Talking With God: A Practical Plan For Personal Prayer, by Dick Eastman
[Note: This book was provided by Chosen Books in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]
Prayer is definitely an important subject, and for that reason it attracts a lot of attention from writers who wish to comment upon the matter in the guise of providing guidance to readers. In general, I found this an enjoyable book to read, for even if it is far from essential in that it openly cribs from other books on the subject, it certainly does provide a basic view of the many aspects of prayer. That is not to say that everything in here should be blindly endorsed, but again, there is much here to appreciate and that makes it a worthwhile read even if I think it should be read somewhat critically. Given that this book is short and accessible, it is easy to recommend as providing a way that prayer is thought of somewhat programmatically by certain groups of believers. And there are at least a few areas where this book does provide useful insight and that makes it worth someone’s time, so long as one approaches the task of reading this book with the right attitude and perspective.
This book is a short one at about 150 pages in length. The author begins with an introduction that talks about the power of prayer. This is followed by twelve chapters that discuss five-minute segments of an hour long daily prayer regimen that the author recommends. This begins with a discussion of praise as the act of divine adoration (1). After that comes a discussion of waiting as an act of soul surrender (2). This is followed by confession as an act of declared admission (3) of some sort of sin or fault. After that comes scripture praying (4), the popular act of naming and claiming biblical promises for oneself. After this comes watching (5), the act of mental awareness. This is followed by intercession (6), the act of earnest appeal for those under divine judgment. Following this comes petition (7), seeking personal supplication. This is then followed by thanksgiving (8), showing appreciation for the blessings that God has provided, as well as singing (9), the act of melodic worship. The author continues with meditation (10), the act of spiritual evaluation, as well as listening (11), the act of mental absorption of what God is communicating. Finally, the book ends with a second chapter on praise (12) as an act of divine magnification as well as a call to the reader to be a watchman warrior interceding for present societies, as well as notes.
Among the more notable parts of this book is the fact that it is organized in a twelve part fashion. This structure does not seem biblical but is certainly something one sees often in contemporary writings with their desire to systematize the Bible and turn it into a more rigid sort of pattern of practice, in this case involving an hour of prayer daily that begins and ends with the same practice. On the positive side, this focus does mean that the author explores aspects of prayer that may not be as immediately obvious to the reader, such as prayer through song as was the case in the Psalms. On the more negative side, though, the author appears to be a bit too interested in the supposed view of prayer for its power to change the world and to grant the reader some sort of spiritual power. One of the more fascinating elements of charismatic culture, and one that finds its way into many books, is the deep and abiding interest in the Holy Spirit for the power that it brings to believers. The lure of power is a sometimes dangerous one, and if this book manages to avoid most of the pitfalls of that interest, it is by no means immune.