Friday, July 06, 2012

Why Pray by John Devries

Why Pray?: 40 Days--From Words to RelationshipWhy Pray?: 40 Days--From Words to Relationship by John F. Devries
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

How do I condense 40 days of learning into one reasonable length review? Don't think I can do that.
All I can do is say what this book has done for me. So that's what I'll do.

I have been a Christian for a long time. However, I don't think I really accessed most of that power that comes from being a follower of Christ. Prayer is that key, that instrument to access the power that Christ gave all his believers in his ministry, persecution, crucifixion, death, and resurrection from the grave. Jesus prayed, all the time. And he is the living God. But he needed to access the power of God while he was in a fully human body. He did this through prayer. Jesus prayed through some of the most painful times in his life. When he and his disciples had material needs to be met. When he was tempted by the devil for 40 days, when he knew he was going to be tried and crucified. His last night before he was crucified, he prayed so hard that he sweated blood. If my Lord prayed, and I follow him as my model, then how could I not pray every day of my life, not just in the worst moments, but in the best, and in everything between? That would be huge folly on my part not to follow his model. The disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray and he told them to say what we know as The Lord's Prayer:

‘Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come,

your will be done

on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our debts,

as we also have forgiven our debtors.

And lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from the evil one.'

Matthew 6:6-13

I learned to say this prayer when I was a very young girl, but I didn't realize the absolute power in it until I read this book. God still blessed me in my life despite that. But there is so much more God can do with his children if we only ask him. Let me tell you, practically every need you would have as a human being can be met through this prayer. God will supply all your needs. He's just waiting for you to ask him to do it. And also you should pray this when you pray for others. They need the same things and this prayer accesses the unlimited resources of heaven to give them what they need. Sometimes we see so much hopelessness and it makes feel us helpless. Well, believers in Christ are not helpless in any way. Even if we can't reach out and touch and physically help someone, we can pray for them, and there is power in that prayer. Merely using The Lord's Prayer. Now, I have learned to pray it out loud and let every line resonate through my spirit. You see, there is power in God's word. When we pray God's word, he hears us. He hears the prayers of the believers (and even those who don't know him but are seeking to know him and need his help) anyway, but God will always honor his word. If it says that he will give us our daily bread, then he will do it (and I truly have found that out in this season of my life). This book helped me to understand this, that I should use my prayers with power. Not demanding anything from God, but agreeing with him in what he says in his word.

I will honestly admit that prayer is something I've done half-heartedly most of my life. It's very foolish of me. As a believer in Jesus, why wouldn't I want to spend time with him? And that's what prayer is. Prayer is fellowship with the Living God. He loves us and he wants to spend time with us. Does he need us? No, but he takes great joy in us, his children. I think it's like if you are a parent and your children don't ever want to spend time with you. It must feel bad to know they don't care to spend time with you. Well, I know that God loves me so much, and because of his love, I love him so much, quite desperately. So now, even when I don't feel like praying, I still pray, because the power of agape love gives us the strength to break through the barriers that come between us and those who we share a relationship with. God doesn't care for fancy gestures, just a sincere heart. The Holy Spirit will make the words when we need them. And let me tell you, whenever I pray and spend time with God, the peace that comes into my heart is like nothing else, no matter how bad things seemed before I started praying. It's like being wrapped in his arms. My insides become suffused with a powerful light. There is no substitute for fellowship with the Living God. This book has encouraged me to dive into experiencing the presence of the Living God. And I know that I don't need to be ashamed of my sins and shortcomings, afraid to approach my father in heaven, and Jesus my lord. The Lord paid for my cleansing from sin and he has promised that I can always approach him in confidence. Now I cast all that at the Lord's feet, and I know he can do better with it than I can. Every believer has this right and privilege.

Another incredible revelation that this pilgrim has discovered is the incredible supernatural power that we can harness through prayer. Jesus said that anything he did, we could do.

I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. John 14:12-14

That means heal the sick, provide for material resources, protection from spiritual and physical enemies, and yes, even raising the dead. How do we access this? By praying in confidence (not in ourselves but him) as the Lord did. That doesn't mean fancy prayers. Jesus didn't pray 'fancy'. He prayed with faith and humility. That's all that we have to do as believers in him. This is not just me saying this. This is in the Word, which is the inerrant essence of God.

The very essence of your words is truth; all your just regulations will stand forever. Psalm 119:60

Oh goodness. Very hard to condense all of this. I'm getting excited to write this, to share this incredible message through this review. Let me talk about the writing a little. Mr. Devries has a good way of illustrating his points. He tells stories of his life and what he's seen and had others tell him. They are very good at bringing the importance home of the power of prayer. Some of the stories had my jaw dropping. The supernatural happening right here in the middle of this mundane world. And it has encouraged me to follow this model of prayer and marvel and praise God for doing what he promised to do. I think that Mr. Devries sets challenges out there for the readers. Some of his guidelines may not work exactly as he suggested, but don't let that turn you off his message. The essence of what he is saying definitely has merit, and this is a very good starting point for a Christian who doesn't feel like they are very good at prayer.

I am very grateful that my church decided to read this book as a group, and even provided free copies to everyone. The blessings reaped are without measure. I would recommend this book to Christians--old and new--who want to understand just how valuable prayer is.

Overall rating: 4.5/5.0 stars.

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