Books About Prayer
For many, prayer is mysterious and perhaps even frightening. How is it that one can speak to God? But there is no need to be nervous. You can just talk. Even better, you can find quite time and listen. The books listed here were written to make prayer more accessible, to clear away the underbrush, so to speak, that will keep you from starting.
Myrtle Blabey Neufeld was a missionary nurse. In Directed Paths, she tells stories of prayer and of God’s guidance and protection in her life. Hers is a practical, lived testimony.
Dr. David Moffett-Moore writes from a deep experience of prayer and of listening. This is an excellent first book to read if you are just starting to pray. It will help you get past the concerns about doing it wrong by helping you pray from the heart. His book Pathways to Prayer is designed to open the door.
In I Want to Pray!, Bible teacher Henry Neufeld and Pastor Perry Dalton write to open the doors to simple, basic prayer.
Probably the best known prayer in the Christian community is the Lord’s prayer. There’s a good reason! It was provided as the answer to the question: How should we pray? (The story is told from slightly different perspectives in Matthew and Luke. For a view of the prayer as part of the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew, see The Jesus Manifesto).
Energion Publications offers two books specifically on the Lord’s Prayer. Ultimate Allegiance: The Subversive Nature of the Lord’s Prayer is a broad discussion of the prayer and of how praying it can be both a theological and ethical challenge to each one of us. There’s a common saying, “Prayer changes things,” but this book looks primarily at how prayer changes us. For church or small group studies, there is a study guide as well.
One World takes a look at the prayer from the perspective of process theology. Author Bruce Epperly is a process theologian and pastor who specializes in presenting theological ideas clearly and practically. This book looks seriously at the prayer, and applies it to daily life, using open and relational views of theology. It’s short and to the point, part of our Topical Line Drives series.
The Psalms have provided the broadest and deepest source of both prayers and songs for Christian worship over the centuries. The Psalms vibrate with spiritual insight, honest reflection, and unfiltered expression. They resonate with a reality based on the experience of the psalmists and a long history of their use both in Judaism and in Christianity.
Energion authors look at the Psalms as a source both of knowledge and of worship, whether that worship is in song or in prayer.
Theology begins in the experience of the divine. Because it is so often done by those who are academically inclined, it can become dry, a catalog of facts rather than a living story. What better way to teach this than by the sharing of stories?
Directed Paths relates the stories of a life of prayer by its author, who was born in 1918 and lived into 2018. She served as a nurse in her native Canada, in the United States, and as a missionary in a number of other countries. These stories reflect that life of prayer, and provide a foundation for talking about how prayer impacts our lives.
Prayer Trilogy is Christian fiction. It is a three-part story connecting the lives of people through prayer. While the story is fictional, the experience draws on real-life experience. It provides an opportunity for relaxing, entertaining reading that is also spiritually uplifting.
Stories of the Way is a collection of short stories, written as modern parables designed to challenge our thinking on topics of theology and Christian living. Many center around prayer, and most have prayer as part of the background of other discussions.
Honest prayers are our conversations with God when we have difficulties, discouragement, or even disasters. Often we think God isn’t listening or we wonder why God acts as God does. These three books address the difficulties in different ways.
Why Doesn’t God Do Something? talks about those things we ask in prayer or observe in the world that don’t make sense. It would seem that an omnipotent God, even merely a great God, would take care of some of these problems. So why not? If you feel that God is inactive, this is the book for you!
In a very similar approach, Lord, I Keep Getting a Busy Signal discusses those times when you seem to be talking to yourself, or that your prayers aren’t making it through the ceiling. Why does it seem that God isn’t answering you? Has your phone-to-heaven been cut off?
Finally, Who’s Afraid of the Old Testament God? addresses two important questions: 1) Is God waiting to judge you if your prayer isn’t polite enough or if you’ve had some missteps in your life? 2) Can you pray honestly and reveal your feelings? The author, Alden Thompson, addresses the latter point in a chapter titled “What kind of prayers would you publish if you were God?” A number of insights in that chapter come from the Psalms.
What kind of lifestyles and other activities go with prayer? What kind of results should one expect? These three titles will help you go deeper.
The Ground of God looks at prayer and contemplation. Too often we go to God to get stuff or to rearrange events in our favor. Contemplative prayer is looking for transformation, an ongoing change that brings more into alignment with the Creator of the universe.
Life as Pilgrimage takes a look at Celtic spirituality both for spiritual disciplines and for ways to see our life as pilgrimage, always moving from where we are to somewhere we should be; toward God.
Angels, Mysteries, and Miracles looks at the question of whether God acts in the world, and what it means if God does. The subtitle is “A Progressive Vision,” but many pastors and teachers will want to look at this book simply to find the vocabulary to discuss prayer in a modern and postmodern world.
There are many ways to pray. There are many ways to think about prayer. Energion Publications offers books that will help you expand your horizons and grow closer to the Divine and to other people.