I have found that books on prayer generally fall into one of two categories. Some books emphasize the sovereignty of God and understand prayer as a means of intimate relationship with God and a stimulus for character transformation and growth. Other books emphasize prayer as a means to get things to happen. This book falls into the latter category.
Evans defines prayer as “the divinely authorized methodology to access heavenly authority for earthly intervention.” It is the “established mechanism to advance God's kingdom agenda on earth by accessing His authority in heaven and drawing it down.” “It is bringing into the physical what God has predetermined in the spiritual” “Prayer is the mechanism God has decreed for Him to release what He intends.”
I have found that books emphasizing prayer as a “mechanism” to get things to happen on earth must somehow deal with the sovereignty of God. Evans writes, “While God retains absolute sovereign authority and ownership, He has delegated relative authority to humanity within the sphere of influence that each person has been placed.” He suggests the example of the bank owning our house while we are responsible for the upkeep. But that example falls flat. Do we call the bank before we mow our lawn or fix a broken window? If not, then why would we need to be in touch with God?
Evans does make some good points. We often find prayer difficult because it takes us out of the realm of our five senses and into the spiritual. We are talking to someone we cannot see and who does not speak back to us audibly. He notes that humility is one of the key ingredients to effective prayer. So are faith, authority, surrender, obedience, and trust. Evans also makes sure readers do understand that they must check in with God first before they make a move. “Prayer is a tool to access God on the front end of the situations of your life.” He also warns against selfish motives and suggests we give consideration to how God will be glorified.
Evans' goal in writing the book, he says, is to confront readers with the power and authority available in prayer and to motivate them to use it. He wants readers to know what their spiritual rights are. Of believers, he writes, “And you are free to persistently remind Him through prayer of what is rightfully yours under His rule.”
If you believe your prayers control whether God can act, you will like this book. Prayer is mostly seen as a mechanism and a tool to get God to act. If you would rather read a book that emphasizes the interpersonal love relationship between God and man that happens with prayer, you will have to look elsewhere.
My rating: 3/5 stars.
Tony Evans is a pastor, bestselling author, and frequent speaker at Bible conferences and seminars. He has served as senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship for nearly four decades. He serves as president of The Urban Alternative, has a daily radio broadcast, and has written over 50 books.
Moody Press, 240 pages.
I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.