Thursday, September 6, 2012
The Ultimate Conversation: Talking With God Through Prayer by Charles F. Stanley
The Ultimate Conversation: Talking With God Through Prayer by Charles F. Stanley, Howard Books (a division of Simon & Schuster), $24.00 list price, hardcover.
The Ultimate Conversaton offers guidance on the often misunderstood topic of prayer. In it Stanley discusses the importance of prayer, the many ways to approach God, the different kinds of prayer, why some prayers are not answered, how to deal with doubt, what God's silence really means, how to pray for others, and much more.
I considered myself a prayer warrior of sorts but this book has helped me see that I've only scratched the surface of this powerful resource and it excites me to know it can be so much more than it already is. I like that Stanley emphasizes that prayer is simply a conversation with God, and of course, that means we have to listen as well as speak.
The chapter that touched me the most was How God Uses Silence. I think many believers are challenged by prayers that seem unanswered or when God seems absent from the situation. In this chapter Stanley outlines six ways God uses silence: to get our attention, to prepare us to obey him, to reveal sin, to grow our trust in him, to train us to hear his voice, and to teach us to persevere. Jesus taught that at all times we ought to pray and not lose heart (Luke 18), and this was an important point for me knowing that God's timing is not like ours, nor are his ways comparable to our ways. Through perseverance our motives are purified and in the waiting we allow God to arrange our circumstances for the best possible outcome.
Another chapter that helped me gain better perspective on prayer was Talking to God on Behalf of Others with valuable insight on praying when we don't know all the details or how to pray specifically for someone's situation. In this chapter I learned that I can pray for someone in a way that is, as Stanley says, "general in its appearance but profound in its application." In other words, even if I don't know the details of someone's situation or what God intends to do in a person's life, I can still pray for His will to be done.
I liked this book for its practical yet inspiring and easy to understand teaching on the subject of prayer and the biblical examples used. It would be a valuable resource for Christians who wants to tap into the power 0f prayer more effectively while revolutionizing their faith and ability to approach the Lord in a meaningful and personal conversation.