The Awakening, Revival in China 1927-1937

Marie Monsen

This is a story of revival in China in the years 1927-1937.  It is written by Marie Monsen, a Norwegian missionary who was a key leader in the movement.  More than anything, this is the story of prayer.  Believing prayer.  It is the story of conviction of sin, brokenness and repentance, and united prayer for revival.

The book is not especially well-written, but the tale of what God did is tremendous!

A Praying Life

Paul Miller

This is one of the best books on prayer that I have read.  I have quite a few in my library and the big important works covering the topic systematically would include the books by Timothy Keller, Philip Yancey and Richard Foster – all three valuable works.  But in some ways this is the most practical book on prayer that I’ve read.  I want to say that it is more practical than profound, but on the other hand, Miller can be very insightful.  He has certainly reflected deeply on prayer.

The book is peppered with stories, mostly from his own family life, with his wife and six children, especially including his autistic daughter, Kimberly.  He is honest, vulnerable and real.

In some ways I think this will change the way I approach intercession for people – more real, and more honest with God about challenges and needs.

Highly recommended.

Praying Hyde

Basil Miller

John Hyde was a missionary in India from 1892 to 1911.  He was such a man of prayer that he became known during his lifetime and in church history as Praying Hyde.  He had great fruitfulness doing evangelism work in villages in northern India, in what was then called Punjab.  But what he really became known for was his heart for prayer.

The man prayed!  He would pray all night and not that infrequently, and then carry on the next day.  He would get on his knees and pray throughout the day.  He would walk and pray.  When there were important events or services being held, he would not attend them but go to the prayer room next door and seek God in fervent intercession.  He would rather do the work of intercession than the work of preaching.

Hyde had remarkable impact on people in his life.  He understood that prayer was not only the greatest privilege, but prayer was where the power was.

This brief biography will inspire you with the power of prayer.

Draw the Circle

Mark Batterson

This book in some ways is a sequel to Mark Batterson’s superb book The Circle Maker.  The book is divided into 40 days of prayer challenge.  It includes tons of good stories, solid biblical foundation and incisive, interesting thoughts from Batterson, who is a pastor of National Community Church in Washington D.C.

Batterson’s books on prayer are filled with passion and wisdom, and they challenge the believer to go deeper with God in prayer.  Highly recommended.

Prayer by Timothy Keller


This is a superb book on prayer, published in 2014 by the increasingly prolific writer/pastor Tim Keller. I would say that this book is probably my favorite overall book on prayer. Keller is so bright, so well-read, and so insightful, with such a deep heart for God.  

He begins by talking about his own journey with prayer, how God used some struggles to raise this value in his own life. He talks about a milestone decision that he and his wife made in 2011 that they would pray together every single night, and the difference this has made for them.


The book is peppered with the quotes and learnings from writers and scholars, not only from our own day but down through the centuries. For example, there is a great section on the Lord’s Prayer in which he basically takes the best insights of Augustine, Luther and Calvin.


There is a tremendous section on meditation on the Bible, which is really a form of prayer. He talks about the various ways open to us to meditate on the Bible.


Here is his definition of prayer:


“What is prayer, then, in the fullest sense? Prayer is continuing a conversation that God has started through his Word and his grace, which eventually becomes a full encounter with him.”


He elaborates with a couple of quotes: “Through Christ, prayer becomes what Scottish Reformer John Knox called ‘an earnest and familiar talking with God,’ and John Calvin called an ‘intimate conversation’ of believers with God, or elsewhere ‘a communion of men with God’ – a two-way communicative interaction.”


There is a good bit about how to pray, and he includes this insightful observation from Edmund P. Clowney: “The Bible does not present an art of prayer; it presents the God of prayer.”


Here are a few of the principles he lays out:


  1. Prayer is a duty and a discipline.
  2. Prayer is conversing with God.
  3. Prayer is a balanced interaction of praise, confession, thanks and petition.
  4. Prayer must be “In Jesus’ Name,” based on the gospel.
  5. Prayer is the heart engaged in loving awe.
  6. Prayer is accepting weakness and dependence.
  7. Prayer reorients your view toward God.
  8. Prayer as spiritual union with God.
  9. Prayer seeks a heart sense of the presence of God.
  10. Prayer requires and creates honesty and self-knowledge.
  11. Prayer requires and creates restful trust and confident hope.
  12. Prayer requires and creates surrender of the whole life in love to God.


There is a wonderful chapter on the prayer in Ephesians 3:14-21, in chapter 11. It includes fascinating examples of Blaise Pascal, the philosopher and mathematician, and Jonathan Edwards, the pastor and theologian, having these striking encounters with the presence of God.


Keller closes with these challenging lines:


“It may be fitful and episodic, but fellowship with God is available now. George Herbert, remember, called prayer ‘the Churches banquet.’ Remember too Dwight Moody, who was praying one day and could say only ‘that God revealed himself to me, and I had such an experience of his love that I had to ask him to stay his hand.’


Why are we settling for water when we could have wine?”