Regular or historic readers of this blog will know that I’m fascinated by prayer, and though my own prayer life often lags behind my intent, I am keen to develop it, and find books helpful for giving me a kickstart. Alistair Begg’s new little book on prayer, Pray Big: Learn to Pray Like an Apostle, is the most recent one of these that I have found helpful. Published by the Good Book Company (who kindly gave me a review copy) this is a short book on prayer that takes lessons and reflections from the prayers of Paul to the church in Ephesus.
This is a practical and prayerful book. Practical, in that it is realistic about the difficulties of life (like disappointment, doubt and suffering) and also designed to connect the teaching of the bible to what we actually do in our life. This is also a book clearly drenched in prayer. At the end of each (short, so could be read as part of a quiet time or at the start of a prayer meeting) chapter, Begg offers a prayer based on the content of the chapter, all of which are beautifully written and I appreciated praying. Also, Begg has clearly prayed over this book’s process, and part of this is evidenced by the weight he gives to the prayers of Scripture, and also the prayers of saints who have gone before.
Echoing the authors ministry and eduction, this is also a richly theological book. Begg continually points our eyes to Jesus, as Paul does in his letters, reminding us of all that we have in him. This flows out from the truth to the practical pointers – Begg invites us to consider praying for five things on a daily basis:
1. Pray for focus
2. Pray for hope
3. Pray for riches
4. Pray for power
5. Pray for love
He unpacks the authentically biblical meaning of each of these in subsequent chapters.
This is a short review of a short book that is generally a very helpful primer on practicing, understanding and improving our prayer life. I had a few minor quibbles – such as a possible denigration of our embodiment at one point, and some occasional digs at culture that didn’t fit with the otherwise winsome and gracious tone of Begg’s writing – but that should not detract from the main thrust of this book. Pray Big is a practical, prayerful and rich little book. I would recommend it to all Christians who are thinking about their prayer life – whether you are just starting out, or have been at it for years.