While it has always been a personal passion of mine to be and grow as a man of prayer, much has changed for me in the past few months and I am no longer simply responsible for myself. First and foremost I got married and have a wife, so my desire is now for her to also be a woman of prayer and for us to be a family of prayer. Secondly, I along with my church planting partner Eugen Tamas are in the midst of planting our first church here in Oradea to officially launch in February. As part of our preparations we have been deliberate and intentional about being a people of prayer and aside from our personal prayer time and prayers together as leaders, we have been meeting weekly for a time of corporate prayer. The meetings have been a sweet time of coming to commune with God, to intercede, and to pray for one another. Yet, prayer is laborious and difficult and most these days either struggle to do it or simply don’t even want to do it. Like it or not, this is the reality for most these days.
In fact, I’d venture to say that out of all the other activities Christians engage in prayer is the least. Taking the time to listen to a good sermon in person or on line? You’ll find many who make time for it. Getting together for a weekly missional community gathering or small group? Yep, people are all about community. A night of praise and worship through song? You’ll find tons of people there and most would even argue that it is the same as praying… but it is not. Sitting around discussing theology? Well that makes a man feel real smart so for sure people have no problem with that. But when you set aside a time specifically for prayer the turnout is usually small. And for most they only come once or twice to such corporate gatherings because of the difficulty for most of come to a place simply to pray. Why that is I don’t know all the answers for but what I do know is that this seems to be a reality for many. Especially those who come from a more western background with all the conveniences and entertainment that comes with them.
Yet being a guy who is now trying to lead a church I can’t help feeling burdened to try to help people grow in their prayer lives and battle through the difficulty along the journey of becoming a people devoted to prayer. Of course the best way to grow in ones prayer life is to simply be intentional about praying. Not those leftover prayers before you go to sleep while you are on your pillow, but setting aside an actual designated time specifically to be with the Lord in prayer. But other than that what can we do to help us grow in our prayer lives, to value prayer for what it is and to grow in our desire to do it? Again I will not claim to have all the answers but what I can do (and want to do) is share some of things that have helped me grow personally in my own prayer life journey.
So for the sake of not being too long in this age of 140 characters or less I will share just 5 resources that have helped me in this area and the hopes that they might assist you in growing your prayer life as well. There are of course more, but hopefully these will give you a great start to utilizing resources to help you grow into a person of greater prayer.
Power Through Prayer by E.M. Bounds.
This book, while geared towards preachers, is in my opinion a must read for every Christian who wants to grow in their prayer life. Other than the Bible, there is not a book that I have read that has challenged me while simultaneously encouraging me in my prayer life as Bound’s Power Through Prayer. If you get your hands on it and begin reading it, you will at the least, be challenged by Bounds to go deeper in prayer. Cannot recommend this resource enough.
Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions by Arthur Bennett.
As described by the publisher, “The strength of Puritan character and life lay in prayer and meditation. In this practice the spirit of prayer was regarded as of first importance and the best form of prayer, for living prayer is the characteristic of genuine spirituality. Yet prayer is also vocal and may therefore on occasions be written. Consequently in the Puritan tradition there are many written prayers and meditations which constitute an important corpus of inspiring devotional literature…Too often ex tempore prayer lacks variety, order and definiteness. The reason for this lies partly in a neglect of due preparation. It is here that the care and scriptural thoroughness which others found necessary in their approach to God may be of help. This book has been prepared not to “supply” prayers but to prompt and encourage the Christian as he treads the path on which others have gone before.” And for me it has done just that when I have used it, I read the prayers as a prayer to the Lord Jesus and from those readings I have many times been launched into times of deeper prayer through them. For those of you who struggle to find your words or what to pray about when you pray this is a great tool to use.
I thought to include a sermon or two on prayer as a resource as well. This may be one of the most powerful sermons on prayer that have challenged me on it in my own walk.
For those who may not have a full hour to give to the sermon, here is a Sermon Jam that our ministry put together from this message that hopefully will be just as inspiring.
Why Revival Tarries by Leonard Ravenhill.
While I don’t necessarily agree with Leonard 100% theologically I still value what the Lord did through his ministry and it has had an influence in my own ministry which began with the reading of this book.For me personally Why Revival Tarries is second only to Power through Prayer by Bounds in how it has helped me in my prayer life. This book truly challenges and provokes one to prayer more deeply and leave the casual attitude towards prayer that far too many fall. And perhaps the best way to share some of the wealth of wisdom on prayer from this book is to simply share this quote from it, “No man is greater than his prayer life. The pastor who is not praying is playing; the people who are not praying are straying. We have many organizers, but few agonizers; many players and payers, few pray-ers; many singers, few clingers; lots of pastors, few wrestlers; many fears, few tears; much fashion, little passion; many interferers, few intercessors; many writers, but few fighters. Failing here, we fail everywhere.” ~ Leonard Ravenhill
This is a classic sermon on prayer and regardless of where you stand theologically can really be something that can provoke you to grow in your prayer life. The video may look dated but the message of it is timeless and I myself was only introduced to it a couple of years ago and it impacted me. I cannot recommend it more to anyone who desires to grow in their prayer life and encourage you to make the time for it.
It is my prayer that this little blog and the resources in it help all of you who read it in your prayer life. Blessings!