A few months ago a pastor had handed me a book dealing with the topic of prayer. Rather than read it quickly I decided to read 1 or 2 pages a day prior to personal prayer time. I recently finished it and wanted to mention here that I enjoyed the book and would recommend it to anyone. (And I’m not the only one on the Internet… I found another blogger recommending the book.) The book’s title is “If God already knows – why pray?” and the author’s name is Douglas F. Kelly. It can be purchased here, here and here (U.K. visitors).
Prayer is oh so important and yet I feel we don’t read as much as we could on the topic. I’m sure most professing Christians in North America have read more about the Rapture and the latest flavor-of-the-month AntiChrist candidate (e.g. Henry Kissinger, Obama, Javier Solana, Benito Mussolini) than they have about prayer. Am I right? I feel that my knowledge of prayer increased through reading the book.
Having already written about a connected (and oft-neglected) topic, fasting, I thought I would quote the following excerpt from a section of the book titled “Consider Fasting” (pages 176-177) :
“A pastor in South Carolina, who was encountering some opposition to the Word, decided that he would attempt to combat the evident work of the evil one not only by prayer, but also by regular fasting. He and his wife noticed that the very day, or within a few days, of his fast the same thing would always happen. There would be a knock on the door of his office, and someone would come in to tell him how God had either just saved them or worked very significantly in their life. This happened too often to be a coincidence.”
“So when their six-year-old son was giving them some discipline problems, they fasted and prayed for him, too. That night, for the first time in weeks, they felt that they were able to see a significant change in his attitude toward his parents and the things of the Lord.”
“This couple had discovered, almost by accident, the fact that closely related to this matter of wrestling in prayer – from a Jacob-like condition with the Lord to an Israel-like condition – is the discipline of fasting. In fact, Jesus gave instruction on fasting at the same time He gave them instruction on prayer (see Matthew 6). Later He encouraged his disciples to practice it when faced with apparent failure in their ministry.”
“When the Lord Jesus Christ came down from the Mount of Transfiguration, where the glory of God had burst through His very face, He found that His disciples in the valley below had a terrible problem. They had not been able to help a child who was tormented with an evil spirit. They found that they were totally unable to cast it out. But when the transfigured, glorious Christ entered that situation where evil was so powerful, He cast out the veil spirit without a moment’s hesitation.”
“His amazed disciples wondered why they had been so powerless to handle the situation. Later when they asked Him privately why they had failed, the Lord immediately responded, “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting” (Mark 9:29)
“Fasting is a way of bringing the powerful Christ down from the mountain of glory into our valley of helplessness to do the work we cannot accomplish. But we must keep this in mind: in proper fasting, the emphasis is never on our merits or on our personal feelings as we fast. Rather we should be solely concerned with bringing down the presence of the risen Christ. The stress should be on God’s presence and glory and not at all on ourselves.”
As an encouragement to prayer, may I recommend studying George Muller’s autobiography (part 1, part 2 and part 3)? It can be downloaded and read for free through Google books (click here, here and here). A video documentary presenting his biography is available on Youtube (click here).