27/10/2010

Power Through Prayer (by EM Bounds)

For some years, we've had a couple of thin paperbacks on our shelves by EM Bounds - someone I know nothing about, really; he was apparently a clergyman who lived mainly in the 19th century. Nearly five years ago, I picked up and read his book 'Purpose in Prayer', and found it both encouraging and helpful, if a little heavy and (unsurprisingly) somewhat dated.

I always intended to get to the other book, and recently decided to read 'Power through Prayer'. It's a fairly short book - only 128 pages, with twenty chapters. Each one starts with a quotation from some (presumably) famous Christian of the time. The theme of the book is the importance of prayer for those who preach.

So it seems that the book is really intended for pastors, but I thought that it could be worth reading anyway. The early part of the book stresses how the most eloquent or gifted of speakers will not proclaim any message worth sharing unless he spends many hours praying. However if he genuinely prays at length, Bounds insists, then he will speak a message from God, and people will be moved.

Then the next part says the same thing, in slightly different words. And, basically, that's all the book says. It gives a few examples from history, and some from Scripture, of people who made prayer their priority. But it doesn't give any clue about how to pray, or where to find the time.. and by about half way through I was beginning to wonder why it wasn't simply a booklet with the first couple of chapters. I kept reading, but the same theme kept recurring.

Perhaps it was a necessary book to have written over 100 years ago; no doubt many preachers and pastors today could take on board the principle - but I don't think this book would be particularly helpful.

Not really recommended - although it's still in print, so perhaps others have found it more instructive than I did.

Review copyright Sue's Book Reviews, 27th October 2010

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