All of Christendom prays, but the methods and conceptions of prayer differ widely. Recent books on prayer can be separated first into the categories of Protestant and Roman Catholic and then subdivided. In this survey we will first look at a representative book in each camp, Protestant and Catholic: Harold Lindsell’s When You Pray (reprint by Baker, 182 pp., $2.95 pb), and Bernard Häring’s Prayer: The Integration of Faith and Life (Fides, 145 pp., n.p.). Lindsell is the editor of CHRISTIANITY TODAY, and Häring is a professor at the Academia Alfonsiana in Rome.) Then we will consider other books in subdivisions of each camp.
I. The Protestant Books
Lindsell’s approach in When You Pray is, he says, “explanatory, not apologetical; it is didactic, not hortatory.” He demonstrates the faith stance of prayer. But prayer is also work: “It demands of men all that they are and have.” The reader is invited to consider the laws and problems of prayer and the things that hinder it. The chapter on hindrances is one of the best; among the fourteen that are discussed, every serious reader will find clues to what bedevils his prayer life. The book ends with a chapter of outstanding illustrations of answered prayer. Actually, the entire book is a treasure trove of illustrations from the lives of illustrious evangelicals of yore: Matthew Henry, G. Campbell Morgan, E. M. Bounds, Robert Speer, George Whitefield, Charles Spurgeon, Hudson Taylor, and many more. No new seas are crossed in this book, but deep waters are stirred.
The books on the Protestant side may be generally divided into three approaches: evangelical, traditional churchly, and charismatic.
A. Evangelical. Cecil Murphey, the pastor of Riverdale Presbyterian Church in Georgia, is the ...1
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