There is no shortage of books on prayer. You can find books on how to pray and types of prayer, as well as those written specifically for different subgroups of people: parents, women, men, college students, etc. The list is endless. But I get it. Because it’s also a topic that people often struggle to understand or feel like they’re doing the “right” way.
I’ve been there. I’m still there! While developing my prayer life and quiet time always feels like a work in progress, I’ve finally realized that it’s a perfectly acceptable place to be. Because if I’m working on it, then hopefully I’m also growing.
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In a post on developing your quiet time, I referenced The Greater Work: How Prayer Positions You to Receive All that Grace Intends to Give by Dr. Jim Denison, with Blake Atwood. And because it was such a great read for me, I thought it deserved its own review.
Synopsis of The Greater Work:
The synopsis that follows is from the Denison Forum:
Do you struggle to pray? Maybe you lack consistency. Or you’d like to pray with more power and urgency. Or you desire to make prayer a regular part of your day, but you’re simply too busy.
You’re not alone.
Often, the central question that prevents us from praying more often, more passionately, and more expectantly is, “Why should I pray?”
- Why pray if God already knows what you’re going to ask?
- Why pray if God already knows what he’s going to do?
- Why pray if God seems silent?
In The Greater Work: How Prayer Positions You to Receive All that Grace Intends to Give, Dr. Jim Denison answers why you should pray and offers biblical insight on how to pray and what to pray for. May prayer become “the greater work” of your life today.
A Review of The Greater Work:
If you have followed me for any amount of time, you’ve probably seen a post (either on the blog or on social media) with reference to Dr. Denison. I admire his wisdom and ability to apply biblical truth to our current culture. You can subscribe to his email, The Daily Article, which “provides leading insight that discerns the issues of the day with biblical truth [and] works to build a movement of culture-changing Christians who can impact the world around them.”
However, this is the first one of his books (and he’s written many) that I’ve actually purchased, and I’m so glad I did! It’s only 159 pages and a super quick and easy read. He breaks the book up into three main parts:
- Why should I pray?
- How should I pray?
- What should I pray?
Dr. Denison’s book on prayer helped me create a prayer journal template to bring more structure to my personal prayer life and quiet time, and it continues to serve as an excellent resource for me.
To give you a feel for the content, I’ve included a few of my favorite quotes from the book:
- “Prayer is not so much about getting answers as it is about knowing God.” (p. 21)
- “…God will always give me what I ask or something better. He answers our prayers every time—whether we know it at the moment or not.” (p. 26)
- “To hear God speak, I must surrender not only my will but also my sin. The more time I spend with God, the more I see my sins for what they are and the more I must confess them to him.” (p. 36)
- “When something in God’s word especially strikes you, stop there. Write it down. Listen to his word and feel his presence, for you are with Jesus. He is speaking from his word to your heart, feeding your soul.” (p. 38)
- “You cannot know God’s will without knowing the Bible. And you cannot pray in alignment with God’s best for you until you know his will as described and portrayed in his word.” (p. 80)
- “…God’s will is ultimately accomplished regardless of our free-will choices, but how our individual lives fit into that eventuality is dependent on how we use our free will.” (p. 82)
If you are struggling with prayer and looking for a resource that can help you with understanding and guidance, then I think you will find value in reading this book.
You can order The Greater Work directly from the Denison Forum website or from Amazon.
However, it’s also important to remember not to overthink the mechanics of prayer. If you struggle with feeling like you don’t know how to pray, then here’s a post you might find helpful: Teach Me How To Pray.
So what books on prayer have you found helpful?
I’d love for you to share some of your favorites!