Prayer: Conversing with God
[In October 2006, Christianity Today Magazine published its list of “The Top 50 Books That Have Shaped Evangelicals” (over the past 50 years). Rinker’s Prayer: Conversing with God was voted number one on that list by CT‘s editors] . Here is the preface to this book:
I have discovered that prayer’s real purpose is to put God at the center of our attention and forget ourselves and the impression we are making on others.
The content of this book is largely autobiographical because there was no other way to describe the intimate experiences through which God took me in learning the true meaning of prayer.
The title might have been, Matthew 18:19,20 or When Two or Three Agree, for the book is based largely on the meaning and contents of those verses. Through a period of more than twenty-five years of my Christian life I fought the various hindrances to prayer and finally discovered that in the very things that bothered me lay the key to the new and wonderful lessons god had for me. As I have shared these with various groups I have seen others find the simplicity of conversational prayer transform and light up the meaning of prayer. One group, which spent most of the time singing and giving requests and only about five minutes in prayer, reversed the process and began to pray conversationally. With joyful astonishment they found they wanted to spend a whole hour praying together!
Group prayer has lost its meaning for many of us, so that any excuse is a good excuse for not going to a prayer meeting. Praying conversationally (that is, praying back and forth on a single subject until a new one is introduced by the Spirit) makes prayer such a natural means of “spiritual togetherness” that the healing love of God touches us all as we are in His presence. Meeting the Lord in this way brings us to the anticipated realization of what it means to be consciously with Him, and to belong to one another as brothers and sisters in Christ.
Here is a list of some of her books. Most of them were written in the 1960’s but their truth is applicable today:
Communicating Love Through Prayer
Conversational Prayer: A Handbook for Groups
How God Speaks to Us Today
Learning Conversational Prayer
Teaching Conversational Prayer
The essence of prayer is simply talking to God as you would to a beloved friend—without pretense or flippancy. Yet it is in that very attitude toward prayer so many believers have trouble. That is because communion with God is so vital and prayer so effective in the fulfillment of God’s plan, the enemy attempts constantly to introduce errors into our understanding of and commitment to prayer.
While there are many reasons Christians struggle to pray, I believe there is one overriding factor. Martyn Lloyd-Jones wrote: ‘It is the highest activity of the human soul, and therefore it is at the same time the ultimate test of a man’s true spiritual condition. There is nothing that tells the truth about us as Christian people so much as our prayer life.… Ultimately, therefore, a man discovers the real condition of his spiritual life when he examines himself in private, when he is alone with God.… And have we not all known what it is to find that, somehow, we have less to say to God when we are alone than when we are in the presence of others? It should not be so; but it often is. So that it is when we have left the realm of activities and outward dealings with other people, and are alone with God, that we really know where we stand in a spiritual sense.’***
***Lloyd-Jones, Sermon on the Mount, 2: 45
Video Teaching by others:
Introduction for Conversing with God –
Why We Hate to Pray- Part 1 video
Why We Hate to Pray – Part 2 video
Why We Hate to Pray (PDF script of above videos)
What Does It Mean to Pray in the Holy Spirit