How is your prayer life? How is your CU’s prayer life?
In Enjoy your Prayer Life, Michael Reeves challenges us to take a long hard look at our attitude towards prayer, which, by quoting John Calvin, he claims is “the chief exercise of our faith”. The book is short, 48 pages in length, and very practical. It is convicting, humbling, and incredibly encouraging. With each chapter, Reeves assesses different aspects of our prayer life, but most importantly brings us to the “chief pray–er” – Jesus Christ – to show us how we should pray.
I found this book incredibly challenging. Reeves begins the book in a very blunt manner, by asserting that most of us are not very good at prayer. It is by no means a guilt trip, however. In fact, Reeves is very honest in also admitting failure in this area of his life – “speaking as one failure to another”.
Writing about such a huge topic in only 48 pages is not an easy task. It is brilliant, though, as Reeves doesn’t beat around the bush. He gets right to the heart of the matter, challenging us not to think of prayer as a ‘Christian thing to do’, but rather as deep, intimate communion with God. The book therefore also serves as a powerful wake–up call. I found this particularly in the third chapter:
“Your prayer life reveals how much you really want communion with God and how much you really depend on him”.
Reeves is reassuring on the one hand, by telling us that our prayer life does not threaten our salvation, but convicting on the other hand, by telling us that our prayer life does tell us how much we actually love the Lord.
The book explores prayer in light of the trinity from chapter six on – how we pray to God the Father, through the Son, with the help of the Holy Spirit. In chapter six we read about how Jesus prayed – in joy, in anguish, in sorrow, even when making major decisions. Not only do these theologically deep chapters remind us of the sheer beauty of the Trinity, they also help us by giving practical advice in how to pray.
How do you, personally, treat prayer? Do you do it first thing in the morning to get it our of the way, or do you do it last thing at night because your day was just too busy? Let this book challenge you, and provoke you to incorporate prayer into every part of your day. The book doesn’t condemn us, and it doesn’t promise to make our prayers 95% more effective. It does, however, lift our eyes off of ourselves, and up towards our Creator. This book will get you excited for prayer! Furthermore, it will remind you of what is at the heart of prayer – needy, sinful, dependent children coming before their eternal Father, who loves them and loves to listen.
How about your CU – how does your CU treat prayer? Are your prayer meetings just one of many things you need to organise during the busy college week, or do they serve as spiritual fuel for your week ahead? Is there a real prayer culture in your CU? Let this book challenge you, and let it renew your vision of prayer, in only 48 pages. Allow this book to shape how your CU prays. Allow it to give you a real appetite, a real hunger for more prayer in your CU! As Reeves says: “When friends decide to pray sincerely together, perhaps spontaneously, through it you often get to sense an extraordinary, familial closeness with each other.”
Andrew Wood–Martin studies European Studies at Trinity College Dublin and can always be found trying to perfect a mug of coffee.
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