Welcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival. Each week I feature a book that I consider a valuable resource. This week’s selection is Praying the Bible by Donald S. Whitney.
In Praying the Bible, Donald Whitney asks the question, “Why don’t Christians who love God pray more?” He explains that the answer and the solution are quite simple.
Prayer … I hope I’m not the only one who constantly feels like I could do more in this area or that I should be more effective.
Some years ago I came across a series of verses in John Piper’s book, Taste and See, that he called the meat and potatoes of his prayer life. I began praying them for myself, my husband, my family and others. My prayer life took on new meaning and through the years I’ve seen the results in those I have been praying for.
So when I saw a promo on Donald Whitney’s newest book, I knew it was one I wanted to read. I wasn’t disappointed!
This from chapter 1:
Since prayer is talking with God, why don’t people pray more? Why don’t the people of God enjoy prayer more? I maintain that people— truly born-again, genuinely Christian people— often do not pray simply because they do not feel like it. And the reason they don’t feel like praying is that when they do pray, they tend to say the same old things about the same old things.
When you’ve said the same old things about the same old things about a thousand times, how do you feel about saying them again? Did you dare just think the “B” word? Yes, bored. We can be talking to the most fascinating Person in the universe about the most important things in our lives and be bored to death.
As a result, a great many Christians conclude, “It must be me. Something’s wrong with me. If I get bored in something as important as prayer, then I must be a second-rate Christian.”
Indeed, why would people become bored when talking with God, especially when talking about that which is most important to them? Is it because we don’t love God? Is it because, deep down, we really care nothing for the people or matters we pray about? No. Rather, if this mind-wandering boredom describes your experience in prayer, I would argue that if you are indwelled by the Holy Spirit— if you are born again— then the problem is not you; it is your method.
Does that give you hope? I know it does me.
Don Whitney goes on to explain that praying for the same things is not the problem. In fact, it’s natural for us to pray about many of the same things. It’s praying for the same things, in the same way, day after day.
Then he goes on the explain that every Christian can have a meaningful, satisfying prayer life and to help us understand that the answer is quite simple:
Although God doesn’t choose many who are “wise according to worldly standards,” he does call people from every imaginable circumstance and background.
Our Father draws to himself people with few Christian resources and people with many Christian resources, such as those who aren’t able even to own a Bible and those who own many; those who do not live near a good, healthy church and those who experience rich fellowship and sound biblical exposition every week; those who cannot read or who have no Christian books and those for whom many Christian books are readily available; those who have no access to Christian teaching by means of various media and those who do. But if God invites and expects all his children— regardless of their age, IQ, education, or resources— to do the same thing— to pray— then prayer has to be simple.
He goes on to explain the simple, permanent, biblical solution:
So what is the simple solution to the boring routine of saying the same old things about the same old things? Here it is: when you pray, pray through a passage of Scripture, particularly a psalm.
To pray the Bible, you simply go through the passage line by line, talking to God about whatever comes to mind as you read the text. See how easy that is? Anyone can do that.
Then he demonstrates it using the 23rd Psalm as an example. Finally, he encourages us to put down his book and choose a psalm … and to pray!
Having walked the path of this book thus far, now you find yourself at a fork in this trail of words. In one direction the path is called “Information”; the other is called “Transformation.” At this juncture you will decide whether the pages you’ve turned (and those ahead) will change your life or be forgotten, whether a transformation in prayer occurs or you add this book to the pile of those you’ve read but do not remember. That’s because I’m going to ask you now to put down this book, pick up your Bible, and pray through a psalm. Choose one of the Psalms of the Day or just pick a favorite. Well-known psalms such as 23; 27; 31; 37; 42; 66; 103; or 139 also make good choices for this exercise.
The book, also, includes quotes and examples from other believers, helps in praying through other parts of the Bible, a chart for praying through the Psalms, and an explanation of how to pray through the Bible in a group setting.
So what are you waiting for?
Quotations taken from:
Whitney, Donald S. (2015-06-15). Praying the Bible. Crossway. Kindle Edition.
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Previously featured books:
Taming the To-Do List: How to Choose Your Best Work Every Day by Glynnis Whitwer. Read about it here.
Because He Loves Me: How Christ Transforms Our Daily Life by Elyse Fitzpatrick. Read about it here.
Gift-Wrapped by God: Secret Answers to the Question “Why Wait?” by Linda Dillow and Lorraine Pintus. Read about it here.
The Heart of Anger: Practical Help for the Prevention and Cure of Anger in Children by Lou Priolo. Read about it here.
Sweethearts for a Lifetime: Making the Most of Your Marriage by Wayne and Carol Mack. Read about it here.
If I’m a Christian, Why Am I Depressed?: Finding Meaning and Hope in the Dark Valley One Man’s Journey by Robert B. Somerville. Read about it here.
Intimate Issues: Twenty-One Questions Christian Women Ask About Sex by Linda Dillow & Lorraine Pintus. Read about it here.
For Women Only: What You Need to Know About the Inner Lives of Men by Shaunti Feldhahn. Read about it here.
Gospel Treason: Betraying the Gospel With Hidden Idols by Brad Bigney. Read about it here.
Uprooting Anger: Biblical Help for a Common Problem by Robert D. Jones. Read about it here.
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