It might have been the title that put me off getting round to reading this book – for a long time Andrew Murray has been a worthy but uninviting writer for me.  But recently he has opened up new vistas: his book on the power of Pentecost (YES it’s an RHP classic!) was very exciting, and this book, ‘With Christ in the School of Prayer’, drips wisdom on every page.

Until I started reading it, I thought that E.M. Bounds and Richard Foster between them had got prayer sewn up (er, who can ever do that?!).  But Murray is full of power and insight into what prayer is all about.  I quote:

‘Most churches think their members gather simply to take care of and edify each other.  They don’t know that God rules the world by the prayers of his saints, that prayer is the power by which Satan is conquered, and that through prayer the Church on earth has access to the powers of the heavenly world.’

Don’t think that this is a manual for the advanced.  This starts at the beginning, and talks about how Jesus prayed.  But I need to start there personally.  Jesus’ disciples saw him praying and then said: “Teach me how to pray”.  Murray tells us not to think how little we have to give to God, but how much He wants to give us.  He also tells us that if we ask and get no answer, it is because we have not learned to pray properly.  There is a simple faith in his writing, just like Torrey, that is inspiring.  He laments that there are so few Christians who know definite direct answer to prayer as the rule of their daily life.

We pray to God because he is our Father, because we are commanded to, and because in doing so we please Him.  Not only has the Holy Spirit equipped us to pray, but Christ prays on our behalf and in our best prayers interceeds through us.  Murray urges that: ‘Our true aim must not be to work a great deal and pray just enough to keep the work right.  We should pray a great deal and then work enough for the power and blessing obtained in prayer to find its way through us to men.’

I confess I’ve not finished this book yet.  I’ve slowed right down reading it because it’s so rich.  And I always struggle spending time reading books on prayer, when I should be doing it!  Yet they fire me up, and remind me of what can be achieved.  This is in no way a self-glorifying book, but rather a serious work for those who long to give of their very best in their two-way conversations with the Almighty.

A basic handbook modelled on how Jesus prayed