“Familiarity breeds contempt.” Most Christians are familiar with The Lord’s Prayer. While this familiarity may not breed contempt, it probably breeds complacency. R.C. Sproul’s book, The Prayer of the Lord, presents this familiar prayer a model for the Christian to communicate with God. The reader will be left with neither contempt nor complacency. Instead the reader will be spurred to pray and pray more intelligently and effectively.
Sproul is a noted theologian who has the ability to make deep theological truths accessible to every Christian. When I began reading this book, I did not put it down until I was finished. I was challenged to think deeply yet practically about my own prayer life.
Of all of the possibilities the disciples could have chosen, they asked Jesus to teach them to pray. Jesus honors their request by providing a model for them to pray.
As Sproul unpacks this prayer, he begins by discussing what we are to avoid in prayer. The first chapter warns against hypocrisy and pagan practices in our prayers.
In chapter 2 the focus is upon the one to whom we are praying. Sproul tackles the issues surrounding the fatherhood of God in a clear and helpful manner.
In chapters 3 through 5, Sproul unravels the three aspects of our prayers related to God. We should pray regarding God’s name, God’s kingdom and God’s will. Again, the author demonstrates an ability to wrestle with tough issues in a way that encourages to prayer more intelligently.
In chapters 6 through 8, we are taught to pray for our needs. We need God’s daily provision, his forgiveness and his protection.
Chapter 9 brings the prayer back to the beginning with our focus on God.
Sproul adds a final chapter to answer potential questions that the reader might have about prayer. He even includes an appendix to answer the question, “If God is sovereign, why pray?”
All that Sproul teaches can be summarized in how he answers the question of what rules are there in prayer.
There are really only two rules that you should have to keep in mind when you’re in prayer, two things that should drive and govern and control your prayer life with the Almighty. You should remember who is being addressed and who is doing the speaking. That is, the first thing you are to remember in prayer is who it is you’re talking to, because nothing will condition your prayer life more deeply than remembering that you’re in conversation with God, the sovereign Creator and Ruler of the universe. Second, you are to remember who you are. You are not God. You are a creature. So prayer is not a conversation between peers; it is not a fireside chat among equals. This is the creature speaking to the sovereign Creator.
I am confident that each reader that comes to this book with an eagerness to learn will have their prayer life enriched. You will also be challenged to think more clearly about some of the key theological truths. Deep but practical. Practical teaching is provided on the will of God, on forgiveness and on several other aspects of Christian living. This is one of the best books that I have read in some time.