I read the main title, pondering the rationale of yet another book on prayer-especially since the discipline sounds so simple…just ask.
Then my eyes kept scrolling toward the subtitle; “the joy of confident, bold, patient, relentless, shameless, dependent, grateful, powerful, expectant prayer.” I paused.
Reflecting on the adjectives used to describe prayer, and how they fit in my own prayer life, I registered discrepancy. My prayer life isn’t some of those things, but man it would be neat if it did. Gratefully realizing how much more I can still learn and grow, I swiped to the first pages.
In Just Ask: The Joy of Confident, Bold, Patient, Relentless, Shameless, Dependent, Grateful, Powerful, Expectant Prayer, J.D. Greear invites us to ask Jesus to teach us to pray, boldly, desperately and relentlessly. He shows us what God says about speaking to him (and hearing from him), so that “the privilege and joy of prayer would be rekindled.”
He addresses the honest, sometimes secret, questions we have about our prayers: Do they actually make a difference? Why he doesn’t answer? and Do they change God’s mind?
These aren’t easy questions because underneath lies hurt, disappointment, and suffering. In a pastoral voice he encourages our hearts in the face of our pain and directs us to truth of the Word.
He reminds us that as Jesus taught the disciples how to pray, he first taught them how not to pray.
Since, “religious prayers primarily seek to gain something from God rather than to get close to God.”
Then goes through, what he calls, the ‘model prayer,’ which we know as the Lord’s prayer, and ends the book with a chapter on praying for guidance.
“Humility means knowing that God’s way is best, even when it isn’t the way we’d have preferred.”
I pick up my index cards. I write. And I pray.
For the beautiful six-month old with daunting medical tests next week.
Our teammates whose newborn lays in the NICU with a serious heart condition.
A brother-in-Christ who faces a long road to recovery.
The dear ones seeking to recover joy.
Farming friends struggling economically with drought.
“God is glorified through our persistence. Why Because in persisting in the request, I am showing that God is the only place I have to go.”
I’m learning deep dependence on the Lord as I lift these up to him, but it’s not easy. I prefer answers in the affirmative and decisive action. But, in the waiting I also come to know, “unanswered prayer is often God’s way of purifying us. It forces us to ask why we want the answer, and what the passion of our request shows us about where we find security, joy, and significance.”
Yes, there’s a lot of growing for me to do. As I persist in prayer, I’m beginning to see the rekindling of that joy and privilege in prayer, and how it changes today because I took the time just to ask.
If you’ve been in a rut in your prayer life and are looking to understand what it means to pray boldly, desperately and relentlessly, here’s one for you!
# of pages: 160 Difficulty: Easy
My rating: 4 stars
*A big thanks to The Good Book Company for the complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!