Kevin DeYoung has a gift. DeYoung is a gifted scholar and pastor who has the ability to communicate profound truth in a way that is accessible to just about anyone. His books have long been favorites of mine, and his latest work is no different.
I think that if we are honest, we often struggle to pray. We find ourselves saying the same things over and over, or we find ourselves mentally drifting. Sometimes we just get busy, and then live with low-level guilt over our lack of prayer time. For many of us, the last thing we want is another book that is going to make us feel guilty about the areas of prayer where we fall short. Fortunately, Kevin DeYoung didn’t write that book.
Instead, DeYoung takes the Lord’s Prayer and uses it as a model for prayer. He begins with context. His point here about corporate prayer is very helpful. We as believers are called to maintain a private and personal prayer life along with a passionate corporate prayer life. We are called to pray together as the church. There are many churches that need to do this better.
“You can’t be a Christian and not pray. There is no such thing as a nonpraying Christian.”Kevin DeYoung
From there, the author breaks the model prayer into six chapters, each one highlighting a different petition within that prayer. Instead of laying out the content of those chapters (I would highly recommend that you read them for yourself), I’d like to point out some strong points of application. In chapter two, DeYoung highlights just who it is that we are praying to. We pray to the One who is both God of the universe and Father. This creates a relationship that is unique among the religions of the world.
The chapter on the coming of the kingdom is helpful as well. With a pastor’s care, DeYoung explains the biblical concept of the kingdom, along with the already, but not yet aspects of the reign of Jesus. Chapter four highlights the need for God’s provision. If we are going to have what we need for life and godliness, it must come from God. We are utterly dependent on Him, and our prayers should reflect this.
Another strong point of the book is DeYoung’s handling of the traditional ending of the Lord’s Prayer. Found in the KJV, but not in other translations, the traditional ending of the prayer gives us deeply accurate theological truth.
Kevin DeYoung is one of God’s gifts to the church. Don’t let your heart be wracked by guilt over the “ought-to” of prayer. If you haven’t been praying as you should, admit it, repent of it, and commit to communing with your heavenly Father. Jesus gave us a model. It doesn’t require us to pray for 2-3 hours a day. It does require being intentional and disciplined. It requires us to root ourselves in the text, understanding just how desperately we need our Father’s care. The Lord’s Prayer is a very helpful guide in this process. I would highly recommend it. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a honest review.