Pray Big: Learn to Pray Like an Apostle – Alistair Begg
A book review by Michael Williamson
This short book of only 100 pages, is based on the Apostle Paul’s prayers in the book of Ephesians.
The first thing that Begg emphasises to us, is Who we pray to. With the Apostle Paul as our example, he reminds us that as Christians we do not only approach ‘a majestic Sovereign (though we do) or an impartial Judge (though we do) – we approach Our Father in heaven and address him “Dearest Father.” The person who prays must realise that he is totally dependant on God ‘If Jesus Christ, the Son of God knew that he needed to pray, what of us.
With regards to prayer being a mixture of practical and spiritual Begg states ‘All that matters may be brought before God, but we must always bring before God those things that matter most.’ Although not exhaustive Alistair Begg suggests 5 things that we should pray for ourselves, our church and for others: focus, hope, riches, power and love.
In relation to focus he describes the heart as the centre of who we are. That heart he states needs to be ‘opened wide and focused well’ if we are to truly see and love the Lord Jesus, which is essential if our prayer and service is to be in the will of God.
With regards to hope Begg reminds us that Christ has gone to prepare a place for us, and that our hope is not as we normally understand the word hope, but it is rather certainty.
The riches that Alistair Begg talks about in this book are not material possessions or wealth, but a deeper knowledge and clearer view of God through Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ without clouding by sin and other distractions that would draw our hearts away from the pursuit of God.
In relation to power he states emphatically that it is all about Christ ‘Do you know anyone else who can forgive your sin…Do you know anyone else in the universe who has conquered death and opened up the way for you to pass through death…Do you know anyone else who is directing things for your good – who knows the worst of you and loves you nevertheless, enough to be always working for your good? No, but you do not need to.’ Christ and his position in heaven for us, his presence and power in our lives is all that we will ever need.
Finally with regards to love Begg reminds us that the love of Christ to us is without limit and without measure. He adds that we cannot fully know it and certainly not in isolation, ‘We grow in our appreciation of his love together.’ Further to this he states that it is a work of both mind and heart. ‘The Bible engages both our thoughts and our affections, and we will have an impoverished experience of the love of God, if it does not engage the first and stir the second. Pray for clear thinking about how Christ loves you. And pray for stirred feelings about how Christ loves you.’
In conclusion the encouragement that this short little book hopes to bring is that ‘we pray big prayers – We pray for our own sake…We pray for the sake of others…And most of all, we pray for God’s sake: that the God who made us and died for us and rose for us and rules for us…might be glorified in our lives and in our churches.’