Friday, March 11, 2011

Handle With Prayer by Charles Stanley

Stanley sees three prayer principles in Jeremiah 3:33. First, God encourages us to pray. He wants us to come before Him and wait for His Word. Second, God promises to answer. God is sovereign and His answers may be “No,” or “Wait.” We must trust God's answer is what is best for us. Third, God promises He will reveal what is hidden. He will give divine wisdom and understanding that is needed.
“[God] desires to illuminate your mind and heart until you are conscious of Christ's mind within you.” (18) But you must be submissive to God in absolute obedience, no matter what He asks of you.
Stanley gives Elijah's confrontation with the Baal prophets as an example of praying with authority and humility. He gives several prerequisites if we are to go to God with a sense of authority. (30-34) Daniel is an example of praying with fasting.
Stanley uses Nehemiah as an example of praying with a burden. He goes through the aspects of a prayer burden that must be understood to recognize a burden from the Lord and respond to it properly.
Stanley looks at the expectations of our prayer being answered and God's attitude toward blessing His children. “There are six conditions,” he writes, “that must be true in our lives if God is going to answer our prayers.” (69) After going through the conditions he suggests eleven reasons for God not answering fervent and godly prayers with a “yes.” Stanley then helps the reader understand how to pray in the will of God.
He uses Joshua as an example to show that we need to listen to God. “We often make the mistake in our prayers of talking too much and not listening enough.” (106) We need to be ready to act when His instructions are clear.
Next, Stanley helps the reader understand how to pray for others and for whom we should be interceding on a regular basis (including our enemies). He says, “...life's battles are won or lost in the place of prayer, not on the battlefield of everyday life. … God wins His battles through men and women who intercede on behalf of the kingdom.” (127) He encourages readers to find spiritually minded people who will stand with them in prayer. Prayer is the most powerful weapon in spiritual warfare. “God has given the present-day church the same amount of authority and power over satanic forces as He did the first-century church.” (141)
The last 70 pages of the book is an excellent study guide. There are suggestions for leaders (in general) and then suggested goals, discussion questions for each lesson and activities to do before the next session. The study guide is very complete and would make this study a good one for a beginning leader.
This is an updated version of the book originally released in 2000.  It is in hardcover at $16.99 but is still a great value.  The book is 220 pages long.

I was provided with a copy of this book by David C. Cook Publishers for the purpose of this review.

Publisher information.
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