But I’ve now read a new book that shows great promise for actually changing my prayer life: REFLECT the Glory of God in Prayer by John David Fallahee.
REFLECT is an acronym for these imperatives:
- Remember the glories of God
- Examine your motives and manner
- Face life through scriptures
- Love God and love people
- Expect suffering and persecution
- Concern yourself with God’s kingdom
- Take every opportunity
The goal of embracing these principles, the author says, is to draw closer to the Lord. “It is about engaging,” he writes, “in an incredible adventure of a wonderful spiritual journal that literally can change lives and impact this world.”
Having worked through the book once already, and preparing to take my friends at the nursing home through it in our weekly Bible Discussion, I’m feeling very optimistic about this prospect. Here’s why.
First, Fallahee immerses readers in Scripture throughout the book, using different techniques to help us examine how the heroes of our faith addressed the Lord at critical junctures in their lives. Although I’d read all these passages multiple times in the past, this book encouraged me to look at each one with fresh eyes, and so gave me new insights into some of the most important events in human history, and the impact prayer had on each.
Second, the narrative is enriched with questions designed to get us to think about what might be hindering our prayers—including, foundationally, having a flawed view of God, as well as problems from sin to sorrow. Other questions invite us to consider and capitalize on the opportunities that abound in all our lives–opportunities for which the Lord can be asked, for example, to open doors and soften hearts for gospel presentations.
Third, the author addresses some of the toughest obstacles to effective praying. For instance, he responds to a question that I’ll bet every believer has asked himself at some point: “How can I love and pray for those who hate me, hate the truth of the Bible, and hate my Savior?” And he goes straight to the Bible to answer to such questions, rather than relying on his own opinions.
Fourth, the book offers sample prayers to illustrate each point, while providing detailed suggestions on when, where and why to pray.
I think my favorite chapter in REFLECT is number 5, Expect Suffering and Persecution. Here, the author presents Bible passages focusing on the horrific circumstances and prayerful responses of nine important men. He makes no comments, simply asking the reader to consider the context and content of their prayers, and to make special note (in the space provided) of anything that appears especially “remarkable, shocking, challenging, wonderful or applicable for your life.” Just a few examples:
- In Acts 7:54-60, we learn about the final moments of the life of Stephen, the first Christian martyr. He knew that he was dying, was in fact being painfully murdered, and yet he had the perseverance and presence of mind to echo his Savior’s radical forgiveness.
- In Job 1:13-2:10, we become acquainted with Job’s awful trials, and are amazed at his refusal to curse God as his wife ordered him to do—even though he had not a clue about why he was suffering and didn’t even have Romans 8:28 to lean on.
- In Daniel 3:12-30, we see how Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego survived the flames of pagan Nebuchadnezzar’s fiery furnace because of their fearless and faithful trust in the Lord. It was their willingness to die to self and rest prayerfully in Him that led to Nebuchadnezzar personally exalting their God—a critical lesson for all believers.
Again, although I’d read all these passages repeatedly, I had never examined them from this perspective. It was an eye-opening exercise, and I hope it will also turn out to be habit- and heart-changing as I apply it to my personal Bible study.
At just 146 pages, this volume is indeed a very concise discussion of a monumental subject. You could no doubt breeze through it in an evening or two. But far better to linger over each paragraph, to think deeply about the questions Fallahee raises, to investigate the passages he presents in search of life-changing wisdom and understanding.
If your prayers could stand improvement, REFLECT the Glory of God in Prayer may be the solution, ultimately making a difference in your life and the lives of those for whom you intercede. Highly recommended!