Pastoral Articles

Spiritual Renewal – What to Read

Spiritual Renewal – What to Read

 

On Prayer

  • E.M. Bounds, The Complete Works of E.M. Bounds on Prayer. Baker, 1993.  A great place to start. Bounds was a man of prayer and his chapters are short and comprehensible.  Bounds can open the window to the life of prayer.
  • Oswald Chambers, Prayer:  A Holy Occupation.  Discovery House, 1993. Chambers was a master at teaching the Christian life. This is a devotional book put together from selected writings. 
  • Evelyn Christenson, What Happens When God Answers. Word, 1986. The deepest and most helpful of her books on prayer.  On conforming our prayers to God’s will. 
  • Wesley L. Duewel. Mighty Prevailing Prayer. Zondervan, 1990.  A monumental work broken into short chapters which is always appreciated on the subject of prayer. Helpful. 
  • Eric Fife, Prayer: Common Sense and the Bible.  Zondervan, 1976. The best elementary guide to prayer I have seen. Can still get it used.
  • O. Hallesby, Prayer. Augsburg, 1931. Outstanding little book on the starting point of prayer. Desperation is the beginning of true prayer.
  • Andrew Murray, Waiting on God. Whitaker House, 1981. An unbelievable book.  Great study on the concept of waiting on God – it will take you deeper. Really, anything by Murray is helpful.
  • Andrew Murray, On Prayer. Whitaker House, 1998. A massive work that will keep you busy for a while. Murray can be dry but there are few others who can teach the life of prayer like him. Helpful, short chapters.
  • J. Irvin Overholtzer, Everything by Prayer. CEFI, 1957. An excellent little study of the conditions of true prayer or what the author calls the laws of prayer. Overholtzer’s writings are expensive and hard to get.
  • Arthur T. Pierson. Lessons in the School of Prayer. SMFI, 1999. A short but biblical work, based on the Lord’s teachings on prayer. Unbelievable, a classic, must read.
  • A.W. Pink. Effectual Fervent Prayer. Baker, 1981. Some don’t like Pink because of his unapologetic Calvinism, but he had a grasp of God’s glory and was a man of prayer. Much to learn here.
  • William Thrasher, A Journey to Victorious Praying: Finding Discipline and Delight in Your Prayer Life. Moody, 2003. A fairly recent book that has a helpful concept for the life of prayer. Not as good as older works but worth reading.
  • Becky Tirabassi, Wild Things Happen When I Pray. Zondervan, 1993 (also, Releasing God’s Power,  Oliver Nelson, 1990). I include Becky’s books for a reason. They are not deep books on prayer, but they are an encouragement to all that we can find the time and learn to discipline our lives for prayer.
  • R. A. Torrey, How to Pray. Whitaker House, 1983. A helpful and elementary guide. A good place to start.
  • R. A. Torrey, The Power of Prayer. Zondervan, 1948. Must read.
  • Warren Wiersbe, Classic Sermons on Prayer. Kregel, 1987. See how prayer was taught by some of the great preachers of past eras. It may surprise you and also demonstrate that the modern church is an abyss of prayerlessness and shallow understanding.
  • Dallas Willard, The Spirit of the Disciplines. Harper and Row, 1988. A good modern attempt at outlining how to arrange one’s life to be impacted by God. Despite faulty theology at some points, it is challenging and helpful.
  • Paul E. Miller, A Praying Life. Navpress, 2009. Not a deep book, but very encouraging to the prayer life. Simple principles and suggestions, written for the modern reader with a view to American culture’s influences.

  

On The Spiritual Life

  • Jerry Bridges, The Pursuit of Holiness. Navpress, 1978.  Practical, wonderful thoughts on the spiritual life
  • Jim Cymbala, Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire. Zondervan, 1997. Must reading from the pastor of the Brooklyn Tabernacle. A rebuke to the prayerless church and the story of how one church built its ministry on prayer. So needed today!
  • Jonathan Edwards, Religious Affections (Edited by James M. Houston). Bethany House, 1984. Some don’t like the editing done to Edward’s classic work on true spirituality but this will make Edwards accessible to some. You can get the original in Edwards’ collected works.  More advanced reading.
  • Billy Graham, Peace with God.  Word, 1984. Probably his best book. Presents an excellent, basic understanding of the Christian life.
  • Andrew Murray, Abide in Christ. Zondervan, 1987. Another classic by Murray.  Learning to abide in Christ is one of the most crucial aspects of Christian living and there is no better explanation than this.
  • Andrew Murray, Absolute Surrender. Moody, (no date).  I paid $1.65 for this many years ago. It is worth a million!  Must read.  A pathway to brokenness
  • Andrew Murray, Humility. Whitaker House, 1982.  Another unbelievable little book. Absolutely must reading. Insightful, revealing, crushing, powerful.
  • Watchman Nee, The Release of the Spirit. CFP, 2000. Nee is controversial. Is his anthropology sound?  Is his theology on the mark?  Hard to say, he was writing from the other side of the world and culturally he had a different approach.  I think this book is worthy of reading because of its emphasis on brokenness.
  • Luis Palau, Say Yes! How to Renew Your Spiritual Passion.  Multnomah, 1991. A good and helpful study of keeping the first love 
  • Charles C. Ryrie, Balancing the Christian Life. Moody, 1969. Another classic, elementary treatment of the Christian life.
  • J. Oswald Sanders. Spiritual Leadership. Moody, 1967.  A classic work, a must for anyone involved in Christian ministry. Should be read annually.
  • Elizabeth Ruth Skoglund. Bright Days, Dark Nights. Baker, 2000. What a book!  A Study of Spurgeon’s sermons as to how they spoke to the problems and concerns of the Christian life. Rich, powerful.
  • Richard Owen Roberts. Repentance, the first Word of the Gospel. Crossway, 2002. A comprehensive work on the biblical concept of repentance, well illustrated and well organized. You may not agree with every point but for those who want to delve into this topic, it is a must read.
  • Harry Ironside.  Except Ye Repent.  American Tract Society. 1937. A sane, biblical and helpful treatment of the subject of repentance.
  • David Platt.  Radical:  Taking your faith back from the American Dream. Multnomah, 2010. A young American pastor argues that to truly follow Christ today we must be delivered from the American dream – he attempts to spell out what that means in today’s society. Practical and challenging.

 

On the Devotional Side

  • J. Sidlow Baxter, Awake My Heart. Kregel, 1994.  I have not been a big user of daily devotional books – those books with a reading for each day of the year. This is the exception. Absolutely outstanding. Rich, deep, thought provoking essays.  Don’t give this to your pastor or he’ll start preaching out of it!
  • Arthur Bennett, The Valley of Vision. Banner of Truth, 2001. I have also not been a big user of books of printed prayers. This again is the exception, a collection of Puritan Prayers. If you want to learn how to pray, get this book. If your heart is often barren when you go to the place of prayer, use this book.
  • Henry T. Blackaby. Experiencing God. Broadman and Holman, 1994. A good volume on how to be in touch with God.
  • Nancy Leigh DeMoss. A Quiet Place of Rest.  Moody, 2000. Anything by Nancy is thought-provoking and instructive. This is a thorough and practical discussion of the Christian’s devotional practice, must reading.
  • W. Tozer. The Knowledge of the Holy. Harper and Row, 1961. A classic on understanding God. Must read.
  • A.W. Tozer. The Pursuit of God. Christian Publications, 1948. Another classic, on the devotional life. Meat for the soul.
  • Amy Carmichael, If. CLC, 2007. What a book!  You will probably resign your position in whatever ministry you serve as you read this, but you must read it. Humbling, convicting.  A beautiful outline of the proper spirit of the Christian worker.

 

On Revival

  • E.M. Bounds. Prayer and Revival. Baker, 1993.  Just what the title suggests.  Revival has always been preceded by seasons of prayer.
  • Jonathan Edwards, Jonathan Edwards on Revival. Banner of Truth, 1995. Heavy, advanced reading of Edwards recollections of the first great awakening. Insightful 
  • Del Fehsendeld Jr., Ablaze with his Glory. Life Action, 1993. A compelling plea to the church to return to God and prayer in order to seek revival.
  • Brynmor Pierce Jones. An Instrument of Revival. Bridge, 1995. The tender and powerful story of Evan Roberts, leader of the Welsh revival. Modern Christians often do not understand revival which is why we must still read books like this.
  • J. Edwin Orr. The Fervent Prayer. Moody, 1974. Another revival story, this one of the layman’s prayer revival of 1858. It is rather dry and encyclopedic in its approach (it was a dissertation project), but it tells the story. We must know this story!  When we see what God has done in the past we begin to pray, “Do it again.”
  • Raymond C. Ortlund, Jr. When God Comes to Church. Baker, 2000. A biblical study of revival from an Old Testament scholar. A bit dry, but a substantial treatment of a topic that often does not have biblical moorings in place. This one is soundly biblical.
  • Richard Owen Roberts, Scotland Saw His Glory. International Awakening Press, 1995. A history of the outbreaks of revival in Scotland, beginning with the Reformation under Knox. Excellent!
  • Richard Owen Roberts. Revival! ROR, 1991. Must read if you can get it and can afford it. In short supply. Powerful, informative treatment of authentic revival. 
  • Leonard Ravenhill, Revival Praying. Bethany House, 2005. Powerful reading from a real prayer warrior. You can get it used very cheap.
  • A.W. Tozer. Rut, Rot, or Revival. Christian Publications, 1992. If you don’t like to be convicted about the state of your life or the state of the church, don’t read this one. Convicting and challenging!
  • Henry Blackaby, Fresh Encounter.  B & H., 2009. Probably the best volume I have seen on understanding the dynamics of  personal and corporate renewal and revival.
  • D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones,  Revival. Crossway, 1987. Lloyd-Jones’ brilliance is on display in this volume – as with most topics, he has swallowed the biblical concepts of revival whole and dishes them out with total command.  Deeper reading – originally sermons preached in London in 1959.  Still relevant.
  • Brian Edwards, “Revival: A People Saturated with God, England: Evangelical Press, 1990.Might be the best place to start for a solid treatment of revival on the popular level.  Outstanding content, well-illustrated, challenging, sound. Written from the perspective of the U.K. but easily understood by those outside.

 

Biographies Helpful for the Spiritual Life and Prayer

  • Augustine. Confessions. Penguin Classics, 1961. The story of the great early church bishop in his own words. Heavier reading, but a blessing to work through.
  • S. Pierce Carey, William Carey. The Wakeman Trust, 1923.  A glorious work on the Father of Modern Missions. Carey, prayed, “Oh God, make me a real Christian.”  You will pray the same way when you read this book.
  • E.G. Carre, Praying Hyde. Bridge-Logos Publishers, 1987. Hyde was a praying missionary that can show us the path to glory in prayer. A phenomenon.
  • Basil Miller, Praying Hyde. Ambassador-Emerald International, 2000. You’ll want to read this one on Hyde too. They are both short volumes 
  • Arnold Dallimore, George Whitefield (two volumes). Banner of Truth, 1970. An immense work on the great British pray-er, preacher and evangelist of the first great awakening. There was never anyone like Whitefield, with the combination of natural talent, spiritual depth, and total surrender!  My favorite story of all church history. Unfortunately these volumes are expensive.
  • Lyle Wesley Dorsett, E.M. Bounds, Man of Prayer. Zondervan, 1991. Biography of the great prayer warrior and author. Shows the down side of his life also in the days when he became unbalanced. As important as prayer is, balance is always needed.
  • Lyle Wesley Dorsett, A Passion for Souls. Moody, 1997. The Life of Moody. Not particularly well written, but still a helpful and rich treatment of the life of the great evangelist, including insight into his spiritual life.
  • Jonathan Edwards, The Life of David Brainard. Diggory Press, 2006. Wonderful, newly published in book form – Edwards compilation of the missionary Brainard’s diary and life story. Can also be accessed in Edward’s works. You have not lived until you have witnessed the depth of passion and prayer that flowed from this life. Must reading, although the prose is old and difficult. Worth fighting through it.
  • Elizabeth Elliot, A Chance to Die. Revell, 1987. The mighty life of Amy Carmichael, missionary to India. I doubt there is a record of a deeper, more surrendered  life than this one.  I find myself in awe of this precious woman.
  • T. E. Koshy, Brother Bakht Singh of  India.  OM, 2003. The story of a mighty evangelist and man of prayer from the other side of the world. A radiant life. It was hard for me as a westerner to understand this man, but I did learn from him.
  • James Gilchrist Lawson, Deeper Experiences of Famous Christians. Christian Book Club, 1999. This volume has some theological bias (anti-calvinist), but it gives an excellent record of the deeper life experiences of many famous Christians from days gone by.
  • Iain Murray, D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (two volumes). Banner of Truth, 1982. Excellent work on the great British, Bible teaching Pastor. A man of prayer. Must reading for all pastors.
  • Iain Murray, Jonathan Edwards. Banner of Truth, 1987. An excellent and readable work on Edwards. Edwards’ ecstasies in prayer and his deep godliness are well documented.
  • Iain Murray, The Forgotten Spurgeon. Banner of Truth, 1966. A shorter work on Spurgeon that focused on the battles he fought throughout his ministry. Reveals the deeper side of the great preacher.
  • A.T. Pierson, George Muller of Bristol.  Kregel, 1999. A good study of the great prayer warrior.Howard Taylor, Hudson Taylor, Two Volumes. OMF International, 1998. Hudson Taylor was probably the greatest missionary who ever lived, but his greatest concern was how to commune with God and find him in prayer – his life was the outflow of that pursuit. A great model for all those in ministry. I wept when I finished this book because there was no more to read. Then I ordered the seven volume work on his life!
  • John Wesley, The Works of John Wesley, Vol. 1-2. Baker, 1996. The journals of Wesley found in Vol. 1 are a rich insight into the devotion of the great Methodist leader.

 

On Prayer Meetings and Strategies

  • Lewis Sperry Chafer, True Evangelism. Zondervan, 1919. A book on winning souls through evangelism by the founder of Dallas Seminary. It is older, but is a surprisingly insightful and biblical work on true evangelism and the place of prayer in it.
  • John Franklin, And the Place Was Shaken (Broadman and Holman, 2005). A very helpful, practical guide to planning, organizing and leading a God-centered, participatory prayer meeting.
  • Fred Hartley, III, Prayer on Fire (Navpress, 2006). Although this book suffers from some shallow theology and reasoning at times, it does present many valid points about prayer and is stimulating with regard to revitalizing our prayer lives 
  • Daniel Henderson, Fresh Encounters (NavPress, 2004).  A book focused on a contemporary method for leading and experiencing a worship-based prayer experience. Practical and comprehensive on this particular approach.
  • Rhonda Hughey, Desperate for His Presence (Bethany House, 2004). Although this book contains some questionable theological reasoning and occasional faulty handling of certain passages of scripture it is an excellent call for the cultivating of God’s presence in his church. A must read.
  • John Maxwell, Partners in Prayer. Thomas Nelson, 1996. Maxwell is nothing but practical.  This is a little volume designed to help churches start prayer ministries. It has a number of helpful ideas – I used some of them when organizing church prayer efforts.
  • Cheryl Sacks, The Prayer Saturated Church (NavPress, 2004).  A comprehensive guide to mobilizing the church’s prayer ministry. Lots of helpful, practical ideas.
  • Howard A. Tryon Jr. Praying for You. Kregel, 1996. A practical, how to book on prayer and its connection to evangelism.

 

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