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The Path of Prayer Paperback – March 22, 2016
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|Paperback, March 22, 2016||
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This book is a surpisingly good primer on prayer. Easy read but very insightful. What was surpising for me is chapter 15 and 16, where he admits that the problem of unanswered prayers, although he insists that God answers prayer, is something not yet fully resolved in his mind; for example,
Chadwick relates about one for whom he prayed for healing but they did not remained sick. He had "prayed earnestly and believingly" for a fellow minister at their church "who died while we prayed. The shock to our faith was overwhelming" (p.118). Don't get me wrong. This was not a discouraging book. It was very encouraging and it does inspire to prayer. It was refreshing to read an author writing on prayer to admit - for the first time in a book on prayer that I have read and without any apologies, attempts to skim over it with feeble excuses, or pointing blame - that unanswered prayer occurs and is personally perplexing. Nevertheless, he also affirms, "I do believe in divine healing" and does so "in spite of the fact that I am often ailing".
For that humble concession alone, the book is worth the read.
I can't recall a better examination of the topic of prayer, and exactly what it is and how to practice it. The approach is not the convential fuzzy and pious one, for as the author states, there ought to be another word that we can use for prayer, since misuse has given it such a negative connotation.
What is prayer? It is stated that it is a yearning of the heart arising from either suffering or love. Whenever we think strongly about a subject we are "praying." The process spelled out is Thought, Intention, and Surrender.
The book examines prayer across history and across cultures. She even brings in the findings of modern science (including the fact that our concentrated thoughts in the present appear to be able to reach back and influence the past....)
Perhaps the most valuable portion of the book deals with how NOT to pray. This can be summed up as: 1) no lip-service prayers (if you don't really MEAN what you are saying, or not concentrating on the meaning), 2) no show-off prayers (prayers to impress or shame others), 3) no harmful prayers (no calling down vengeance or harm on others), and 4) no prayers of worry or doubt (prayer should be positive- and in perfect faith.) I know that I have verified all of these principles in my own life over the years.
As a youth I used to think that prayer was a waste of time. Now I know that it is probably the most meaningful of human activities- all else is secondary to seeking connection to the Divine, however fleeting.
So in the sense of being obedient to our Lord’s direction, put this on top of your list and read it now.
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