Make Your Voice Heard In Heaven: How To Pray With Power, by Barry C. Black
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by Tyndale House Publishers. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]
Given the tendency of many writers to look at prayer as the source of spiritual power on a level akin to magic , it would be easy to be concerned about a book with a title like this one. Thankfully, though, the author manages to avoid such pitfalls and has created a book of surprising subtlety about the subject of prayer. Of particular interest to many readers will likely be the author’s experience as a young man growing up in a single parent black household and as a husband and father, his service as a Navy chaplain rising to the rank of Rear Admiral, and his service as the chaplain of the U.S. Senate. The author, somewhat slyly, tries to position Congress as a place far more interested in godliness than is commonly understood or believed to be the case by those of us whose views of that august institution range from cynical to outright scornful. Even those who may not agree with the author’s sanguine position on the place of godly virtue in our nation’s Congress, the author has a great deal to offer concerning his own understanding of the complexity of the subject of prayer.
This short book of about 150 pages or so begins with an introduction and has fifteen short chapters on how people should pray and a bit on what they should pray for. These topics include: praying with assistance, praying the Model prayer (often known as the Lord’s Prayer or the Pater Noster), praying with purity, praying fearlessly, praying with effectiveness, praying to escape the squeeze of temptation, praying when God is silent, praying when you don’t feel like being good, praying with patience, praying with celebration, praying with intimacy, praying with fervency, praying with perseverance, praying with submission, and praying with a partner. Throughout the book the author shows himself to be aware of his own struggles to pray effectively over the course of his life as well as the greater body of Christian literature about prayer written by others before him, including a great deal of reliance on the biblical record and a fondness for using poetry and even song lyrics to help make his points about prayer and what we should do as well as what we should avoid. The chapters of the book begin with quotations from various writers as diverse as Brother Lawrence and Paulo Coelho and Charles Spurgeon, and end with some advice that summarizes how the reader can apply the lessons of each chapter.
Overall, this book offers the reader at least a few sources of comfort and encouragement when it comes to prayer and our struggle to pray effectively. Most importantly, this book looks at prayer from the complex point of view of the Bible, showing that ultimately prayer is about doing the will of God and not trying to nag or coerce God into enacting our will. To this end the author frequently points out that the life of believers should be blameless and upright according to the biblical standard, lest our own lives and wicked examples hinder the ability of God to work for us and through us. In addition to that, the author points to his own example and his personal struggles given his background and difficulties in life as a way to encourage others tat a great deal of progress is possible with the help of God. Not only this, but the author’s references to other writers and thinkers points out that prayer, like so much else, is the subject of great conversations in which this book is a small part, giving the reader the opportunity to think about prayer from the point of view of others who have come before us, an opportunity we should be very willing to avail ourselves of.
 See, for example: