This is a review of William Phillip’s Why We Pray
Prayer is an essential part of being a Christian but it was something I didn’t really understand. This book, ‘Why we Pray,’ by William Phillip, challenged me deeply about my motivations for prayer and reminded me—as the title suggests—‘why we pray.’
Each chapter encourages you to pray for the right reasons. This book reminded me that the only reason I can pray is because of who God is (He is a loving and speaking God) and because of what Jesus has done (because now I am ‘a son of God’).
1. We pray because God is a speaking God
This chapter acts as a helpful reminder of our place. Particularly when it comes to prayer, I can very quickly assume that prayer is ‘my bit,’ it’s my contribution to the relationship, it’s when I do the talking. But in all things, this book reminds us that we are creature and God is creator. We pray because we are made in the image of a speaking and relational God.
2. We pray because we are sons of God
Out of the whole book this was the chapter that challenged me the most.
Prayer is all about Jesus.
Jesus was the perfect human, the second Adam. He is the Son of God and when on earth He had privileged access to God His Father and as Christians, through Jesus we are made true sons of God too. Paul says in Romans 8:14: ‘For all who are led by the Spirit are Sons of God.’1 Because of Jesus we are adopted into the family of God and have privileged access to Him in prayer.
God sent His Son, Jesus, that we might all receive the status of Jesus and therefore all the privileges that are His and, above all, that marvellous privilege of intimate access to our Heavenly Father in real prayer.2
When we grasp this, we see that prayer is not about us at all. Rather, it’s all about Him.
3. We pray because God is a sovereign God
This chapter deals with the questions some might have with reconciling God’s sovereignty and the necessity of prayer. What would be the point of prayer if we didn’t believe that God decided and was in control of all things? In this chapter we are encouraged to embrace humility. Even as Christians there are many things we will never understand because they are simply beyond our logic. Our prayers are trying to align our hearts with God and His sovereign will; as sons of God we have inherited the family business and want to make it our own, so in prayer we have a privileged place in partaking of God’s will.
4. We pray because we have the Spirit of God
Only the Holy Spirit can make us real pray-ers. This encouraged a real humility. Prayer is not the part we bring to our relationship with God. We can only pray because the Spirit of God is working within us and enabling us to pray with real faith and true humility.
Prayer is an amazing privilege for Christians. I would encourage everyone to read this short book as a reminder of ‘why we pray.’
1. Romans 8:14, ESV.
2. Phillip, William. 2015. Why We Pray. Nottingham: IVP, 51-52.