With Christ In The School Of Prayer: A 31-Day Study, by Andrew Murray
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by Aneko Books. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]
This book certainly lives up to its title. It is a 31-day study, far more in depth than the sort of devotionals one commonly sees, and it is focused around the subject of prayer. If you are familiar with books by the author , you have some idea of what to expect. The author spent a great deal of his time as an author looking at the subject of prayer, and that attention shows. Knowing a bit about the life of the author, and his own dependence on prayer when it came to a throat problem that threatened to end his speaking career, this focus on prayer and the expectation that God will positively answer prayers is something that one can see in these pages and in the body of work by the author as a whole. The image that the title of this book has is a homely but endearing image, namely being present in a classroom with Jesus Christ learning about praying, how to pray and what one prays for and the context of prayer, and that is a good picture for what is provided here.
As one might expect with a study like this one, the individual studies which make up this sizable book of more than 200 pages have a particular format, but it is one that is far more rigorous than the sort of page-a-day devotional guides that are so popular at present. The essays included here are several pages in length, each of them ending with a prayer relating to the subject of the day’s study, and sometimes with notes that demonstrate in a subtle way the immense reading of the author not only in the Bible but in the writings in English, Dutch, and German that were current at the time to which the author sometimes points the reader for more details about a given subject. Included among the thirty-one studies are discussions about boldness, God as a father, answers to prayers, specific prayers, the power of prayer, the relationship between prayer and fasting, obedience, some of the facets of Christ in the life of believers, and the purposes of prayer. While some of the studies come back multiple times to similar areas, the author manages to provide reminder in a way that also strikes off in different directions before the book closes with a discussion of a life in prayer and a short biography of the author that puts his interest in prayer in the context of his life as a believer and minister.
If the title gives an image of the reader with Christ in the school of prayer, the book as a whole gives the reader the feel of being in a school of prayer with the author, with someone who clearly has focused a great deal of attention on prayer and sees prayer not only in isolation as a frequent act that a believer engages in as part of communication with God the Father and Jesus Christ, but in connection with other doctrines. For example, the connection between prayer and fasting reminds the author about the sort of demons that can only be removed by those two things, an interesting point to make in a book that is not otherwise focused on demonology. The variety of different facets of the subject of prayer, and the different roles of Christ in responding to our prayers, is something that will keep a reader busy with for longer than a month if they take the study of the author as it was intended. One can tell that the author poured his own life’s experience with prayer as well as a great deal of his own reading and study into this book, and that degree of depth shows.
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