We all know the importance of a healthy prayer relationship with God. Unfortunately, too many believers struggle to maintain one because it feels like a chore, a duty that we must check off on a list of things to do to make God happy. John Onwuchekwa, the pastor of Cornerstone Church in Atlanta, tries to encourage believers, in his short book What If I Don’t Desire to Pray, who feel this way by suggesting we find a new attitude about prayer.
Crossway ($4.99) gave me a digital copy to review. I fired it up on my eBook reader and devoured it in just a couple of days. It took me about four hours over two reading session to breeze through the encouraging book.
The book comes as a part of a series from 9Marks called the Church Questions series. Take a look at those titles over at their site.
What If I Don’t Desire to Pray – Synopsis
The 7 sections takes us from the issue of prayer or a lack of desire to pray to the key to a meaningful prayer relationship. Onwucheckwa writes that the key to meaningful prayer comes from understanding that we get to relate to the Savior who rose from the grave.
Manny books on prayer focus on HOW to pray instead of the WHY we pray. Onwucheckwa’s book focuses on this motivation issue over the mechanical nuts and bolts of a prayer regimen. He doesn’t write as a giant or super hero prayer warrior but a fellow struggler facing the need in his own life.
The author moves through the solution, which is a proper attitude about prayer instead of seeking a proper regimen of prayer. He uses effective and interesting real-world analogies that bring into focus the ideas he presents.
Early on I reacted to the book’s solutions writing in the margin “seems simplistic”. However, as I kept reading I realized that’s the strength, not the problem. Prayer is simple! An effective prayer life is simple too. We make it too complicated looking for better routines or outlines. We want a magic programmatic solution with steps and keys and skills. However, we need Jesus!
We can find the source of a meaningful prayer life in two places – the word of God and the people of God. A focus on the words, actions and attitudes of Jesus can transform our attitude about prayer. Add a connection with fellow believers with the same focus and you can find a powerful impetus to a consistent prayer life.
Now I know what you’re going to say. “I just to read my bible more and go to church more? That’s too simplistic and burdensome.” Yes and no! We need those things, but instead, the author’s message tells us we can find our motivation in those two sources.
Jesus and the Gospel motivates us to pray. Then as we pray, we will further enjoy the motivation to dig deeper into the person and relationship that comes from a relationship with Jesus.
Seminary professors and scholars seeking to understand all the depths of what God says about prayer or what models of praying works best in the lives of believers shouldn’t pick up What If I Don’t Desire to Pray. That’s not the purpose of this little book. However, the average person who wants to get closer to their Creator and Savior will find encouragement in this book.
The book doesn’t cost much in terms of dollars or time. You can knock it out in one setting or over a few short sessions. Then consider sharing it with some others in a small group discussion time.
If I Don’t Desire to Pray reminded me that we find the best motivation to pray the person of Jesus. The author does so in an accessible, interesting and even at times entertaining way.
Dr. Kevin Purcell is pastor of High Peak Baptist Church, an author and writer at Church Tech Today (www.churchtechtoday.com). He used to write for a number of other Christian and secular technology and mobile tech sites. Now he's one of the hosts of the Theotek Podcast, which you can find by checking the menu above or over at www.facebook.com/theotekpodcast.