Book Review by Val Viljoen
I am sure it is the sincere wish of many to be able to pray the kind of prayers that please Father God, bring us into greater intimacy with Him and of course are effectual in bringing change into situations according to His will. How can we learn about such prayer?
Christian bookstore shelves abound in books about prayer and most probably, you, like me, have read many of them. Some have been helpful, some not so much.
This book by Billy Graham’s daughter takes an interesting and inspiring look at a wonderful biblical example of prayer — that prayed by the prophet Daniel as an elderly man after decades of exile in Babylon. It is his response to reading in the writings of the prophet Jeremiah that God had promised that the exile was to end after 70 years, which indeed it did with the return of a group to Jerusalem under the leadership of Ezra the priest.
So Daniel was praying according to the will and indeed promise of God as he understood it from scripture.
Another important aspect of this prayer is the element of heartfelt confession of sin — Daniel uses the pronoun “we” as he fully identifies with the sin of the nation. A chapter of this book is devoted to an understanding of how there is no “us” and “them” — we must be able to admit to the sin in our own hearts and attitudes if we truly want to bring our own nation to prayer.
There are many situations that we need to pray about and the author uses illustrations from her own life to make this point. But the book does have a strong emphasis on the need for prayer for the nation — which of course is America in this case. Just as Judah had turned their backs on God, so we can see in our world today many examples of spiritual poverty. Our nation South Africa is certainly no exception — like America we have legal abortion and same-sex marriage. And of course there is so much more that displeases God.
So the time to pray with deep sincerity is now. God is gracious and merciful and will hear our prayers, but He needs and wants us to pray.
This book can definitely be of value to those who would like to take wisdom from this particular model of prayer, and want to see greater intimacy and relevance in their own prayer life.