- September 24, 2008
Pray Big:The Power of Pinpoint Prayers by Will Davis Jr. (Revell)
Pray Big is a welcome challenge in the midst of a sea of books on prayer.
Will Davis presents an insightful approach to prayer. He sees prayer to be very precise and directed to the very thing you are asking God to do. This keeps the praying person focused and will enable the recognition of answers God gives.
Too often, our prayers are so general it is difficult to see what God is really doing. Davis suggests prayers should be short rather than lengthy, specific as opposed to general. The book is filled with ideas to move your prayer life in this new direction.
You will be able to understand and practice more fully the challenge of the Apostle Paul to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
Davis has written discussion questions that will be good for group study or a way to refresh your own learning. An appendix provides 100 pinpoint prayers from the Psalms illustrating the practical and biblical aspects of this approach.
Pray Big is a great encouragement to anyone on a serious prayer journey.
Texas Baptist Men
Content to be Good, Called to be Godly by Janet Denison (Tyndale House)
Janet Denison is a serious Bible student with a contagious eagerness to know more of God’s word. The biblical insights she shares with her Sunday morning and Thursday morning ladies’ Bible studies at her church now find their way into her book.
Based on her own desire to walk with Christ on a higher level of maturity, Denison’s book will help readers cope with the perennial challenge of doing ministry in the church with all its busy demands—“being good”—and at the same time growing in a personal relationship with Christ—“being godly.”
In 10 chapters, she expands her theme: “While persons automatically grow physically, they must choose to grow spiritually.” She warns it’s not enough to study the Bible in order to teach it. If one wants a vital relationship with God, she must study the Bible in order to listen herself to what God is saying through his Holy Spirit.
Each chapter has helpful “Points to Ponder” and suggestions for prayer, and an appendix provides additional study guides and a useful spiritual gifts inventory.
Out of her experiences as a pastor’s wife, mother and popular speaker, Denison has crafted a book that is part spiritual autobiography and part Bible study guide for individuals and groups. The book explores passages from 30 books of the Bible without being “preachy.”
Her cheerful sense of humor, her honesty and her willingness to laugh at herself allow the reader to identify with and learn from her unique spiritual pilgrimage.
Park Cities Baptist Church
Wrestling With God: How Can I Love a God I’m Not Sure I Trust? by Jim Denison (Tyndale House)
Jim Denison’s latest book demonstrates his rare gift of bridging academic scholarship and practical ministry. He writes as a caring pastor helping his flock, a seasoned professor teaching young pastors, an insightful apologist defending the faith and a transparent fellow-disciple sharing his own intellectual struggles with the faith.
In some ways, Wrestling is like Augustine’s Confessions, grappling with “serious questions” that make it “harder to trust God more.” But the book’s theme also is similar to John Newport’s Life’s Ultimate Questions. Newport was Denison’s major professor during his doctoral studies, and the book reflects the influence of his beloved mentor.
In the first of the book’s two parts, Denison defends his convictions that God does exist and that Jesus is his Son—certainties about which he has no doubts. Here are persuasive, head-on responses to popular atheists Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris, to Don Brown’s best-selling Da Vinci Code, and to contemporary expressions of Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism. (An appendix includes an additional rebuttal to Hitchens and Harris.)
In the longer second part, Denison deals with problems about which he is not so certain, and with which he continues to wrestle. Classic issues of evil and suffering, providence and prayer, immortality and the unevangelized are addressed under such chapter titles as: “Where Was God When my Father Died?” “What Happens to Those Who Never Hear?” and “Does Prayer Really Work?”
Denison’s book will be a valuable help for believers who want to “shore up” their own convictions and respond to critics. It is also an excellent witnessing tool to help searchers get past intellectual roadblocks to personal faith.
Chancellor, B.H. Carroll Theological Institute