On Books, Old and New

Praying the Bible

Perhaps no spiritual discipline is more integral to Christian growth as prayer, yet no spiritual discipline may be as neglected.  Prayer is oxygen for the Christian life. It is our spiritual lifeblood wherein we commune with God; but when asked, most Christians—including Christian leaders—acknowledge a shocking dearth of prayer.

In fact, many Christians admit to being adrift in their prayer lives—listing about from one dry, forced prayer time to the next, and living with the sense of guilt such prayerlessness breeds.

Don Whitney argues in Praying the Bible that a Christian’s main problem with prayer may be more methodological than spiritual.  Whitney notes most Christians tend to pray about the same old things (health, ministry, job, future, crises, family, etc.) in the same old way. This is a rote formula, guaranteed to bore even the most fervent Christ follower.

According to Whitney, the answer must be a simple one.  Drawing on the practices of Christian luminaries such as the Puritans, Charles Spurgeon, and George Mueller, Whitney gives a simple, yet life-changing antidote to prayerlessness—pray the Bible.

Indeed, fireworks happen when the Word and prayer are joined together. Doing so moves prayer from the static to the dynamic—giving the Christian a vast reservoir from which to pray, and it more assuredly aligns one’s prayers with the will of God.

Thankfully, Praying the Bible not only commends a method, it teaches us how to practice it. Whitney carefully walks the reader through how to pray the Bible, making the practice of praying Scripture understandable and practicable for even the newest of believers.

In the late 1990s, I learned from Don Whitney how to pray the Bible. It changed my prayer life then, and it continues to shape it now. In fact, I can usually see a direct correlation between my consistency in praying the Bible and my relative spiritual vibrancy. That’s why I come back, again and again, to the basics of praying Scripture.

Being a pastor or Christian leader does not remedy prayerlessness. In fact, it may exasperate it. Excessive busyness most always leads to spiritual barrenness. This could be remedied if we learn from Whitney how to pray the Bible, and then resolve to do just that.


*”On Books Old & New” is intended as a brief introduction and commendation of books, both old and new, which are beneficial for the Christian life and ministry.

topicsDon WhitneyOn Books Old & NewPrayer

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