I liked this book for the most part. There were a few of Bickle's teachings I found disturbing and there was also a glaring omission, but I will get to those later. I liked that Bickle helps readers understand why prayer seems so hard. He gives many practical suggestions for believers to have a more rewarding prayer life. He also identifies types of prayers to help us not just ramble as we pray. Potential readers should understand that Bickle writes from a charismatic perspective with several devotions on praying in tongues.
My favorite devotions were on abiding in Christ and what that means. (45) Bickles identifies it as “one of the most neglected activities in the kingdom.” (45) I liked that he distinguished Christ abiding in our hearts instantaneously at rebirth and progressively in our minds and emotions as we grow in our spiritual life. (51)
One aspect of the book that made me uncomfortable was the concept of first receiving an answer to prayer in the spirit realm and then later in the natural realm. Bickle says if we pray according to God's will, we know God hears and approves our request and we can believe with confidence that we have received it in the spirit realm. We must persevere in prayer to see it in the natural realm. He gives a caveat in that many circumstantial prayers are not promised in the Bible so we cannot be sure God has approved our request until He answers it. (71-72) Later Bickle writes that we are not sure about what God has promised for this age and what He will wait to release in the age to come. (77) So how do I know? How long do I persevere? I can't find any Scriptural basis for this teaching of dual receiving and Bickle does not offer any.
I was also uncomfortable with Bickle's teaching, “The Father has ordained that His ideas must be spoken, and when they are spoken, the Spirit releases power.” (79) He extracts this teaching from the fact that God spoke when He created. Ah, but we are not God. Bickle also writes that the prophets speaking brought about the changes in nations. (79) I rather understand the prophets were announcing what God was going to do, not somehow releasing God to act because they spoke the prophecy. It is very ego building to think that we can control what God can do through our words but I just don't think it is true. I know of no clear Scriptural basis for this teaching.
Bickle writes that when we pray for a nation, our prayers release blessing on that nation. The prayers also release blessing on us and out families. He says we receive an inheritance in what happens in that country. (91) He gives no Scripture to back up that idea.
My greatest disappointment in the book is that Bickle does not mention the prayer Jesus prayed at least three times: Not my will but Yours be done. (Matt. 26:39,42,44) Bickle does write about God's will in the context of the Lord's Prayer but with an emphasis of accomplishing God's will on earth, not submitting to God's will personally. If Jesus found it necessary to verbally submit to God's will, I think we should be prayerfully doing it regularly as well.
This would be a good devotional for charismatic Christians who believe our words have control over God's actions. Christians with a more historical view of God and His sovereign power may find some devotions in this book disturbing.
My rating: 3/5 stars.
Mike Bickle is the director of the International House of Prayer in Kansas City (IHOP-KC). He is the founder of the International House of Prayer University. He also leads an annual Onething young adult conference. He is the author of several books. You can find out more at https://mikebickle.org/.
Charisma House, 240 pages.
I received a complimentary digital copy of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.