“You may as soon find a living man that does not breath, as a living Christian that does not pray.”
~ Matthew Henry
In prayer we acknowledge the greatness of God and recognize the privilege to call Him Father; in prayer we gain insight into how God thinks and receive strength to trust His will over our own; in prayer we cast our burdens on Him, and trust Him for every need; in prayer we seek forgiveness and the ability to forgive; and in prayer we find the power for deliverance from temptation and safety from the enemy. If you are looking for some direction, encouragement, and inspiration on the topic of prayer, this list of Top 10 Christian Books on Prayer will provide you with a good start.
1. Praying the Names of God, Ann Spangler
This award-winning writer offers keen insight with her ability to explain the deep truths in God’s word in a way they can be practically applied to every day life, specifically prayer. By identifying and defining the names used for God in scripture she masterfully reveals “a God who is often far bigger and better than we might imagine”.
2. With Christ in the School of Prayer, Andrew Murray
Andrew Murray wrote over 200 publications and this book stands as one of his most popular. It is an education in prayer beginning with a rudimentary foundation and then building a fine structure through each lesson. For those who have a tough time with the antiquated English of the original, a better choice may be the revised edition, written in easy to understand modern English.
3. Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God, Tim Keller
This book had me at the title and further investigation proved that there are times when judging a book by its cover pays off. Initially, when the author began his research and study, he deliberately avoided reading any new books on prayer so that he could personally retrace his steps through Christian theology with this new focus. Tim Keller writes in his introduction, “This book will show that prayer is both conversation and encounter with God. These two concepts give us a definition of prayer and a set of tools for deepening our prayer lives.”
4. The Mighty Weakness of John Knox, Douglas Bond
The author uncovered the power behind the strength of the great reformer John Knox, of Scotland. The oxymoron in the title draws from the words of the Apostle Paul’s in 2 Corinthians, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” and is the premise for the entire work. In this biography you will see the magnified strength of God working mightily in John Knox’s life, and you will be encouraged by the revealed weaknesses countered by incessant prayer.
5. A Call to Prayer, J.C. Ryle
Ryle gets to the point in his opening inquiry, “Do You Pray?” Later he continues, “It is one thing to say your prayers, and another to pray.” Short and sweet, this brief discourse focuses on the “why” and “how” of prayer.
6. Prayer, The Great Adventure, Dr. David Jeremiah
After finding out he had cancer, David Jeremiah fervently dug into the topic of prayer. He writes, “I discovered something that had been true all along, even though I had not thought much about it. I discovered I was helpless without God! That was the beginning of the adventure for me.” He includes powerful quotes from others who had fallen into the school of prayer in similar desperation. With collective insight, practical advice, and solid commentary on the subject, this book provides an outstanding resource for those embarking on the great adventure of prayer.
7. The Power of Prayer, R.A. Torrey
In this book there is clear emphasis on revival, to “save church and save civilization…” and it covers general categories on the “what, where, when, and why” of prayer. The highlight for me was in chapter 9, on the hindrances to prayer. In this chapter he provides an outline of the kind of things that render prayer ineffective: selfishness, sin, idolatry, stinginess, unforgiveness, and unbelief. Good stuff.
8. Prayer: A Holy Occupation, Oswald Chambers
For Oswald Chambers, the discipline of prayer was primarily a means to understand the heart of God in all matters and to align oneself with Christ. Julie Ackerman Link took the time to pull teachings from his published works to compile this concentrated look at prayer. If you are looking for specific insight from Chambers on the topic, this book will provide a quick resource.
9. A Layman Looks at the Lord’s Prayer, W. Phillip Keller
For a profound and personal understanding of the Lord’s Prayer, Phillip Keller delivers big time. His line by line commentary on relevant passages in the New Testament, his deep and personal insight, and helpful application, are written in a conversational style and with heartfelt passion. This book would make a great bible study!
10. A Prayer Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World, Paul Miller
Even by the end of his introduction you will begin to feel encouraged by what prayer accomplishes and have a birds-eye view on what prayer looks like. He takes significant time to review the cycle of ineffective prayer, presenting the problems he is about to biblically solve: distraction, worry, guilt, confusion, lack of enthusiasm, business, trust in anything else but God, and giving up. He teaches that prayer should interconnect with all aspects of life and that prayer is nurtured to maturity just like life itself.
I hope you find these works helpful. What do you think, did I miss your favorite? Please feel free to share other resources on prayer significant enough to make your Top 10 Christian Books on Prayer.
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Kristi Winkler is a contributing writer for Sharefaith, a veteran eLearning developer, writer/editor, and business software analyst. Her writing gives a voice to the ministry experts she consults with and interviews.