual influences in your community or wider world, there books specifically on prayer warfare. C Peter Wagner’s book is a spiritual manual for taking literally Paul’s warning that ‘We wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers…’ At its least controversial, prayer warfare is an aspect of intercessory prayer – praying on behalf of another. This book is a usually friendly guide if you’re intent on, or just intrigued about, prayer as a weapon for good.
Building a house and community of prayer
- The Grace Outpouring - by Roy Godwin and Dave Roberts
While this book is the biography of the birth and development of a Christian retreat centre at Ffald-y-Brenin (‘The King’s Sheepfold’) in the Welsh mountains, the power of prayer is authors’ principle experience and theme. With chapters on ‘Becoming a House of Prayer’ and ‘Local Houses of Prayer’ the book may be more about the value and effectiveness of prayer than a manual of how to pray, but it is still an encouragement for those who do and a call to those who don’t as yet.
Applying prayer to every aspect of life
- The Power Of A Praying Woman - by Stormie Omartian
Sometimes what you need is a starter for your prayers and then you can do the rest yourself. To help you unlock your own prayer voice, Stormie Omartian uses her deep knowledge of the Bible and honest situations from her own life to guide and nurture your personal prayer growth. Helping you to confide in God with your deepest longings and to apply prayer to every aspect of your life, this book includes model prayers that you can use as a basis for your own thoughts and words.
Listening and the conversation of prayer
- Conversation With God - by Lloyd John Ogilvie
If your biggest prayer worry is in finding the right words, then Lloyd Ogilvie shows you a fresh approach that’s as much listening as speaking. In clear and simple words the book explains the many dimensions of prayer with a 30-day guide enjoying the give and take of a conversation with God. Making prayer an everyday part of life, the title is as much a resource for small group study as it as a personal guide. (Formerly titled ‘Quiet Moments in Prayer’.)
Never to young to start a life of Prayer
- Teach Your Children to Pray - by Denise George
This is not a book of prayers for children to recite, but an encouragement to get your children into an easy habit of prayer while they’re still growing. Written with all the hard earned experience of a mother and Christian, Denise George gives an honest account of all the mistakes, triumphs, problems, ideas, inspiration and doubt on the way to bringing up prayerful children. With an ideas an activities section, the book gives you a focus and the resources to guide your children into a relationship with God as the foundation for their lives.
Why? Because life's too busy not to pray
- Prayer: Christian Basics Bible Studies Series - by Bill Hybels
With the subtitle ‘Too Busy Not to Pray’ Bill Hybels’ book is less about your prayer life and more about your life of prayer. Beginning where many help books end, Bill starts with the recognition that, with so much going on in modern life, you simply can’t afford the time not to pray. With practical tips to help you slow down, prioritise and listen to God, the book helps you respond and, as a result, grow closer to God with all the benefits of spending time with him. Which is what you really want from your personal life of prayer.
Over to You
At Eden.co.uk you can find a truly interactive Christian community helping you find all you need to live, learn and grow your faith.
In his book 'Prayer: Does It Make Any Difference?' Philip Yancey says that, "...prayer is not so much me setting out a shopping list of requests for God to consider as it is a way of “keeping company with God."
- If you were to divide up the time you spend in prayer, how much is a 'shopping list' and how much is just keeping company?
- When you keep company with God, how do you keep yourself focused on his side of the conversation?
Tell us. Post your ideas, views and tips – beautiful, bizarre and brilliant at Eden.co.uk
April 2nd, 2012 - Posted & Written by Les Ellison