“Prayer is the way that the life of God in us is nourished.” Oswald Chambers
One of my reading resolutions is to read for Christian growth. I agree with the above Chambers quote and I think that we should constantly seek to improve our prayer lives buy whatever means possible.
The best way to improve our prayer lives should be obvious: praying. Reading great books is another way to improve your prayer life as well. The books below will encourage and equip you to develop a prayer life conformed to the Word and the heart of God.
1. Encouraged to Pray: Classic Sermons on Prayer by Charles Spurgeon
A pep talk for your soul by one of history’s great preachers
Let’s face it: we all need encouragement to pray. So many things can impede our pursuit of God through prayer that we feel like giving up. In Encouraged to Pray, Charles Haddon Spurgeon’s faithful expositions of Scripture will provide the push and traction you need to move forward in joyful and effective prayer.
Here is a glimpse into the Scriptural encouragement Spurgeon offers: “A mother can translate baby-talk: she comprehends incomprehensible noises. Even so doth our Father in heaven know all about our poor baby talk, for our prayer is not much better.”
Buy the paperback or Kindle edition on Amazon.
You may also be interested in the Spurgeon book Lessons from the Apostle Paul’s Prayers.
2. Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God by Timothy Keller
The Most Comprehensive Pick
The New York Times bestselling author and renowned pastor explores the power of prayer.
Christians are taught in their churches and schools that prayer is the most powerful way to experience God. But few receive instruction or guidance in how to make prayer genuinely meaningful. In Prayer, renowned pastor Timothy Keller delves into the many facets of this everyday act.
With his trademark insights and energy, Keller offers biblical guidance as well as specific prayers for certain situations, such as dealing with grief, loss, love, and forgiveness. He discusses ways to make prayers more personal and powerful, and how to establish a practice of prayer that works for each reader.
3. Praying with Paul: A Call to Spiritual Reformation by D.A. Carson
Find a Great Prayer Mentor in Paul
God doesn’t demand hectic church programs and frenetic schedules; he only wants his people to know him more intimately, says D. A. Carson. The apostle Paul found that spiritual closeness in his own fellowship with the Father. Praying with Paul investigates the Epistles to see what lessons Paul taught in his “school of prayer.”
Christians today can still achieve the confidence Paul enjoyed by following his life-shaping principles and searching for a deeper devotional experience.
Learn Prayer from a Seasoned Pray-er
Bounds’ writing came out of experience and the depths of his own desire to ‘pray without ceasing.’ Here’s a short description from The Necessity of Prayer:
Bounds did not merely pray well that he might write well about prayer. He prayed because the needs of the world were upon him…He wrote transcendently about prayer, because he was himself, transcendent in its practice.
5. A Simple Way to Pray by Martin Luther
A Short Classic from Church History
When asked by his barber and good friend, Peter Beskendorf, for some practical guidance on how to prepare oneself for prayer, Martin Luther responded by writing this brief treatise first published in 1535. A Simple Way to Pray is a fresh modern translation bringing us Luther’s practical instruction, using Luther’s I.T.C.P. method of prayer. This method anchors prayer in the catechism or other biblical texts, but allows the Holy Spirit to prompt thoughts via the Word, which may be chased more freely by the mind at prayer.
6. The Hidden Life of Prayer by David MacIntyre
A favorite of Wayne Grudem and John Piper
Private or secret prayer is the life-blood of the Christian. The great men and women of God down through the ages have testified to the effectiveness of this in their lives. Some like Martin Luther, have said that they could not survive a busy day without spending 2-3 hours alone with God. Drawing on the experiences of people like Luther, Spurgeon, Muller, Whitefield and Wesley, the author presses the case for a greater commitment to prayer. His advice may not only transform your life, it could be a catalyst towards a change in the world around you.
7. A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World by Paul E.Miller
Author Paul Miller shares his insights and conclusions about how to connect the broken pieces of your life and allow prayer—even poorly delivered—to fill the gaps with meaning and substance.
Miller’s down-to-earth approach and practical nature will help you see that your relationship with God can grow and your communication with Him can get better.
Parents will find Miller’s family-life experiences especially helpful.
8. Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions compiled by Arthur Bennett
Timeless Prayers to Jump Start Your Prayer Life (and a personal favorite)
The strength of Puritan character and life lay in prayer and meditation. In this practice the spirit of prayer was regarded as of first importance and the best form of prayer, for living prayer is the characteristic of genuine spirituality. Yet prayer is also vocal and may therefore on occasions be written. Consequently in the Puritan tradition there are many written prayers and meditations which constitute an important corpus of inspiring devotional literature. Too often ex tempore prayer lacks variety, order and definiteness. The reason for this lies partly in a neglect of due preparation. It is here that the care and scriptural thoroughness which others found necessary in their approach to God may be of help. This book has been prepared not to ‘supply’ prayers but to prompt and encourage the Christian as he treads the path on which others have gone before.
9. Everyday Prayers: 365 Days to A Gospel-Centered Faith by Scotty Smith
Rich and Biblical Prayers for the 21st Century
How would life be different if we could think, see, and do all things in light of the person and work of Jesus? With this inspiring collection of 365 Scripture-centered prayers, Scotty Smith helps readers pray the Scriptures through the lens of the gospel, mining the resources of God’s grace and applying them in every season of life. He frees readers to abandon any posing or pretending in favor of an honest, no-spin relationship with a God who claims them as his own. Each day includes a Scripture reference and an inspirational original prayer, born from both moments of great faith and moments of crisis. Like a modern-day book of Psalms, Everyday Prayers is a year’s worth of growing in grace that readers will lean on year after year.
10. Face to Face: Praying the Scriptures for Spiritual Growth by Ken Boa
Praying God’s Words Back to Him
When you’re serious about following Christ, you long to become more like Him. You also know that the Bible contains the life-changing truths that will help you reach that goal. Face to Face: Praying the Scriptures for Spiritual Growth helps you turn your devotional times into a daily experience of transformation. Adapting and personalizing select Bible passages, Dr. Kenneth Boa offers you a refreshing and encouraging way to “renew your mind” as you meditate on and pray about: the attributes of God, the works of God, my relationship with God, the character I want to cultivate, my relationship with others. This inspiring approach will change both your life and the way you view the Scriptures.
Buy on Amazon.
BONUS: A Call to Prayer by J.C. Ryle
A Short Booklet that Packs a Punch
J.C. Ryle was well known for his warm, plain-spoken candor, the kind which appeals to all souls regardless of rank or title, and this booklet is no different. Bold, encouraging, and affectionate, A Call to Prayer is just as the title says—an earnest invitation for all children of God to come before Him in prayer. Read it, be edified, and have hope: you have access to the Maker of heaven and earth who can do all things.
Bonus: The Chief Exercise of Faith: John Calvin on Prayer (Kindle Edition)
John Calvin’s work on prayer from The Institutes of Christian Religion has nourished souls and sparked a greater desire in prayer for almost 500 years.
His hallmark chapter on prayer is now available as a stand-alone Kindle book, making rich theology more accessible and affordable for those who might not otherwise stumble across it.
Readers of The Chief Exercise of Faith: John Calvin on Prayer will cover a wide scope of what prayer is and how to pray.
• Why prayer is the chief exercise of faith
• What it means to praying in Jesus’ name
• Calvin’s Four Rules for Prayer
• Exposit each of the six petitions of the Lord’s Prayer
• And more.
“So true is it that we dig up by prayer the treasures that were pointed out by the Lord’s gospel, and which our faith has gazed upon.” (John Calvin)
Related Resource: 100+ Recommended Books for Christian Readers