Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Book Review: The Prayer God Longs For

The Prayer God Longs For by James Emery White (InterVarsity, 2005, 128 pages; $12.00 [discounted at Amazon.com], cloth hardback; 1-800-843-7225)

“Prayer is an encounter with God, raw and unfiltered. It is not for the shallow of spirit but for the those who wish to plunge head-first into the deep waters of encounter,” writes James Emery White. Many readers will agree with this statement, and discover that the encounter can be a difficult and even discouraging activity. Parishioners and pastors alike struggle with the “right” words to use with God, a frustrating experience intensified by our inability to find quiet corners where God can be heard. In the midst of such struggles, it helps to find voices of encouragement. White is such a voice.

White’s engaging treatise is a refreshing reminder of the importance of the prayer Jesus taught to his disciples. In eight chapters, White breaks down the prayer and illustrates what each portion of the prayers tells us about our relationship with God. God desires intimacy with us, encourages us to ask for the basic things we need in our daily lives, and, unlike the words of a famous country-western ballad, God answers every prayer (the answer, says White, is frequently “no” or “wait”).

An adjunct-professor of Christian theology, culture, and apologetics, White writes with a firm understanding of reformed faith and tradition. He sometimes includes what many readers would consider “technical” theological terminology (e.g. the “imminent” versus “transcendent” nature of God), but these terms are always explained using clear, straightforward prose. The result is a book that encourages, satisfies, and edifies the reader.

Copyright © 2005 by Christopher D. Drew.
Originally published in the December 2005 edition of Presbyterians Today.

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