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Praying Backwards: Transform Your Prayer Life by Beginning in Jesus' Name Paperback

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Baker Books (July 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801065275
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801065279
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #374,848 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The words "in Jesus' name, Amen"—traditionally used to close Christian prayer—take on significantly deeper meaning thanks to Chapell's newest book. The former pastor, now president of Covenant Theological Seminary, urges readers to use that routine phrase as the premise and basis for prayer rather than merely tacking it on at the end. Chapell offers a well-written, well-organized discussion of prayer based on Jesus' prayer life and biblical principles. The book is unusually rigorous and insightful. Chapell answers tough questions—Why bother to pray? Why does God want persistent prayer? How can we know God's will?—with sound, biblical answers. His metaphor of praying within the "fence posts" of righteousness and prudence along the road to God's will is especially apt. He also includes a thorough discussion of the role of the Holy Spirit, sometimes overlooked in other books on prayer. Finally, Chapell doesn't hesitate to admit that prayer, patience and understanding God's plan are difficult. He says that believers don't need to stop putting "in Jesus' name" at the end of prayer; they need to start putting God's priorities first. As he explains, "Praying in Jesus' name is not merely the postscript to a good prayer; it is the prelude to God's providing the best of all things for his loved ones." (July)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From the Back Cover

"In Jesus' Name, Amen."

Like the closing credits of a movie, these familiar words provide a signal that a prayer has come to an end. But what does it mean to offer our prayers in Jesus' name? Though we say the words, do we really mean them? And how would the content and character of our prayers change if we did?

Praying Backwards introduces believers to the transforming process of beginning our prayers in Jesus' name-not by moving a simple phrase, but by understanding and embracing the meaning behind the phrase. To truly pray in Jesus' name is to reorder our priorities in prayer-and in life-away from ourselves and toward Jesus and his kingdom. It is to pray, "Not my will, but your will be done." It is to pray boldly, expectantly, and persistently. If you want to revolutionize your prayer life, begin by Praying Backwards.

"Across the years I have learned so much from Bryan Chapell that I thought the laws of mathematics would keep me from learning much more. But it happened again!"-Calvin Miller, author; professor, Beeson Divinity School

"Finally, here is a book on prayer that puts the person of our Lord before the petitions on our lists."-Scotty Smith, senior pastor, Christ Community Church, Franklin, Tennessee

"With careful exposition of Scripture and helpful applications to daily life, Bryan Chapell encourages all of us to 'pray and not lose heart' (Luke 18:1)."-Jerry Bridges, author and speaker

More About the Author

Bryan Chapell (PhD, Southern Illinois University) is president and professor of practical theology at Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, where he has served in various capacities since 1984. In addition to his work at Covenant, Chapell is the author of numerous books, including Christ-Centered Preaching and Holiness by Grace.

Customer Reviews

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Some books you should read very slowly.
S. Grotzke
Preachers would do well to read this book if just for the example Chapell gives in how to find illustrations directly from your own life experiences.
I believe God answered my prayer through Bryan Chapell and his book Praying Backwards.
Tim Challies

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

79 of 80 people found the following review helpful By Tim Challies TOP 500 REVIEWER on June 25, 2005
Format: Paperback
Not too long ago I began to pray that God would teach me to pray. A bit of an odd request, is it not? Obviously I already knew something about prayer if I was praying about it in the first place, but my concern was that despite my prayer habits, which are sometimes good and sometimes bad, I have often felt that I just don't really understand what prayer is all about. When I pray I've often wondered just what the point is. I've often wished that I was better at praying and that maybe God would answer a few more of my prayers if I just learned to pray like a Spurgeon or another great preacher of days gone by whose words to God can still stir hearts even today.

I believe God answered my prayer through Bryan Chapell and his book Praying Backwards.

For many Christians, and especially those who were raised in households that emphasized prayer, the words "in Jesus name, amen!" are prayer mainstays. They close prayer and for most of us mean something along the lines of "well that's done, open your eyes!" or "I really mean it!" Chapell premises his book on taking "in Jesus name" and placing it at the beginning of the prayer (hence "praying backwards"). This was a lesson I learned a short time ago through a wonderful article written by Jim Elliff. He taught the same - that from the beginning of our prayers we need to emphasize that we are praying in the name of Jesus, and not coming before God with a view to our own sufficiency or merit. Even if we do not verbalize the words "in Jesus name" as we begin our prayers, we need to commit never to pray a prayer that we could not pray backwards. In other words, we need to test the motives of our hearts before we begin to pour out our petitions to the Lord and ensure that we are praying prayers that honor Him and not ourselves.
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Seeking Disciple VINE VOICE on December 17, 2005
Format: Paperback
When it comes to books on prayer there are basically three types. One is the book on prayer that brings conviction over our lack of prayer and helps us to see that God has promised in His Word to answer our cries but we must cry (see Leonard Ravenhill's WHY REVIVAL TARRIES or the works of E.M. Bounds). The second type of book is the teaching book on how to pray usually using the Lord's prayer from Matthew 6:5-15 (see Ronnie Floyd's HOW TO PRAY or ALONE WITH GOD by John MacArthur). The third type is a theological study of prayer such as THE SPIRIT HELPS US PRAY or this work by Bryan Chapell.

In this work Chapell takes the reader through a biblical study of what it means to pray in the name of Jesus. He teaches us that prayer should be for the glory of God (1 John 5:14-15). Prayer is not about asking God for stuff (or junk) but to bring glory to God. The Psalms are full of praises first to God ever before seeking His hand for things. Acknowleding God's greatness is a proper place to begin seeing the power of prayer. We often end our prayers with "in the name of Jesus" writes Chapell but we ought to begin our prayers by praying in the name of Jesus to help us see that our prayers should be for the glory of God alone. Thus praying backwards in our minds!

I found this work to be an excellent study of prayer. Chapell does a great job of staying true to His text. He doesn't give us personal experience after personal experience to teach us about prayer but he takes the Scriptures and opens our minds to the authority and power of the Word of God. Chapell offers sound doctrine (1 Timothy 4:16; Titus 2:1) about the sovereignty of God, His authority and power, and the promises He has given us in prayer.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Nailman on August 6, 2005
Format: Paperback
I recently finished Praying Backwards, by Bryan Chapell. The name sounds a bit odd, but it turns out it makes sense. Praying Backwards talks about how learning to pray "in Jesus' name", and making this concept central (even first!) in our prayer, can "transform your prayer life".

This book is really an excellent discussion of prayer, deals a lot with the theology of prayer, and gives a lot of practical help for how we ought to pray and what our attitude ought to be in prayer. One central point is that prayer is not primarily a way to get God to do what we want, yet God does still hear our requests. Prayer needs to always be offered "in Jesus' name", which doesn't necessarily mean that we say those words, but that we begin our prayer with that concept. In practice, that means that we need to be praying for the glory of God, and coming to God based on the work of Jesus Christ on our behalf. That includes his past work on the cross, but also his present intercessory work for us.

I'd been praying some recently that God would teach me how to pray more effectively, and I can say that this book has been a step in the right direction. Thankfully, I think I've been exposed to most of the concepts in here before (see the bottom of the review for a couple other good references for the topic), but this proved a much-needed reminder, and it is great to have all of this material in one thin, easy to read volume.

Overall, I recommend this book highly, but I do have one caveat: Don't read just part of the book, and don't pick and choose chapters. The whole book presents a balanced and thorough view of prayer, but I think some of the chapters don't quite give the whole picture on their own.
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