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Culture Books

Four books on prayer


Four books on prayer

How Should We Pray at Prayer Meetings?

Ryan M. McGraw

Seek first the kingdom and righteousness of God, even at prayer meetings—or rather, especially at prayer meetings. This principle grounds all the advice McGraw dispenses in this diagnostic manual for corporate prayer. How can congregations avoid “organ recitals,” gossip, and too much information? By praying for everything in light of God’s name, kingdom, and will. Pray “we” prayers, because “corporate prayer assumes agreement among those who pray.” Shun Biblical exposition and over-repetition of the same requests. Include children and the disabled. And above all, seek the glory of the Father through the Spirit’s work spreading the good news of Jesus.

Dirty Glory: Go Where Your Best Prayers Take You 

Pete Greig

Our God is amazing. That’s Greig’s message as he recounts story after story of stupefying, miraculous answers to prayer across continents. Virtually every amazing answer happened directly to him or to one of his close friends. All of them were verified by multiple eyewitnesses, many of whom the author names. From the Isle of Lewis revival in the 1950s to the ongoing spread of the gospel in a Mexican red-light district, you will constantly say “no way” as you read this book. Is Greig exaggerating? I don’t think so, because this is how our amazing God answers kingdom prayers.

Talking with God: What to Say When You Don’t Know How to Pray 

Adam Weber

Talking with God is a breezy, chatty, sometimes embarrassingly personal conversation about prayer. If you like your prayers stodgy, South Dakota pastor Adam Weber may not be the guide for you. He reminds readers to whom prayer talks (God Almighty), how to pray (keep it short, simple, and honest), and when prayer is needed (in suffering, when trying to extend grace, when you’ve sinned, and when you need God to take over). If you secretly want to know what prayer is and how to pray even when you “live in Crazytown,” this book is a very unassuming guide.

Every Season Prayers: Gospel-Centered Prayers for the Whole of Life 

Scotty Smith

It’s not the Book of Common Prayer, but for those looking for words to express what they’re trying to say to God, Tennessee pastor Scotty Smith’s 330-plus pages of prayers show how to pray Scripture—and suggest prayers for specific occasions. Some readers may find lines like “when I do the mercy math” slightly cheesy, but Smith tackles tough topics too. The “prayers of a spouse betrayed by sexual sin” are devastating—and comforting. Throughout, Smith reorients readers toward the kindness, love, and sufficiency of God in Christ, teaching those who pray these prayers to seek God’s kingdom first.


Deborah Barr (Handout)


In Grace for the Unexpected Journey: A 60-Day Devotional for Alzheimer’s and Other Dementia Caregivers, Deborah Barr (Moody, 2018) offers practical and wise counsel that combines Scripture snippets and short readings. She addresses practical problems and temptations—worry, fear, grief, exhaustion, sadness—facing those who care for loved ones with dementia.

In Oswald Chambers: A Life in Pictures (Discovery House, 2017), Paul Kent offers an admiring biography of Oswald Chambers accompanied by portraits, sketches, and photos that complement the text. Chambers considered pursuing art, but an encounter with the Holy Spirit changed the course of his life. His teaching and preaching career took him back and forth between Scotland, the United States, and Japan. On one of those voyages he met Biddy, who later became his wife. Trained as a stenographer, she used her skills to transcribe the talks he gave to British soldiers in Egypt during WWI. After his death in 1917, she compiled those talks into My Utmost for His Highest. —Susan Olasky