(NOTE: For any of those wondering where the next For a Few Credits More review is, worry not. I simply review things in the order that I finished them, and this was next on the list.  It looks like I’ll review the next story in that anthology in two weeks.)

Alone with GodI read this book because I truly feel MacArthur’s expository writing from Biblical principles is fantastic. He has a great way of breaking things down and helping one understand the context and meaning. So I expect to be reading whatever work of his I can get my hands on as time passes.

I chose this particular book because prayer had helped me a lot, but there were times when I felt like I was doing it wrong.

I don’t want to imply there’s a “wrong” way to pray. So I suppose the explanation is that sometimes my prayers (mostly when I’m trying to turn from sin) weren’t…well..working. Sin is absolutely my fault.  Scripture tells us that when we do sin it’s by our choice (1 Corinthians 10:13). I have a better understanding of The Armor of God, and so I’m more equipped to stand strong. But in this sort of new stage of development, I saw a lack in my prayer.

While this explains my reasoning, I feel it’s important to note that reasoning might have been flawed or misguided.

What I learned however was so valuable I’ve actually read this book twice.  Why? Well, these books are resources. I’ve read a few of his books twice, and might read a few more that way. Especially if I feel like I’m slipping or not taking away as much as I should.

This book covers some main points I’d like to recommend in the hopes that if you see challenges in your prayer life, the points I mention will guide you to the resource to receive MacArthur’s full (and wonderful) explanations.

John-MacArthur-Primary-2One must have a mindset of prayer: In previous blogs, I’d mentioned how I find myself praying far more than I used to. Turns out, I’m still not praying enough. I’m working to develop this trait, but if that talking point seems unreasonable, (I mean, when I first thought about it, I was like, ‘I can’t just get on my knees and pray all day every day.’) don’t worry, there’s an explanation on what this really means and how prayer functions.

The pattern of prayer: I’m a huge fan of the Lord’s prayer. There are some who feel it shouldn’t be recited at all, and I respectfully disagree. However, MacArthur’s explanation on how the Lord’s prayer works has helped me adapt my nightly prayers (and even some of those more random prayers) into the format our savior, Jesus Christ, used (Matthew 6:9-13).

What this has done is exactly what I hoped. It’s made my prayer life feel (if not actually be) more effective. It also helps me organize my prayers. Oh, there are things I truly in my heart desire. I need renters for my condo. I need my fiancee and I to be strong (or just flat out well behaved) before the marriage. And because I’m a selfish jerk, I tend to think about myself first, but that’s not how Jesus did it (at least not all the time). I don’t recite the Lord’s prayer every night like I used to, or do I? Instead, I use the Lord’s prayer as a template for the praises and supplications I have.

Does it work? I’ve thought about actually tracking it. I have a scientific mind, and frankly the evidence for a strong, corporate prayer life is staggering just in my passive observations. However, God doesn’t need a salesman, and I feel providing numeric data would seem inappropriate. It might not be, but I’m choosing to error on the side of caution. I simply state in faith that the things for which I’ve prayed in the last few years have happened at such an alarming rate. No, things didn’t work out like I’d hoped with my mom. But we can’t get lost in tracking it that way. Also, just because a thing didn’t work out how you wanted doesn’t mean it doesn’t work out for one’s good. (Indeed, all things that happen are for our (those that love God and called according to his purpose) good (Romans 8:28). While some things didn’t work out. Some, frankly miraculous, things have happened with prayer. (Did I mention I’m engaged to a wonderful woman and her three boys?) It’s truly staggering. And it’s only improved with the proper pattern and respect for prayer.

MacArthur’s book doesn’t actually tell you “pray this way.” What it does do is provide context and understanding to what payer is and why we do it. It then provides expository knowledge on how Jesus prayed.

If you’re praying, and you’re thinking, “this isn’t working.” Give this book a try.  See if it helps you.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

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