I expect every Christian would agree that there are times when prayer is a struggle. Though we experience blessed seasons when prayer is the easiest and most natural thing in the world, we also experience seasons when prayer is difficult and when it feels awkward or even ineffective. And for this reason we all sometimes need a little refresher, a little reminder, a little spark.
Kevin Halloran’s When Prayer Is a Struggle is meant to console Christians who are struggling to pray, to diagnose their troubles, and to provide practical counsel that can motivate them once more. A book that is appropriately simple and relatively short, it serves as a very relevant and very applicable guide to prayer.
Halloran frames the book around nine common reasons Christians may struggle to pray: I forget why prayer matters is the first, while I don’t know what to pray comes second. Behind them are I feel too guilty to pray, I’m not sure God hears me, and I have mixed motives. Then he moves to I can’t focus, I’m so unorganized, and I’m too stressed. Last is perhaps the most familiar of all: I’m too busy.
For each chapter, he explains the nature of that particular struggle, then lays out a head-heart-hands approach to tackling it. He shows which gospel truths speak to that struggle, diagnoses the particular heart issues that keep us from prayer, then suggests how to move forward in despite such struggles. Knowing that it is easier to read a book on prayer than to actually pray, he prompts the reader to learn by doing, to set aside the book and actually put the principles into practice.
Because at times we all struggle to pray, we would at times all benefit from this book. It is biblical, practical, and draws from many trusted sources. Halloran says, “My driving motivation for writing this book has been the belief that a life of faithful, fruitful, and joyful prayer is within the grasp of every Christian. God has helped me in spectacular ways, and I know that He will help you, too.” And, indeed, I believe that through this book, God will do that very thing—help you fight through your struggles and learn to enjoy prayer as one of his most precious gifts.
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