What does an avid reader do during months of isolation and social distancing? Read, of course, but read even more than normal! As I was looking for books to read, I asked myself two questions: What did God want me to focus on during this season? How did He want me to grow spiritually?
Among other things, I sensed the Lord wanted me to focus more time on prayer. Prayer is such an important part of our relationship with our heavenly Father, but I often wonder if my prayers are just bouncing off the ceiling. When God seems silent, I sometimes wonder if the time spent in prayer is worth it. But I know that I make time for the things I really value, and it was time to make prayer a priority during this season of unknowns and uncertainty.
One great book that I picked up is how to pray: a simple guide for normal people by pete greig, and yes, it was all in lowercase on the cover. I absolutely loved this book, and it helped enhance my prayer life so much during this season. Pete Greig is a legend among those who read, study, and pray. He cofounded the 24-7 Prayer movement. In this book, he uses a great model on how to P.R.A.Y.—pause, rejoice, ask, yield.
By focusing on this acronym and the Lord’s model prayer in Matthew 6:9-13, the reader is drawn into a simple way to pray.
- Pause: we must stop to pray and move forward. It is the first step to a deeper prayer life.
- Rejoice: once we are still and focused on God, we can’t help but respond to His presence with worship and rejoicing.
- Ask: in its simplest form, prayer means asking God for help.
- Yield: surrender. As we yield to God, we empty ourselves to be filled with Him.
We often make prayer harder than it has to be. And that is what this book is all about: allowing prayer to become your soul’s native language as you mature in your relationship with God. The book includes examples of heroes of prayer from around the world at the end of each chapter. Their stories are inspiring and remind the reader of the simplicity of practicing the presence of God and remembering His mercy, forgiveness, and love.
Prayer brings us peace, refreshes our souls, satisfies our spiritual hunger, and assures us of forgiveness. Prayer changes us.
Several quotes from the book are great reminders to me of the privilege of prayer—being able to communicate with God:
“… our primary privilege as God’s children is to ask audaciously and repeatedly for everything we need, expecting him to answer, naturally or supernaturally.”1
“When you pray about the small things in life, you get to live with greater gratitude.”2
“The one who numbers every hair on our heads and stores every tear that we cry also remembers every prayer that we pray.”3
As I said, I loved this book. It was a book that I needed for this time and season of life. Throughout history, whenever God was about to do a new thing, He first mobilized people to pray. What happens next in our current circumstances is anyone’s guess. But I believe that prayer and seeking to draw closer to God will help us be more prepared for what is to come.
Michelle Hicks is the managing editor for Journey devotional magazine with Lifeway Women. Michelle served as a freelance writer, campus minister, and corporate chaplain before coming to Lifeway. She is a graduate of the University of North Texas and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Michelle has a deep hunger for God’s Word and wants others to discover the abundant life they can have with Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
1. Pete Greig, How to Pray (Colorado Springs: NavPress, 2019), 80.
2. Ibid., 75.
3. Ibid., 215.