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Sadly, most of us struggle to set aside time to pray. But, fear not, this is not another book that will pile on the guilt, simply saying pray better and more often. Instead, Michael Reeves shows us not only why prayer is so essential, but also how we can enjoy it too.
Taking his cue from Calvin’s definition that prayer is ‘the chief exercise of faith,’ Reeves helps us understand that prayer should be a natural expression of our faith. Just as faith is awakened as we grasp the wonders of the gospel, so prayer follows as our hearts respond to these glorious truths.
Read by Michael Tinker
Let Michael Reeves nourish and encourage your prayer life! I warmly commend this book to you.
No matter how well (or poorly!) your prayer life is going, you'll benefit from reading this book. Mike's book will help you see the reason for prayer and how it can, and should, be a great joy for us!
If prayer just feels like a duty to perform, an activity to plan or a ritual to go through, let Mike Reeves lift your eyes to the Father in heaven who loves to hear his Son pray - and who calls us to join in. What a privilege, and what a great book to open up the heart of prayer - needy, dependent children coming to a Father who loves them and loves to listen. Highly recommended.
I enjoy what Michael has written and have taken delight from the lessons in this book. It has refreshed my soul and renewed my joy of prayer. I will add this to the recommended reading list this when I teach our young believers class on prayer. Enjoying your prayer life is a short book on prayer that may be read in one sitting. It is written in accessible language to the young Christian. I would suggest reading it several times and allow it to refresh you in your communion with God through the grace and joy of prayer. Read my full review at http://www.theology-matters.com/2014/03/16/book-review-enjoying-your-prayer-life/
How do you feel about reading a book on prayer? Part of me feels that’s the last thing I need: another excuse to get me off doing the one thing I seem to avoid: praying. But when I dipped into this pocket–size offering by Michael Reeves, formerly of UCCF, now ‘theologian–at–large’ (a pretty cool title) at WEST, I was altogether refreshed and thankful for the privilege I have of speaking to my Father God. In short, I was eager to pray. Reeves begins by laying his cards on the table early. He believes there is a prayerlessness prevalent in evangelical culture, and he wants that to change, and longs for this book to be something of a “tonic” to kick–start refreshed prayer lives. Reeves’ diagnosis of the problem is interesting. He thinks one of the key reasons we go wrong is because we think of prayer as another “thing” to do, which inevitably leads us to go down the road of searching for ‘prayer techniques’. Instead Reeves holds up John Calvin’s definition of prayer as “the chief exercise of faith” (Institutes III, 20). If this definition is fair (and it’s one that Jonathan Edwards echoed), and Reeves comes back to it again and again, then consequently prayerlessness is actually faithlessness, or as Reeves puts it, “practical atheism”. That said, Reeves is careful to say that it’s not that our prayer life dictates whether or not we’re really Christians. But our prayer life does reveal “how much you really want communion with God and how much you really depend on him.” It doesn’t determine our identity, but it does indicate how much of a “spiritual baby” we might be. Therefore, Reeves challenges, if you think you’re wonderful, take a look at your prayer life. This might all sound a bit depressing, but Reeves knows where he’s going. Indeed, there are a few backhanded encouragements before we get there: firstly, we should expect prayer to be a struggle, for we’re creatures who are naturally lacking in faith; secondly, even someone like Martin Luther, whose legend often comes wrapped in hagiographical descriptions of mammoth prayer sessions, actually really struggled with prayerlessness. Prayerlessness is not a new problem, ultimately it’s a sinful human problem. But that’s all well and good (or not, as the case may be), but are we simply being left to languish in our prayerlessness? Reeves’ ‘solution’, if I can call it that, is that we understand that if prayer is an expression of faith, the way to grow in it is to grow in faith. He cites Romans 10:17: “faith comes through hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ”. In other words, “faith – and so prayer – is birthed by the gospel”. As we set before ourselves Jesus Christ, then prayer will follow as the articulation of the Christian’s heart response. So for the bulk of this short book that’s what Reeves seeks to do. When we wonder at Jesus, then we see the privilege of prayer. Part of that is seeing prayer as something Jesus did, and so loving the gospel means we “learn to enjoy what Jesus has always enjoyed”. Crucially and wonderfully this involves praying to God as our Father, for as Jesus teaches his disciples to pray “Our Father in Heaven”, he is simultaneously showing us the relationship He has always enjoyed whilst also sharing it with us. Reeves uses the startling phrase, “pray as if it were through Jesus’ mouth”, which seems a breathtaking way of describing the privilege we have of calling God Father. Reeves then addresses the subject of when we pray, encouraging a mindset that expresses the privilege of prayer “at all times”. After all, the whole day is already God’s, so we don’t need to try and ‘fit’ God into each day. Reeves is not against set times of prayers and devotion, but he is certainly arguing for a perspective that sees all of life flowing out of our communion with our Father. The later chapters quickly cover quite a bit of ground, touching on prayer as a sign of dependence (also about Christlikeness, for the Son was dependent on the Father), the precious role of the Holy Spirit in our prayers (“we can be real with our father, accepting our weakness, and simply stammer out our hearts”), God’s work to shape us in our prayer lives so we echo and share “God’s life and purpose”, as well as prayer as an evidence of unity. The lasting taste in the mouth is that praying to our Father God is a delight. ‘Enjoy your Prayer Life’ is worth getting your hands on. It’s definitely a ‘does–what–it–says–on–the–tin’ book. The bonus is that it’s also really short – many of the ‘chapters’ are only a couple of pages – but that means I was much more likely to read it, and it also meant I was more quickly left to actually pray. Taken from http://hamage.wordpress.com/2014/04/23/enjoy–your–prayer–life–by–michael–reeves–a-review/
A wonderfully encouraging little book. Not just to read the once but to refer to at those times when praying seems difficult. I can thoroughly recommend it.
This is a book to hand out to as many people as we can. Short, cheap, concise, encouraging, hard hitting and thorough enough to give Christians of all ages and stages a much welcome reminder of what prayer is!
This is the first book that I have read by Michael Reeves and I’m very impressed. I’ve read many books on Christian prayer, yet in just 48 pages the author cuts right through to the heart of this subject. If you find prayer difficult, or you feel guilty about “poor” prayer (or even a lack of prayer) then you must read this book. Reeves also highlights the reality of Christian prayer with insights that I hadn’t really grasped before. I owe Reeves a debt of gratitude because he clearly marks out the difference between how we normally view prayer and what Christian prayer really is. The understanding that Jesus is the Son of God makes a significance difference to how we pray. Just read it! The book is so short that it is worth investing your time!
A superb book – convicting, humbling, challenging but hugely encouraging – I will be recommending this to others. There aren’t many books that speak so immediately to my heart that I have to keep stopping reading to pray.
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