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Forum nameReading Challenges, 2010
Topic subject8. With Christ in the School of Prayer by Andrew Murray
Topic URLhttp://www.fmwriters.com/community/dc/dcboard.php?az=show_topic&forum=505&topic_id=6&mesg_id=265
265, 8. With Christ in the School of Prayer by Andrew Murray
Posted by alissaameth, Sun Jan-31-10 07:56 PM
Religion, 249 pages.

This book has made a big impact in my life during the past month. It's divided into thirty-one "lessons" that each take a statement that Jesus made about prayer and meditate on putting those words into practice in one's own prayer life. Each lesson is about 6-8 pages long, with a short prayer at the end. While each lesson is bite-sized (I read one each morning), they are dense. And I don't mean dense as in, "I'm lost in a dense jungle," but as: "Wow, I need to stop and think about that sentence some more." It's definitely thought-provoking, and required me to slow down to take it all in. I'm sure there's more for me to take in, though, so I'm putting this on my list of books to re-read. The writing style is very... formal and almost academic. Here is the first paragraph of the first lesson:
The disciples had been with Christ, and seen Him pray. They had learnt to understand something of the connection between His wondrous life in public, and His secret life in prayer. They had learnt to believe in Him as a Master in the art of prayer--none could pray like Him. And so they came to Him with the request, 'Lord, teach us to pray.' And in after years they would have told us that there were few things more wonderful or blessed that He taught them than His lessons on prayer.

Throughout the book, Murray focuses on three principle ideas: 1) that Jesus Christ is the best teacher of prayer, 2) that abiding in Him--and Murray goes into detail about what that means--gives us power in prayer and 3) that prayer should be powerful in Christians' lives and that Christians should believe the promise of receiving what they pray for. (Murray dwells on the fact that this doesn't mean God is like a vending machine!)

The most encouraging part of the book, for me: "He that waits to pray, or loses heart in prayer, because he does not yet feel the faith needed to get the answer, will never learn to believe. He who begins to pray and ask will find the Spirit of faith is given nowhere so surely as at the foot of the Throne" (page 82). I found that encouraging, because I've often felt like I "lost heart" in prayer and just quit. I think the most important lesson I took away from this book at this stage in my life is that prayer strengthens faith, which then strengthens prayer, which then strengthens faith. :)