“Alone with God”, John MacArthur

107334lgSometimes we can spend too much time reading about prayer rather than doing it. However, this shortish book (180+ pages) is a great resource for aligning our focus.

Too often our prayer can be too needs-based, ie, it’s all about us. Whilst in taking us through The Lord’s Prayer and then Paul’s priorities in prayer, MacArthur provides a challenge to allow prayer to be more God focused. Most of the book walks through MacArthur’s reflections on the Lord’s Prayer. I’ve been using The Lord’s Prayer a lot recently, so I found this a good reminder of Jesus’ intentions when reciting this prayer.

However, it’s the last two chapters that spoke to me the most. MacArthur moves from Jesus to Paul’s prayer life to outline what Paul prioritised in His prayers. He highlights two key priorities:

1. “That we would be worthy of our calling.” I’d never noticed that Paul exhorts each of the Epistle churches with this command. Rather than being needs based (God has promised to look after these re: birds of the air, flowers of the fields in the Gospels) Paul emphasises a focus on our spiritual health (and our brothers and sisters). As we are growing holy, God’s light will shine through us, enabling us to serve.

2. Pray for the lost. “Evangelism begins with prayer”. As a church we often feel compelled to make a noise about issues we don’t agree with and effectively can become a disruptive element. MacArthur suggests by reference to Paul’s letters we live a quiet life committed to praying for those who don’t belief. Particularly, for those we disagree with and the leaders of our nations that we may struggle with. Our weapons are “divinely powerful”. We can achieve little, but God can achieve much, so long as we are praying.

I’d recommend this book for anyone seeking refreshment in their prayer life. I know it has adjusted mine.

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