The Danger of Reading Books on Prayer – and then, 7 You Might Want to Read

I start this post with this warning: if you read a book on prayer but don’t pray more, you’ll have missed the point. We all know that truth, but we somehow miss it practically. In fact, here’s what I generally say about prayer: “Prayer is one of those disciplines that if you talk or study about it enough, you’ll think you actually did it whether or not you did.” Think about this strategy for reading a book on prayer:

  • Pray before you start reading it.
  • Every time an insight captures you, thank God for it. 
  • Each time the book convicts you about your own prayer weakness, confess it. 
  • At the end of each chapter, note some specific, practical steps based on that chapter you will take to pray more regularly and powerfully. 
  • When you finish the book, thank God for teaching you. 

Here, then, are some books I’d recommend: 

  1. A Praying Life by Paul Miller. This book is the most helpful book on prayer I’ve read in the last few years. It’s an honest, practical, and useful call to approach God with a childlike heart. I’d start with reading this book.
  2. Prayer by Tim Keller. This one’s a bit more intense than Miller’s book, but it will challenge you to think deeply about having conversations with God. Keller aims to address theological, experiential, and methodological issues of prayer in this single work, and he meets his goal.
  3. Praying the Bible by Donald Whitney. It’s a short but potent book. If you tend to get bored with prayer because you pray the same way every day, this book offers you a solution. You’ll never read the Scriptures the same way.
  4. A Passion for Prayer by Tom Elliff. I include this book because I know how much Dr. Elliff prays. He understands what it means to have intimacy with God, and you can learn much from him.
  5. With Christ in the School of Prayer by Andrew Murray. The work is older, and the writing can be archaic at times, but it’s worth the time to work through this classic. Murray challenges us to move prayer from a duty to a privilege. 
  6. Lord, Teach Us Pastors to Pray” by Chuck Lawless. Forgive the personal promotion, but this book is a quick, easy, practical read (you can read it in one sitting) if you want to grow in your own prayer life. And, it’s free at Church Answers! 
  7. Praying with Paul by D. A. Carson. Paul spoke often about praying for the congregations to whom he wrote his letters. Carson uses Paul’s model to help us learn how to pray better. You’ll pray differently after reading this book.

What other books would you include on this list? 


  • James says:

    How to Pray by Torrey, Power through Prayer by Bounds, and my favorite The Hour that Changed the World by Eastman.

  • I would add Old Paths, New Power by Daniel Henderson (anything by Henderson); Simply Prayer by Bill Elliff; The Battle Plan for Prayer by Kendricks

  • Robin G Jordan says:

    Prayer and spirituality are inseparable: Conversation with God, Conversational Prayer:: A Handbook for Groups, Prayer: Conversing with God, and Learning Conversational Prayer by Rosalind Rinker; The Prayer Principle by Michael Baughen; Healing Power by John Gunstone; Spiritual Gifts in the Local Church by David Pytches; Holiness; Practical Christianity by J. C. Ryle; The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Laurence; Soul Shaper by Tony Jones; The Spiritual Life by Evelyn Underhill; The Sayings of the Desert Fathers by Benedicta Ward; Writings from the Philokalia on the Prayer of the Heart by E Kadloubovsky and GEH Palmer; Meditations on the Heart of God by Francois Fenelon; The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis; Holy Living and Holy Dying by Jeremy Taylor. Celebration of Spiritual Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth by Richard Foster.

  • peterbh says:

    Take a look at the 4-volume set “Bible Exposition On Prayer” by Dr James E Rosscup, published by AMG

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