Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Book Review: Why We Pray (2015)

Why We Pray. William Philip. 2015. Crossway. 112 pages. [Source: Review copy]

I absolutely LOVED, LOVED, LOVED William Philip's Why We Pray. The book may be short--just a little over a hundred pages--but it is PACKED with rich truths from Scripture. Philip was able to pack a lot of insight and wisdom into the four chapters of this book, he kept it concise and reader-friendly.

Early on in the book, Philip mentions what he didn't want his book on prayer to be: another depressing book on prayer. He'd heard enough depressing sermons "exhorting" listeners to pray more, to pray better, to pray harder. Instead, he wanted his book to place the emphasis on God--on the relationship between God and believers, that prayer is merely the expression of that relationship. Philip shares with his readers FOUR reasons why we pray, he devotes one reason per chapter. He ends each chapter with discussion questions. These are good questions.

  • We Pray Because God Is A Speaking God
  • We Pray Because We Are Sons of God
  • We Pray Because God is a Sovereign God
  • We Pray Because We Have the Spirit of God

Why We Pray is an excellent book on prayer, and a great reminder of what the gospel is all about.

Favorite questions:
We learn most about prayer simply by learning about God. What truths have you learned about God that have impacted your prayer life? What spiritual disciplines do you practice that help your prayer life?
Philip writes, “Don’t think about yourself when you’re thinking about prayer; think about the Lord Jesus Christ. Think about how faithful he is— always, always, always— for you.” What starts to happen to your prayer life when you think about yourself too much? What happens to your prayer life when you think only about Jesus?

Favorite quotes:
Prayer is responding to Jesus. We can pray because God is a speaking God, because we have been created to respond to him, and because through Jesus Christ we have been redeemed that we might again respond to him.
Jesus is not only God’s ultimate word to man but also man’s ultimate word of response to God.
Your prayers and mine will not be heard by God because of our sincerity but because of our status. We are sons of God, which means that God cannot not hear us. We are his sons. That’s gospel truth. He can’t not hear your prayers if you are in Christ. If we don’t feel that at times, if it doesn’t feel like it’s true, it’s simply because we are disbelieving the gospel that teaches it plainly to us. We are disbelieving our status as justified before God. We are disbelieving the reality of the legal status of adoption that is ours through faith in Jesus Christ. It really is ours; it has changed everything.
Thinking about what God does and who God is, is always far more encouraging than thinking about ourselves, about what we aren’t, about what we don’t do and what we should do more of.
Real gospel prayer always thinks God’s thoughts after him. It has God’s goal in view. That means we have to ask ourselves practical questions about where our prayer focus is. Whose thoughts are we thinking when we pray?
To speak about prayer is to speak about the ministry of the Holy Spirit of Jesus within people. It is all about his ministry for us, his ministry in us, and his ministry to us.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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