There seems to be no end of making books. I’m a lover of books, so my desk at the office and at home are piled high with some great-looking books. Some are academic. Others are biographical and fiction, and some are religious devotional volumes.
Sometimes a book catches my eye because I know the author, or because of a recommendation by a friend or colleague. Those tend to float to the top of my stacks. One I received recently pricked my interest because it shares a similar title to a book I received from the estate of one of my mentors.
The original work was Talk Less and Pray More (a treatise on the practice of prayer) by Matthew Skariah. The foreword was written by internationally known revivalist Leonard Ravenhill. A great read from my older stacks.
My friend Gary Miller recently authored a wonderful work titled Talk Less Pray More: Through the Prayers of Jesus. Gary believes that the vitality of a body of believers is sustained by believing prayer, and that no program for a church can supplant God’s people praying personally and corporately.
Except for a reference given in chapter 34, each short chapter unpacks the context of a prayer of Jesus found in the synoptic Gospels. As you might imagine, the bulk of the chapters are from John 17, which is Jesus’ prayer for His followers.
For Gary Miller, authentic, biblical praying is not spiritual whining, a laundry list of wants, or an organ recital. Speaking of believing prayer, Miller writes, “Faith is not figuring out what man can do and financing it as cheap as possible. Faith is facing an impossible crisis and probable failure with a calm and confidence in God to perform the improbable and to provide the HIMpossible” (p. 63).
In the context of Jesus praying in John 11:41-42, Miller wrote, “Believing prayer is one of the greatest gifts Jesus offered to His followers. This kind of prayer is deeply relational and completely conversational. It is as real as the breath in a person’s lungs, and when it is repeated with the same kind of gentle regularity the answers flow, as trust in the Father grows each fresh believing prayer” (p. 75).
I love how Gary uses a simple technique to end each chapter. After unpacking his teaching on prayer from the biblical text, he always has this section called, “Note to Self.” I first thought his technique to be whimsical until I realized that it is his way of making personal application to the truth he just shared about “effectual” praying. Maybe we all need to make some notes to self about the transformational truths of Scripture.
In and of itself, the mantra, “Talk Less Pray More,” would be a sufficient word of encouragement. However, Miller knows that our humanistic, self-sufficient flesh must surrender to the Lord of all things. And such flesh dies hard, especially if we are accustomed to saying “prayers” to prop up the expectations of our religiosity. If we are to gain an audience before the Father through the completed work of the Lord Jesus, we must die to our old flesh and make fresh surrender of our lives to the Lord’s agenda rather than our own. This may mean less verbalization and more tears in the solitary place of prayer.
Access to Gary Miller’s Talk Less Pray More is available at www.talklesspraymore.com.
Matthew Skariah’s Talk Less and Pray More information is available at www.worldprayerband.com.
Other books to read this summer
In recent days, I have acquired and read the two new books by Rob Phillips: The Last Apologist (an apologetic study of Jude) and What Everyone Should Know About the Afterlife (a biblical view of what lies beyond the grave). The MBC is glad to make those available to people for study in their local churches at a very nominal cost.
I also loved reading the evangelism book by SBC president Steve Gaines, Share Jesus Like It Matters, published by Auxano press. This small volume reminds every disciple of the vital role God intends for us to play in leading men and women, students and children to faith in Christ.
Then, if they sold books by the pound, the winner would be Broadman & Holman’s The Lost Sermons of C.H. Spurgeon by Christian T. George. As a preacher, you cannot begin to image how much fun it is to see the picture of the actual sermon outline Spurgeon used on one page, and then across the page a clear print out of the message. Then, the book gives a notated outline of historical and pertinent facts relating to the particular sermon. There are 76 sermons in the volume, and I am still walking through the depth of some of his messages.
There are a host of good reads for the summer. Take some time to read. Encourage your students, challenge the people in your house and in your sphere of influence, to read this summer. If they cannot read, help them learn or read to them. Start with the Scriptures.