Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Transform Your Prayer Life with This Classic : A Book Review


Transform Your Prayer Life with This Classic : A Book Review of Prayer: Conversing with God
My Photo with some help from PicMonkey

My review of Prayer: Conversing with God by Rosalind Rinker


Does your small prayer or Bible study group find praying together awkward or uncomfortable? Do you spend more time sharing prayer requests than actually praying together? Do you find yourself thinking about what your own prayer will be as your turn to pray approaches? Or do you just not attend prayer meetings because praying aloud makes you uncomfortable?

Perhaps you don't see any reason for praying with a group. After all, didn't Jesus say to go into your closet to pray to our Father in secret? Yes, He did. But He also said that if two or three gathered together in His Name agree on what they ask in prayer, they will receive it, and He will be right there with them.

Rosalind Rinker's book addresses these seeming contradictions in detail. She shares God's promises and an exciting method of conversational prayer that can make your group anxious to pray together.

Who is Rosalind Rinker?


Ms. Rinker was a missionary in China from 1926 until 1940. When she came home, she studied at Asbury College and graduated in 1945. She then served as a staff member for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, a collegiate Christian group.

She also wrote. Christianity Today named Prayer: Conversing with God as the book that most influenced evangelicals from 1956-2006. (Facts via https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosalind_Rinker)

How I discovered Prayer: Conversing with God

Table of Contents, Prayer: Conversing with God by Rosalind Rinker
Table of Contents, Prayer: Conversing with God. My Photo.


While I was a student at UCLA, a friend from my dorm invited me to a small group Bible study at Hollywood Presbyterian Church. She drove, so we were able to get better acquainted as we talked coming and going. We often stopped at IHOP on the way home for pancakes.

The group was going to study two books. The first was The Life and Teachings of Jesus Christ by James Stuart. The other was Prayer: Conversing with God. During the first part of the meeting we'd study the book about Jesus, and during the second part we'd pray, using what we were learning from the Rinker book.

I didn't know anyone in the study group but my friend Betty. Yet as we began to practice conversational prayer, we all drew much closer together. Why? Because we were talking to Jesus together as we met with Him. As we each got closer to Him, we also got closer to each other.

P. 48, Table of Contents, Prayer: Conversing with God by Rosalind Rinker
My Photo

What's the difference between conversational prayer and other methods of group prayer?


Usually small group prayer times take one of these forms. The members of the group share their prayer requests first, and then the members go around a circle, each praying by turn.  One problem with this method is that the members spend so long sharing their prayer requests that's there's little time left to actually pray. Another is that people are often thinking more about what they will say when it's their turn than actually hearing the prayers of the others who come before them in the circle. Some shy people may be intimidated by praying aloud with others. Sometimes people just pray as the Spirit moves them, but often each one who prays tries to cover all the requests. This can lead to a very long meeting.

Rinker addresses each of these problems as she explains how to pray conversationally instead. It's simple and natural. Instead of sharing the requests with each other before praying, those in the group speak to each other and God at the same time, introducing topics one at a time. Then people pray about each topic until the Spirit leads someone to introduce a new topic of prayer. Rinker gives examples of how this works in practice. I've noticed that using this method, no one feels pressured and most are excited about praying.

I have shown you the Table of Contents and an excerpt from the book in the images above. Rinker covers a lot of ground. Most Christians who read this book cannot wait to get a couple of friends together to try conversational prayer. Once they've done that they don't want to return to their old prayer habits.

This book is now out of print. Some of the best books are. You can still buy this used at Biblio and help support independent book dealers. Or you can buy it at Amazon if you prefer. Both sources offer only used books, and often the same dealers list the same exact copies in both places. I prefer buying my used books at Biblio. Both links are affiliate links. Wherever you get the book, I believe reading it will transform your prayer life in both group and private prayer. I highly recommend it.

Let 2020 be the year that you revolutionize your prayer life.

Happy New Year!


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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7 comments:

  1. Thank you for your recommendation of this book, Barb. I'm sure many who participate in or plan to participate in a Bible group/prayer group would find this book helpful.

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    1. I hope they do. This is especially true of the younger people who shy away from prayer meetings conducted in more traditional ways.

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  2. Praying while others are listening has always been hard for some. As you pointed out, it matters how close we feel to the members of the group. I never like feeling as if my prayers are being critiqued (there is no denying that does happen). Starting a group and using this book as a guide to group praying seems like wisdom in action. Thank you for the book recommendation. I have not previously read it.

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    1. I've never been able to stop feeling pressure that my turn to pray is coming and I've got to say something. Although this method really came to life on college campuses at first, sometimes it's really great for those of us who find it hard to remember what all the prayer requests were before it's actually time to pray. With this method, we only have to remember one at a time and only those who are led to pray that topic need to. People don't have specific turns as they go around in a circle.

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  3. I was just thinking, as I was sharing this review, "conversing with God" is exactly what we should be doing.

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  4. Awe, this is such a timely read for me. I'm a bit of a prayer-holic. I seem to constantly pray. Strangely enough, or maybe not strangely enough, I pray conversationally quite a bit. To do it with others in a group would be nice too. One of the reasons I go to church is to be in an environment where people are at least making an effort to tap into their better angels. I find it comforting to visually see a group of us together, trying. I've been so connected to God lately - I know, sounds nutty, but I can't explain it, it's like I've come home while still being here. This book sounds wonderful as well, I would love a copy.

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  5. What a great way to start the New Year. Prayer has always been an important part of my daily routines, but spicing it up with a new way to pray is always a good thing. I will have to look into this book and see where it takes me in my spiritual journey. Thanks Barbara for this review.

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