We Christians have the Holy Spirit in us and He gives us the desire to talk to God. Why is it so hard? Why does it seem like we're saying the same things over and over?
The problem is not with us, Whitney says, but with our method. The answer is to pray through a passage of Scripture, particularly a psalm. While we should pray all of Scripture, the psalms are a good place to start.
“To pray the Bible, you simply go through the passage line by line, talking to God about whatever comes to mind as you read the text.” If nothing strikes us in the verse or we don't understand it, we just go on to the next verse. Just turn every thought Godward as we read, he suggests.
He explains why the psalms should be used and encourages a systematic approach. He provides a chart at the back of the book for that purpose. He also walks us through praying other Scripture, such as an epistle. He also explains how to pray through a narrative passage.
He includes a section where he asks us to actually pray through a psalm. He walks us through some of the most common responses to the exercise. He also includes tips for teaching this method to others and examples of heroes of the faith who prayed this way. An Appendix adds how this way of praying can be done in a group.
This book is the most practical I've seen yet on praying through a Bible passage. Whitney gives many illustrations so we get a good idea of how it is done. It gives us a platform so we are not praying the same things over and over.
This is a short book but the method is pretty simple. If you find your prayer life is a struggle, I recommend this method to breathe fresh life into your conversation with God.
(Note: this book does not release until later in July.)
Donald Whitney is professor of biblical spirituality and associate dean at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. He has written several books related to Christian spirituality. He blogs regularly at http://biblicalspirituality.org/.
Crossway Books, 112 pages.
I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.