Three Books on Prayer:
A Classic, a Collection, and a Keller
By Kerry Bender, Interim Vice President of International Missions
When people ask me for a book on prayer, three titles come to mind. One is a classic, one is a collection, and one is a Keller.
Richard Foster’s Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home is a book that I find myself going back to again and again. I find his “directional” section headings of “Moving Inward,” “Moving Upward,” and “Moving Outward” compelling and the short chapters digestible yet filled with insight for the believer regardless of where they are on their journey of faith. It is clear why Prayer has been and will continue to be a classic “go to” for anyone interested in deepening their prayer life.
The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions is a beautiful collection of prayers and poetry. It’s like reading the psalms, and like the psalms, I have used the prayers from this collection as a way to stimulate my own prayer life during times of spiritual dryness. In doing this, I have been able to find joy in the valley as I pray:
thy life in my death,
thy joy in my sorrows,
thy grace in my sin,
thy riches in my poverty,
thy glory in my valley.
The final book is the newest book on prayer that I have read, Tim Keller’s Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God. However, while it is the newest book on prayer that I have read, its strength is that there is very little new about it. Keller draws upon the very best of the Christian tradition on prayer from Augustine to Austin Phelps and from John Calvin to Flannery O’Connor. Keller argues that prayer is not either communion with God or seeking to advance God’s kingdom, but rather it is both of these two together. “Prayer, then, is both awe and intimacy, struggle and reality.” I would imagine that Keller’s Prayer, like Foster’s, will become a classic in its own right.
I would recommend any one of these books, or for the ambitious all of these books, as an excellent way to jumpstart your prayer life in 2019!
Regional Minister Retreat and Leadership Gatherings this Week
The NAB regional ministers and the executive team gathered this week in Auburn, California, for a retreat focused on God’s revealed goodness in the Trinity, creation, the fall, and redemption. These leaders do much to care for our churches and the pastors who lead them. Join us in praying for our regional ministers, that they continue to experience an ever-increasing rest and joy in the knowledge of who God is as they return home to life and ministry, and that this time might reinvigorate their souls for further service in God’s Kingdom.
The rest of this week, NAB leadership groups will meet in Roseville, California, for a time of discerning God’s direction, training, strategic planning, and governing. Pray that this time together would facilitate God’s Spirit moving among the NAB leadership and that they would sense His guidance as they seek to establish a unified vision for our conference.
Early Bird Rate ends February 4
Every three years, the YMLT hosts The Summit, inviting NAB youth pastors and youth workers, and their spouses, to gather as one to:
- Build relationships across the NAB family and network with other leaders.
- Learn a variety of ministry ideas and strategies and share from their own experiences.
- Be challenged and encouraged in ministry efforts/goals.
- Create space and time for personal soul care and reflection.
We firmly believe that this time together praying, worshiping, and connecting can be a life-giving few days.
The early bird rate ends on February 4, so don’t wait to sign up or get your own church’s youth workers signed up to attend The Summit in Phoenix, Arizona, April 23-26! Get all the details at the link below, and don’t miss the video of our Youth Ministry Leadership Team above.
Church Planter of the Week
Jon Putz, Central Baptist Church Southeast Campus in Edmonton, Alberta. Central Baptist Church has been around since 1900 and has launched many church plants around the city of Edmonton in the past century, but they began a truly unique journey in 2012 when they launched their Southeast site. They have intentionally adopted a multisite model, striving to function as one church in two locations. Pray for Jon Putz, site pastor for the southeast campus, and Jeremy Putz, the lead pastor of Central Baptist, as well as the staff as they lead and shepherd this church. Pray that God would use this ministry to impact their community and grow His Kingdom. Ask God to continue to bind both congregations together as one. You can check out their website at www.followingtogether.com/southeast for more information.