Pray Big – Alistair Begg
Learn to Pray Like an Apostle
By David Graham
Pray Big is a book by the Scottish born Pastor and author Dr Alistair Begg. Begg now lives in Cleveland, Ohio and is most famous for his works with Truth For Life. Begg holds strong, reformed, beliefs that the Bible is the complete authoritative word of God. In his teachings Begg stresses the importance of using the mind to understand the truths that God has reviled to us in the Bible but most importantly the need to have a relationship with Jesus through repentant, faith in Him.
Pray Big is a short book of only 90-100 pages where Begg takes a look at the Apostle Paul’s letter to the church in Ephesus, we know this letter as the book of Ephesians. Ephesians is a short letter of only six chapters and I would recommend to anyone planning on reading Pray Big to take the time to read the book of Ephesians before beginning your journey to ‘Learn to Pray Like an Apostle’.
The book opens with the following quote from Robert Murray M’Cheyne, “What a man is on his knees before God, that he is, and nothing more.” This quote perfectly encapsulates the overarching theme that is repeated throughout the book. Prayer is praise, specifically our unique, individual praise before God. Jesus’ finished work on the cross has bought us the gift to once again have a relationship with God. Because of this we can spend time with God in prayer. How we pray, or if we don’t do this at all, relieves to us our standing before the Father.
As I have already mentioned, Begg holds strong believes that the bible is the authoritative Word of God. This book does not disappoint our expectations then for scriptural backing to almost every point that Begg makes. Begg doesn’t just give you the facts as he sees them but he gives you the means in which you can discover the facts for yourself within God’s word. Because of this it is very common to see brackets containing Bible passages that back up his claims throughout every chapter. I would encourage any reader to take the time to open the Bible to these passages to see for themselves the truths about prayer that Begg is trying to show us in his book.
At the end of each chapter Begg provides a prayer that you can pray for yourself. These prayers are specific to the chapter they are found in. Begg structures these prayers in the way Jesus taught His disciples to pray: Praying to our Father in Heaven, Thanking Him for specific blessings that He has given to us, Asking for things according to His will, Praying for forgiveness for sins that we have committed against Him and then for help to run the Christian race then ending the prayer in Jesus’ name. For those that get nervous at the sight of scripted prayer you can rest easy. I found these prayers very helpful to articulate the thoughts that Begg had raised in the chapters. Whatever stage of your Christian walk you are at, you will never outgrow the need for constant dependant prayer. Having short prayers like these as an encouragement will help you structure your prayer before God whether it is in prayer meetings, small groups or during your own quiet time.
Pray Big was thought provoking for me both times I read it but yet I was left with a longing to get deeper into the book of Ephesians. At first I thought this was a result of me not getting enough from Begg’s teaching but then I realised that this is exactly what Begg intended. I am convinced that Begg’s desire (and now mine as well for any reader encouraged by this to read the book) is that you will have a longing to spend time meeting God in His Word and from that you will desire to meet Him in prayer.
And so I end this review were Paul begins his letter, Ephesians 1v16-17 “I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him”.