Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Book Review: Praying Backwards

Are you able to say the alphabet backwards really quickly? Z Y X and W V... The title of Bryan Chapell's book might make you think of that. Is Praying Backwards all about doing a neat trick where you say your prayers in reverse? Thankfully not. Chapell's idea of praying backwards is a sound one, though.

He makes the point well in the introduction. 'How would your prayer change if you began where you ended?... We are supposed to be saying that everything we prayed for was offered "in Jesus' name" - for his honour and purposes... Yet that's not always the way we pray. Often we focus on asking God to ease our worries and satisfy our wants before adding "in Jesus' name" as an obligatory spiritual seasoning to make our petitions palatable to God.'

It's a great idea, making a really important point about how we pray. The rest of the book unpacks the idea, showing what it will look like to pray in Jesus' name, with his priorities and purposes. It will be modelled on Jesus' prayer life, seeking the Father's will, not our own (in a helpful look at the Lord's Prayer); trusting our good Father without doubting; finding in the Spirit power beyond our own power; praying expectantly and persistently, never giving up; with discernment as to what to pray for within the fences of what is righteous and what is prudent.

There is plenty in the book to take away, with some helpful reminders of the privilege of prayer, and some practical helpers to actually get praying or keep praying. As in Chapell's other books there are loads of illustrations, mostly gathered from his own experience (paddle and pray being my favourite one!), and the teaching comes across warm and friendly. However, there were a few times that it seemed to drag on a little more than necessary, and in places it seemed a bit repetitive.

On the whole, this is a good book to get a hold of to learn more about prayer, and to actually get praying. The new Christian will find it accessible and encouraging, but it will also be useful for the older Christian. Once you grasp the image he portrays of praying backwards, it really does affect your prayer life in a positive way.

Praying Backwards by Bryan Chapell is available for Kindle.

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