Monday, August 31, 2009

Prayer Power by Peter Lundell - PLUS A CONTEST!


ABOUT THE BOOK

In the crazy world around us, our prayers may too often seem ineffective. Do you want to connect with God when you pray and receive more direct answers? PRAYER POWER is the tool you need to build a more powerful and dynamic life of prayer.

Intensely practical and straightforward, PRAYER POWER helps you improve on thirty essential facets of prayer such as passion, routine, fasting, praying with others, listening to God, handling distractions, and spiritual warfare. In each brief chapter you'll be inspired by stories of people whose lives of prayer give us powerful examples.

PRAYER POWER can be used as a month-long devotional, a prayer guide, or a reference for help in specific areas. Whether you're a new believer or think you've heard it all, this book's refreshing and honest insight will guide you to a deeper connection with God.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Peter Lundell, a former missionary to Japan, is a pastor at Walnut Blessing Church in Walnut, California. He has an MDiv and DMiss from Fuller Theological Seminary and is the founder of the Walnut Valley Pastors' Prayer Network. Lundell is the author of two books, and his articles have appeared in magazines such as Guideposts and Pray!


9 Ways to Improve Your Prayer Life

1. Establish a designated place to pray.
2. Set a designated time of day to pray.
3. Use written prayers or music to help get started.
4. Repent of the things that hinder your prayer.
5. Pray out loud--this clarifies thoughts.
6. Personalize Bible verses when you pray.
7. Let yourself get in a situation where you have to trust God.
8. Seek the Holy Spirit's leading--and listen.
9. Be bold and persistent.


INTERVIEW

1. Many Christians don't talk about hardships with prayer. Why do you open up about the struggles you have had drawing close to God in prayer?

My first draft of the book read like an instruction manual of all the things you ought to do to be spiritual like me. I realized that the more spiritual I tried to sound, the less honest I was being. I was hiding behind my words. No reader should have to put up with all that. And besides, it was boring.

So I determined to be totally honest. I rewrote the book and openly shared my doubts, struggles, and failures, because everybody goes through the same things. And if I’m not honest with readers, how can I expect readers to be honest with others or even themselves.

I take sort of an “I mess up and you mess up, but God loves us anyway, so let’s connect with him” approach. Readers often tell me how much they identify with that. And when they read about how God still worked amazing things in my life and in others’, it gives them hope.

I’ve discovered two things: First, honesty is liberating, and I don’t want to live any other way. Second, when we stick with prayer and don’t give up, answers and victories rise from our struggles. Answers and victory never rise from pretending.

I hope to connect with readers so that they’ll in turn connect with me and the victories I’ve experienced—so that they will experience their own victories.

2. What are some of the things God has taught you about prayer over the years - especially from the perspective of your leadership roles?

It’s good to listen before I talk. If I always dive into prayer and never spend time listening, I only dump my own “give-me list” on God. But his word says in 1 John 5:14–15 that when I seek and pray according to his will, my prayer will be answered. So the key is to first get in sync with God.

We’ve got to have a hunger, or thirst, for God. Without hunger, no program or technique or anything we learn will go anywhere. But with hunger for God, we could know almost nothing and still have a great prayer life. Hunger is singularly important—which is why it’s the first chapter.

When I pray with faith and don’t get what I ask for, God will soon show me why. There is always something to learn in unanswered prayer.

3. What do you mean by "praying boldly" and how can Christians learn to do that?

Praying boldly is the opposite of excessively polite prayer and of—I’ll just say it—wimpy prayer. Praying boldly is praying without intimidation, not caring what other people think, expressing ourselves to God without concern for being appropriate or religiously correct but rather with a passion from our guts that pours out, unashamedly. Bold prayer is not arrogant. It’s humble and faithful, because of its self-abandoned focus on God and expectation of what God will do.

People often assume they must be polite or solemn before God. Nowhere does the Bible teach this. Two thirds of the Psalms are complaints, and they are not polite. Most prayers in both Old and New Testaments are bold, expectant, and to the point. When Jesus teaches on prayer in Luke 11:5–10, he talks about an obnoxious guy who bangs on his friend’s door at midnight. Then he says we should bug him the same way by continually asking, seeking, and knocking. I often wonder if God gets tired of diplomatic prayers. Why else would he actually tell us to be bold and persistent—and use examples that, if we were on the receiving end, most of us would say are obnoxious.

There’s no real method to doing this. It’s a mindset that chooses to free itself from previous assumptions and uses the Bible as a model of how to pray.

4. How can we practice the presence of God and include him in everyday tasks?

Practicing the presence of God primarily has to do with developing an attitude, a continual awareness that God is always with us, and that in turn, we always incline our attention toward him.

The first thing most of us need to do is to slow down or cut unnecessary activities from our calendar. Busyness is an enemy to practicing the presence of God. Jesus repeatedly blew off other people’s agendas for him and continually focused on his purpose for being here. Pastors who do the same are always happier, closer to God, and more effective. And when we practice the presence of God, we increase our ability to be intimate with him when times do get busy.

Here are some practices that may help develop that attitude: My last thought before I sleep and my first thought when I wake up is centered on God. When I get mad or stressed, I try to see things from God’s perspective. When I am waiting for someone, I use that time to pray. I do menial tasks with an awareness and love of God. I often have a praise song on my mind as I go through the day.

5. You're a proponent for creating a place of prayer and establishing a time of prayer. Why are these important elements for prayer?

These two disciplines are the most important external helps for maintaining a strong prayer life. Without them, our good intentions eventually drown under the assaults of busyness and distractions.

A place of prayer helps us concentrate in the face of distractions. That place could be the church sanctuary, an empty room in the house, a spot in the back yard, or even a rug laid out on the floor, on which the only thing we do is pray. The physical surroundings of a location devoted to prayer tell our brains, “Focus on God.” And if we ever feel bored or in a rut of over-familiarity with a place, a change of location can be stimulating.

Establishing a set prayer time engrains a habit of prayer into our minds, such that if we miss it, we feel anxious because something is missing or wrong—and it is! A set prayer time is not to force ourselves to pray as much as to create a boundary of protection from busyness. That boundary of time is like a protective fence around a garden, where we give ourselves freedom from intrusions to spend unhindered time with God. Preferably we’ll do this as early as possible in the morning, so we can lay the whole day before the Lord. And unlike a prayer place, I have never found benefit in changing my prayer time, so I highly recommend keeping it sacred, especially if we’re travelling or really busy. Whether short or long, this protective fence of a set time must be intentional, because no one else can do it for us.

6. What advice would you give to people who struggle with God when they pray?

True men and women of prayer will sometimes struggle in prayer, as did many figures in the Bible, like Jacob’s symbolic wrestling with the angel and Jesus’ wrestling over his fate in Gethsemane.

Like anyone else, I struggle with unanswered prayer or major decisions to do something by faith, when tragedy strikes, problems of injustice, and healings that take a lot longer than I’d like. The key is to keep struggling—don’t give up and too quickly assume something is God’s will before you know for sure. The angel commended Jacob for not giving up until he got a blessing. God the Father actually sent an angel to help Jesus wrestle in Gethsemane. Sometimes wrestling in prayer is God’s will for us.

Wrestling in prayer is actually a good thing. It draws us closer to God. And it changes us in the process. And that’s what most of us hope for!


CONTEST
(leave a comment for an opportunity to win this great package)

Prayer Power by Peter Lundell
When God Turned off the Lights by Cecil Murphey (Cec is one of Peter's mentors)
Committed but Flawed by Cecil Murphey
Also includes: Prayer Journal, Pen, and Candle


Here's my review of this terrific book:

First of all, I would like to extend a heartfelt “Thank you” to Peter Lundell and his publisher for sending me a copy of "Prayer Power" to review for them. I have always been grateful for this generosity, and I am trying to improve at being consistent in taking the time to thank these wonderfully giving individuals in a public forum. I really appreciate your time, effort and expense in making a reviewer copy available to me.

“Prayer Power” by Peter Lundell is an amazing book that will help to spark new vibrance into your prayer life. It is broken down into 30 daily readings on prayer that will deepen the intimacy of your relationship with God. The chapters are short, but they’re also packed with scripture and “prayer seeds” – that is, the author provides the first line of a prayer that will help you to begin a dialogue with God. I haven’t finished the book, but I anticipate that it will encourage me to communicate with God in a new way. Regardless of the level of your communication with the Lord, whether you are a beginner or a seasoned communicator, this book will offer insights and ideas.

6 comments:

Peter Lundell said...

Thank you for carrying my book Prayer Power on your blog.

I hope it will be a practical and enjoyable help to many.

Peter Lundell

Carmen7351 said...

I like the idea of wrestling in prayer. I certainly don't do enough of it. I would love to win this set. Please enter me. Thanks.
desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

Barb said...

This sounds like a wonderful book. Lundell is a new-to-me author and I enjoyed being able to get to know him a bit through your interview.

Thanks for entering me in the contest!

Barb C.

ChristianHomes at gmail dot com

Praying Mom said...

I'd love to read this book! I read LOTS of prayer books, I like to see others way of approaching, thinking and heart.
God's called me to be a prayer warrior, and I enjoy reading these kind of books. I'd put it to great use!!! =)
Blessings, Verlina
ladyverlina (AT) yahoo.com

Jody said...

Wow! This sounds very exciting.

Please enter me in the drawing.

rodgerandjody at hotmail dot com

Cherie J said...

Wonderful interview! I have to admit that I have been struggling with getting my prayer routine down. I know that part of it is due to getting back to the back to school routine but it still is a source of frustration for me. Sounds like a great book on prayer.

cherierj(at)yahoo(dot)com