Thursday, January 24, 2013

Book Review: Prayer: A Biblical Perspective

Title:  Prayer: A Biblical Perspective

Author:  Eric J. Alexander

First Copyright:  2012

Type of Book:  Paperback

General Subject Matter:  Christian Living

Special Features:  None

Price:  $12.00

ISBN:  978-1-84871-149-5

The author’s purpose in writing this book was to remind Christians that prayer is a fundamental part of their Christian experience rather than being merely supplemental. Alexander believes that this truth is imperative to both the closet (personal) and corporate prayer “life” of individuals and organizations. Alexander’s purpose includes demonstrating that this vital dependence on prayer is exemplified in both the life of Christ and in the early church.

The theme of Prayer: A Biblical Perspective is the necessity of prayer. Alexander’s thesis states that prayer is a foundational necessity rather than just an added component to the Christian life.

Alexander develops his thesis using the technique of persuasion as he argues to establish the veracity of his thesis. Alexander’s purpose is to persuade the reader in to believing that necessity of prayer which leads to the believer incorporating prayer into the believer’s daily life.

I found Prayer: A Biblical Perspective to be very interesting. Alexander writes from a pastor’s perspective.  His argumentation is orderly, precise, and takes a sermonic form. Alexander was very objective in his argumentation. He rarely if ever fell back on personal or subjective feelings to prove a point. Alexander utilizes many scriptures in order to provide authenticity and authority to his points. This book is of great importance to the Christian experience as it provides a number of explanations regarding prayer.

The main argument of Alexander is absolutely true. Prayer is very foundational in a believer’s daily life. It is not something that can be “tacked on” or added as some “supplement” called upon if and when needed. I agree with Alexander in both his thesis and argumentation that prayer is vital and that it is not something than is expendable.

God has designed the Christian experience to include the absolute submission of a believer to Himself. There is no place where submission is more necessary and visible than prayer.

Alexander raises the issue that prayerlessness is quite possibly an indicator that there is a definite problem, if not a lack of relationship between a so called believer and God. A “believer” who does not pray may not be a believer at all. Alexander raises the issue via the experiences of Old Testament believers who “longed for,” “thirsted,” and or “craved” the presence of God through prayer. He strongly suggests that individuals who are prayer less need to “check” their relationship with God at worst and at the very least need to ask God to provide them with a hunger and thirst for God. Alexander believes that prayerlessness can be traced to a lack of desire for God.

Alexander strengthens his thesis by defining prayer. He goes on to provide a theological foundation from prayer. He continues to build on his thesis by exegeting the teachings of Jesus on prayer. Alexander utilizes examples of prayer from the life of Jesus and the Apostle Paul. Alexander drives home his point by addressing the issue of “thirsting after God.”  In addition Alexander provides solid information on the ministry of the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer in regards to prayer. He concludes with what he calls “common difficulties” regarding prayer.

Alexander has valid credentials to sustain both his thesis and argument. He has served as pastor for over fifty (50) years in the Church of Scotland. He has preached and/or taught at a number of conferences in the United Kingdom and United States. He is also the author of Our Great God and Savior.

Prayer: A Biblical Perspective is laid out well. It is easy to read. It contains just ninety-one (91) pages. The type is clear, bold and easy to read. There are no photographs, maps, or pictorial illustrations.

There is no index nor end notes in this book. Alexander does make use of footnotes. There is no bibliography.

In summary, the content of the book is not new or earth-shattering. The content is straight from the bible and a pastor’s heart. The content is valuable, pertinent, and of extreme importance to a believer. Alexander’s arrangement and passion drives the material home with sharp accuracy. This is a must read for every believer.

It is however, not just a must read. Great reflection must be taken by the reader who may find themselves unable or unwilling to pray. My conclusions include the realization that a child will communicate with his or her parent. In other words, a true believer will pray. A true believer will develop communication with their parent, their heavenly Father.

The author’s summary or conclusion is very pastoral and passionate. He pleads with his readers to see the necessity of a praying people. He pleads, “May the church of Jesus Christ in our generation learn in depth how inseparable are prayer and preaching, and put what we learn into action.”

I received no compensation for this book, other than a free copy. The opinions expressed are solely that of the reviewer and do not necessarily reflect those of the author or publisher. I was not required to give a positive review.


Anonymous said...

A most comforting read Gregg.

Have a grand day.

Eddie Eddings said...

Gregg, do you have a favorite book on prayer?

Gregg Metcalf said...

Yes, I think it would be an old reprint of an A. W. Pink book called Gleanings from Paul. I just started Brian Chapel's Praying Backwards and I like the first two chapters (which really serve as an introduction to prayer). I haven't finished it so I don't know how it will turn out and what his prescription and conclusion will be. Of course my all time favorite would be the prayer devotional book edited by Arthur Bennett, The Valley of Vision.