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Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God

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The New York Times bestselling author and renowned pastor explores the power of prayer.

Christians are taught in their churches and schools that prayer is the most powerful way to experience God. But few receive instruction or guidance in how to make prayer genuinely meaningful. In Prayer, renowned pastor Timothy Keller delves into the many facets of this everyday act.

With his trademark insights and energy, Keller offers biblical guidance as well as specific prayers for certain situations, such as dealing with grief, loss, love, and forgiveness. He discusses ways to make prayers more personal and powerful, and how to establish a practice of prayer that works for each reader.

Dr. Keller’s previous books have sold more than one million copies. His Redeemer Presbyterian Church is not only a major presence in his home base of New York, it has also helped to launch more than two hundred fifty other churches in forty-eight cities around the world. His teachings have already helped millions, the majority of whom pray regularly. And with Prayer, he’ll show them how to find a deeper connection with God.

336 pages, Hardcover

First published November 1, 2014

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About the author

Timothy J. Keller

391 books4,598 followers
Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

Timothy Keller was the founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan, which he started in 1989 with his wife, Kathy, and three young sons. For over twenty years he has led a diverse congregation of young professionals that has grown to a weekly attendance of over 5,000.

He was also Chairman of Redeemer City to City, which starts new churches in New York and other global cities, and publishes books and resources for faith in an urban culture. In over ten years they have helped to launch over 250 churches in 48 cities. More recently, Dr. Keller’s books, including the New York Times bestselling The Reason for God and The Prodigal God, have sold over 1 million copies and been translated into 15 languages.

Christianity Today has said, “Fifty years from now, if evangelical Christians are widely known for their love of cities, their commitment to mercy and justice, and their love of their neighbors, Tim Keller will be remembered as a pioneer of the new urban Christians.”

Dr. Keller was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and educated at Bucknell University, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and Westminster Theological Seminary. He previously served as the pastor of West Hopewell Presbyterian Church in Hopewell, Virginia, Associate Professor of Practical Theology at Westminster Theological Seminary, and Director of Mercy Ministries for the Presbyterian Church in America.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,175 reviews
Profile Image for Ivan.
671 reviews122 followers
September 28, 2014
“Writing a book in your 50s will go twice as fast and be twice as good as if you try the same book in your 30s. It’s just good stewardship to wait.”

That was Tim Keller’s advice to pastors who desire to write. And he would know, since by my count, Keller has written nine books in the last two and half years. Talk about prolific writing!

Keller’s latest work is simply entitled Prayer. As he explains in the introduction, his aim is to combine the theological, experiential, and methodological in one book (1). He wants to drive home that prayer “is both conversation and encounter with God” (5).

We must know the awe of praising his glory, the intimacy of finding his grace, and the struggle of asking his help, all of which can lead us to know the spiritual reality of his presence. Prayer, then, is both awe and intimacy, struggle and reality. These will not happen every time we pray, but each should be a major component of our prayer over the course of our lives. (5)

Keller begins by acknowledging that he “discovered” prayer in the second half of his life with a series of moments: his teaching through the Psalms, the events of 9/11 (his wife implored him to pray together every night), and after his treatment for thyroid cancer (9ff.). This book, then, is the fruit of what he learned and what over the years, in both reading and in practice, he has discovered. Rather than giving a thorough review of this work, I will simply offer a couple of points that landed powerfully on me.

Warmth and Light

Keller repeatedly emphasizes the need for both sound doctrine and vibrant devotion—or what John Murray called “an intelligent mysticism” that steers clear of cold assent to truth on the one hand and passion devoid of truth on the other. Keller writes,

That means an encounter with God that involves not only the affections of the heart but also the convictions of the mind. We are not called to choose between a Christian life based on truth and doctrine or a life filled with spiritual power and experience. They go together. I was not being called to leave behind my theology and launch for ‘something more,’ for experience. Rather, I was meant to ask the Holy Spirit to help me experience my theology. (17)

Prayer, according to Keller, is a way to experience one’s theology. Using the thought of John Owen, Keller writes that “we must be able to existentially access our doctrinal convictions. If doctrinal soundness is not accompanied by heart experience, it will lead eventually to nominal Christianity … and eventually to nonbelief” (180). Of course, there is also a danger in other direction where affections “outrun” light. Despite this caution, both Owen and Keller agree that it is better to have more light than truth. I was surprised by this point and suspicious at first.

If we are going to be imbalanced, better that we be doctrinally weak and have a vital prayer life and real sense of God on the heart than that we get all our doctrine straight and be cold and spiritually hard. (182)

Perhaps it was the inner Pharisee in me or the instinctive Protestant rejection of my childhood Roman Catholicism, but I squirmed at this notion, especially when Keller encourages us to read “the medieval mystics with appreciation but also plenty of caution” (184). But after reflection, I came to understand what he is saying. He quotes Carl Trueman: “If the theology [of the medieval mystics] often leaves much to be desired, it would seem that the answer is not to reject the ambition of the mystics but to combine this ambition with appropriate theology” (184).

Augustine, Luther, and Calvin

After constructing a theology of prayer in the first five chapters, Keller tackles the more practical components of prayer. For this he enlists three seminal figures—three “master teachers of prayer” (108). In chapter 6 he looks at the the letters of Augustine and Martin Luther on prayer and in chapter 7 he highlights Calvin’s 5 rules for prayer. These two chapters distill a treasure trove of historical wisdom regarding the practice of prayer. But perhaps most illuminating is chapter 8 wherein Keller focuses on each line of the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:9-13. Like before, he incorporates insights from all three theologians. I will highlight one insight.

Calvin, in his concluding remarks on the Lord’s Prayer, notes that the prayer as a whole was given to us in the plural form—“Us.” As such, “the prayers of Christians ought to be public … to the advancement of the believer’s fellowship” (118). According to Michael Horton, Calvin believed “public ministry shapes private devotion, not vice versa” (118). Keller underscores this well:

Prayer is … not a strictly private thing. As much as we can, we should pray with others both formally in gathered worship and informally….

C. S. Lewis argues that it takes a community of people to get to know an individual person. Reflecting on his own friendships, he observed that some aspects of one of his friend’s personality were brought out only through interaction with a second friend. That meant if he lost the second friend, he lost the part of his first friend that was otherwise invisible. ‘By myself I am not large enough to call the whole man into activity; I want other lights than my own to show all his facets.’

If it takes a community to know an ordinary human being, how much more necessary would it be to get to know Jesus alongside others? By praying with friends, you will be able to hear and see facets of Jesus that you have not yet perceived…. Knowing the Lord is communal and cumulative, we must pray and praise together. (118-119)

This is a timely word in our individualistic age. Private prayers are to be shaped by the corporate worship of God’s people. Each Lord’s Day as we gather with the church, we are learning how better to seek the Lord in secret.


It is a disservice to leave the review here. Keller’s discussion on the “touchstones of prayer” (ch. 9) merit more attention. His final section on “doing prayer” (chs. 12-14) are chock-full of wisdom. His concluding chapter on daily prayer provides some helpful and varied patterns of prayer that all readers can incorporate into their lives.

Even his endnotes deserve mention. In almost all cases I prefer footnotes over endnotes, yet in this work I appreciated how the endnotes allowed for an uncluttered and undistracted reading. But I made it a point to read all 386 of the endnotes afterward and I learned several things: (1) Keller has thought about prayer for many, many years (hence there’s wisdom when he says to wait until your 50s to write books); (2) Keller has done extensive, eclectic reading on the topic of prayer and has gained wisdom from many streams; and (3) Keller is thorough in his presentation without being cumbersome (some endnotes can be articles unto themselves).

I devoured this book in a matter of days. It is the kind of book that invites multiple re-readings since we never master prayer. Keller showed me how cold I often am before the Lord (seen in an impoverished and anemic prayer life), but he also pastorally pointed to a better way to truly experience "awe and intimacy" with God. Frequently I was compelled to close the book, apply its rich truths, and seek the Lord in secret—and with God’s people. If it has the same effect on others, I think Keller—and the Lord—will be pleased.
Profile Image for Drew Miller.
56 reviews5 followers
January 2, 2015
I'm inclined to say that prayer is one of the hardest if not the hardest disciplines of the Christian life. There are a lot of resources out there but In this day and age it's all about "new practices" that will revolutionize your prayer life. In this book Timothy Keller takes us back to what the Saints of old wrote about prayer. In a way that only Keller can do he has taken their thoughts and made them teachable in the 21st century. His ability to use illustrations to bring their thoughts into light is outstanding. We would do well to listen to the old guys more on all the issues of the Christian walk. I am thankful that he not only taught me about prayer but actually made it so i could put into practice what I learned. Just as Every Good Endeavor was the most applicable book I've ever read on vocation, Prayer is on the discipline of prayer.
Profile Image for Barnabas Piper.
Author 11 books895 followers
February 17, 2015
I'm not sure how to rate this book. Keller is, as usual, thorough and deep. However, compared to his other books this is much more a survey of various texts and views on prayer patchwork together. It strikes me as the kind of book that will be ideal for some readers but left me wanting. I won;t say it was a bad or subpar book by any means, simply that it left me wanting compared to his many other works I have enjoyed so much.
Profile Image for Jeremy.
Author 2 books229 followers
May 21, 2023
First tweet of mine liked by Tim Keller.

Read some of this with a group of guys from church. Finished most of it on my own, taking a break during the Fall semester to finish my prospectus and then finishing it after my defense.

1: update language
1-2: communion-seeking vs. kingdom seeking

Ch. 1: The Necessity of Prayer
9: crises
10: O'Connor's prayer journal
11: Augustine and ordering loves/desires
16: intelligent mysticism
17: 4 practical changes

Ch. 2: The Greatness of Prayer
20: heart > mind
21: summum bonum—love of God
24: spiritual emptiness
28-32: Herbert's "Prayer (1)"

Ch. 3: What Is Prayer?
37: 17c, Book of Common Prayer; Frazer—Darwin
38-39: inward turn
281: Kalevala and shamanism
282: Jung and "collective unconscious"
47: 17c poets (C.S. Lewis's That Hideous Strength)
45/48: definition of prayer
289: C.S. Lewis had read Buber

Ch. 4: Conversing with God
51-52: speech-act theory
54: Bible as God's Word
57: rational prayer is okay; apophatic prayer
59-60: Psalms show us ways to pray (ways that our own temperaments might not naturally experience)
60-61: Lamott (unknown God; no confession)
62: creating our own God
63: God speaks through Scripture

Ch. 5: Encountering God
68: God created to share joy, not get it (Edwards and Augustine)
75: Aristotle and friendship
299: Barr on Abba/Daddy controversy

Ch. 6: Letters on Prayer
84-88: Augustine on prayer (4 points)
89-96: Luther on prayer
88: suffering as a shield
89: Luther's barber

Ch. 7: Rulers for Prayer
98: Wind in the Willows
100: Spufford's Unapologetic

Ch. 8: The Prayer of Prayers
109: Lord's Prayer is too familiar
110: referring to God as Father is praying in Jesus' name (recognizing benefits as sons/daughters)
110-11: spread of God's holiness
112: want to obey joyfully
113: Herbert
114: incurvatus in se; social dimension—justice issues
119: C.S. Lewis and community

Ch. 9: The Touchstones of Prayer
121: 12 touchstones
121-22: worst sin is prayerlessness
128: helplessness; Rev. 3:20 is for believers
128-29: God prompts us to pray
135: Calvin's introduction to his Institutes—knowing God and ourselves

Ch. 10: As Conversation: Meditating on His Word
146: Ps. 1 is a meditation on meditation
[149: false contrast between information and God's voice]
152-62: Owen's 3 points: fixing the mind, inclining the heart, and enjoying or crying out
161: when you can't concentrate, make your appeals brief and intense
162: implications of the Decalogue

Ch. 11: As Encounter: Seeking His Face
167: letter in Pascal's coat
175-76: seek God's face = seek communion
176-78: if the beatific vision doesn't capture our imaginations, something else will
178: anxiety
179-83: keeping truth and experience together (von Balthasar vs. Owen)
184: Trueman's appreciation of and warning against mysticism
185: Augustine on God and desire (see p. 311n289)

Ch. 12: Awe: Praising His Glory
189-90: praise corrects other forms of prayer
190-92: C.S. Lewis on praise—it completes the enjoyment
193-94: Smith's Desiring the Kingdom and Augustine's ordered loves
195: Ps. 135 and Ps. 136 (praise and thanksgiving)
196: importance of gratitude; plagiarism
197-99: Lewis, Cranmer, and Henry
202-03: Ps. 146-150 (praise)
204: to glorify God is to enjoy Him

Ch. 13: Intimacy: Finding His Grace
207: freeness and costliness of forgiveness
208: Luther and continuous repentance (first of his 95 Theses)
209: God can't punish sinners twice (because of His justice) [implies predestination]
2014: chesedh
218: Whitefield and 4 features of a vital Christian life
221: Lady Macbeth and guilt

Ch. 14: Struggle: Asking for Help
222: primal prayer is for help
223: don't be too timid; prayer as a weapon
224-25: pray and work
225: monks attacked first (because they were the most powerful, because of prayer)
227: Augustine and disordered love
229-30: long prayer lists
235: joy as legalism; Christian Smith's moralistic, therapeutic, deism; Platonic dualism (mind/body)

Ch. 15: Practice: Daily Prayer
This chapter is very practical and specific.
240: Alan Jacobs
241: "Kalandar"
244: Quiet Time too rationalistic
245: set/written prayers?
247: The Valley of Vision
249: serious Bible study is essential for growth
251: Edwards: see/taste
255-58: praying the psalms
255: Athanasius and "fitting words"
256: 3 ways to pray the psalms
258-60: boat metaphor (sailing, rowing, drifting, sinking)
260: rowing in the dark; fellowship as feasting
261: wedding in Cana—water jars for purification
262: Cowper's "unknown tomorrow"; Herbert and Moody
320-21: how to think about the imprecatory psalms

Appendix: Some Other Patterns for Daily Prayer

267: Keller's agent is David McCormick

268-74: annotated bibliography
Profile Image for Steve Penner.
279 reviews11 followers
February 6, 2016
I have found that books on prayer, at least those written within my lifetime, to be generally unhelpful. Keller's does not escape this judgment. Coming out of the Reformed tradition, the book tends to be overly analytical, overly dependent on Reformed theology, overly fascinated with Puritan writers, overly long, overly yawn-producing. Parts of the history of prayer are of interest, but barely. Though Keller tries to be fair when writing about other traditions, the medieval Catholic in particular, the suspicious and condescending stance of the Reformed mindset seeps through. If you are interested in learning how to pray, pray with someone who is farther down the road. If you are interested in learning about prayer, read books on spiritual life and growth that approach prayer as a part of that larger project. And definitely read in the older traditions. I have found the classics by Brother Lawrence and Jean-Pierre de Caussade to be especially helpful.
Profile Image for Brian Eshleman.
828 reviews103 followers
July 3, 2019
After experiences like this, it is tempting to devour all Keller on my to-be-read shelf before moving on to anybody else. He speaks my heart language as a reader. He insists on approaching issues in context, going back to find how thinkers over time have dealt with them. He dives through what must be voluminous reading of dense material, sometimes in the now archaic language of earlier ages, only to price and enthusiastically convey easily accessible and applicable nuggets of Truth.

After examining the subject of prayer with him, the reader feels like he has experienced the subject in the round, has experienced on-the-one-hand and on-the-other-hand, and has enjoyed the whole thing. However you are practicing prayer, Christian, you will find in Timothy Keller encouragement for what you are doing right, and challenge for how to experience more of God's Presence and direction through prayer. Words like safe and wise comes to mind with him with more urgency than a word like informative.
Profile Image for Scott Frazier.
56 reviews3 followers
January 8, 2015
This is by far the best book I will read in 2015. I told my wife that I'm slightly dissapointed to have read possibly the 'best book' so early in the year, yet she kindly reminded me that now I'm able to apply it to my life for the rest of the year.

Keller is my favorite Christian author to read because he has a way of being scholar, pastor and teacher intermingled together. When I read Keller's books it's as if I'm a student of his sitting in his living room as he's teaching me all that God has taught him on the subject of prayer. He speaks to the head, heart and the hands.

Practically, this is not only the best book I will read in 2015, it is hands down the best book on prayer I've ever read as well. It edges out "A Praying Life" slightly due to the more holistic nature of "Prayer", yet "A Praying Life" would be a good companion to Keller's book.

Keller, outlines prayer through the lens of the "fathers of the faith" and influential figures in the history of the church. It was fascinating to see Keller weave together theology, church history, culturally relevant examples and his trade mark simplistic metaphors to make this book.

Ultimately, the best litmus test of a great Christian book on a spiritual discipline is whether you walk away loving God more and with the tangible tools to implement what you learned. After sadly finishing the last page - the emotional disposition due to the fact I didn't want it to be over! - my heart was on fire for God and I couldn't wait to put the practical applications into play immediately. I couldn't recommend this book - or any Keller book for that matter - more highly!
Profile Image for Tom LA.
595 reviews223 followers
April 7, 2017
I know, I picked up a book about prayer called "Prayer" and then gave it two stars. This was the audiobook actually, kindly offered by the LA library. Aside from a bit too much finger wagging, I found nothing wrong with what the author is saying at all, it's just... not much meat to chew on, really, unless you've never once prayed in your life. It's like when you take a glass of water and pour 3 or 4 drops of fruit juice in it. When you drink it, it's almost tasteless. Same thing with this book. The content could have been written in two or maximum three pages, I'm not exaggerating. But it's diluted in long unnecessary paragraphs that re-hash passages of the Bible, and collect thoughts on prayer by Protestant writers who, in turn, re-hashed thoughts on prayer by Jesuits and earlier christians. There are mountains of books on prayer, and this is not one that I would recommend.
Profile Image for Maitland Gray.
77 reviews
November 4, 2020
“We should not decide how to pray based on the experiences and feelings we want. Instead, we should do everything possible to behold our God as he is, and prayer will follow.”

Keller packs so many important truths in this book. This is not a self-help "10 Steps to Stronger Prayer" kind of book. Instead, it's a challenging book that stirs up the questions about prayer I try to ignore and hide from myself. Finishing the book felt more like a start than an end. I don't have all the answers now, but I feel alerted to the fact that I was drifting the wrong direction. Don't read this book if you're looking for the easy answers. And don't read this book expecting to find the hard answers you've been searching for. Instead, read this book if you need something to help you begin the life of prayer you're afraid you'll never be able to achieve.
Profile Image for Dustin.
33 reviews1 follower
January 22, 2022
Keller approaches Prayer from a variety of angles, explaining and encouraging all its facets and functions beautifully and captivatingly. Just one chapter from this book contains enough Biblical insight and advice to think about and try to put into practice for a couple months.

I’m always impressed with Keller’s ability to weave highly intellectual (there are like 300 footnotes here??), historically/philosophically based argumentation with Scriptural exegesis in a way that is still HIGHLY accessible.

I know I’ll be returning to this book for decades to continue to glean ideas and inspiration.
Profile Image for Tori Samar.
537 reviews74 followers
December 13, 2022
Absolutely reads like a Keller book (if you're familiar with his work, you know what I mean). Definitely more rigorous and in depth than any books I had read on prayer before this one, and I don't at all say that as a criticism. Very grounded in the work of Christians who came before (e.g., Augustine, John Calvin, John Owen, Jonathan Edwards).
Profile Image for David Steele.
Author 5 books176 followers
June 14, 2017
Over the past twenty-five years, I have read books on prayer by the Puritans and Reformers, the Quakers and the contemplative writers, the Desert Fathers, and even some living authors who think they have something unique to contribute to the discussion.

Timothy Keller's newest work, Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy With God is quite frankly the best book I've ever read on prayer.  This short review will only touch the tip of the iceberg; so I encourage readers of Veritas et Lux to read this incredible book for themselves.

Keller's work is divided into five parts:

Desiring Prayer
Understanding Prayer
Learning Prayer
Deepening Prayer
Doing Prayer
The book aims to show that  "prayer is both conversation and encounter with God" and demonstrates that prayer is both "awe and intimacy, struggle and reality."

Keller rightly notes, "A book on the essentials of prayer should contain three components: the theological, experiential, and methodological."  The author succeeds in presenting a lucid theological framework for understanding prayer.  He presents the experiential side of prayer by citing numerous Scriptural examples and drawing on the work of many Christ-followers in Church history.  And he sets forth a workable methodology, which in the final analysis includes many different forms that may appeal to different kinds of people."  Keller's book is biblical, engaging, God-centered, gospel-centered, and Spirit-fueled.

Prayer: Experiencing  Awe and Intimacy With God will confront readers with the God-centeredness of Jonathan Edwards, the earthiness and practicality of Martin Luther, and the theological precision of John Calvin.  This work will undoubtedly be used by God to encourage faithful prayer, enlist new prayer warriors, and revitalize a church that has neglected the important discipline of prayer.

5 stars

Profile Image for Matthew Manchester.
846 reviews94 followers
June 24, 2020
This was my first Tim Keller book and it won't be my last.


Keller writes a more comprehensive book on prayer than many of those I've seen. It looks at the subject of prayer through the lens of history, philosophy, apologetics, science, and of course, the Bible. This leads to a more rounded view of prayer, in my opinion.


Okay, if you read a lot, you know how you can read 20 pages of an author's book and think "THEY CAN WRITE!"? Yeah, this is one of those books and authors. You can tell it was something he was born to do. The sentences are so fluid and beautifully composed.

I was really grateful how much attention Keller devotes throughout the book on the truth that there isn't a required system or habit that works for all or one that should be enforced to do. I also loved how honest he was that, even for the mature and experienced, prayer is difficult, hard, boring, and awkward many many times.

Keller really only pushes one thing: pray every day, no matter what. I believe his book makes the case on why you should take that advice seriously.



I will mention that Keller's language skills are higher than the average Christian book, though not seminary-level complex. This book is also 50% practical how-to. It wasn't until I read this book that I realized most prayer books are 100% practical how-to. I'm glad Keller was more comprehensive in this book.


This is well worth the read. What a gem.

4.5 stars, rounded down.
Profile Image for Ryan Gossett.
10 reviews
February 14, 2015
Tim Keller did amazing with this book! By looking at the accounts of old Saints, and then using their teachings to teach us about one of the hardest things in the Christian faith. "He discusses ways to make prayer more personal and powerful and how to establish a practice of prayer that works for each reader". My prayer life has changed so much the last few weeks while reading this! Strongly recommend to anyone looking for a book about Prayer!

"Jesus Christ taught his disciples to pray, healed people with prayers, denounced the corruption of the temple worship (which he said should be a "house of prayer"), insisted that some demons could be cast out only through prayer. He prayed often and regularly with fervent cries and tears, and sometimes all night. The Holy Spirit came upon him and anointed him as he was praying, and he was transfigured with the divine glory as he prayed. When he faced his greatest crisis, he did so with prayer. We hear him praying for his disciples and the church on the night before he died and petitioning God in agony in the Garden of Gethsemane. Finally, he died praying"

" To fail to Pray, then, is not merely to break some religious rule-- it is a failure to treat God as God. It is a sin against his glory."
Profile Image for Rachel Kemna.
20 reviews2 followers
May 15, 2021
I wasn’t a huge fan of this book.
I found this book to give too narrow of a scope on Christian prayer.

It’s certainly very grounded in the Bible - with many references, but only really seems to draw on the Protestant theologians of the 15th and 16th century as other sources.

I think prayer can look so much more expansive and contain a far more supernatural element to it than expressed in this book - such through the learning of discernment (that is described Henri Nouwen), various forms of Jesuit contemplative prayer, and also mystical prayer experienced by saints.

Catherine of Siena and Teresa of Avila are both considered Doctors of the Catholic Church - and have written extensively on prayer, yet they were not even referenced. I would have liked to hear their voices in this book.

I would have been okay with this if it was titled “a review of Prayer from the perspective of Protestant theologians and the Bible” but I don’t think this can be considered a book that covers Christian prayer extensively.

However, I also recognize that this might exactly the book some other people are looking for!
Profile Image for Nathan Moore.
204 reviews39 followers
February 25, 2021
Absolutely fantastic. Keller’s best. Brimming with classic Keller insight, much of which is very practical. He relies heavily on Augustine, Calvin, Luther, and Owen. I’m going to go read or re-read all their work on prayers. Unlike some reviewers, I found the book very coherent and balanced. I will be processing this one for a long time.

Though I probably wouldn’t recommend this to someone as their “first” book on prayer, it is as complete of a treatment as I can imagine in a book this length. Bravo.
Profile Image for Em Swaine.
19 reviews1 follower
June 26, 2022
Could not rate this book more highly and definitely need to read it again and again! This book has flipped my heart and desire to talk to God.


Chapter 1
- pray that the Holy spirit would allign knowledge of mind and affects of the heart for prayer
- 4 practices of prayer took Keller 2 years to make a break through
1) Read the Psalms. Summarise. Pray through them
2) meditate between Bible reading and prayer
3) pray morning and evening
4) began praying with greater expectation
- journey from duty to delight

Chapter 2
- notice how Paul prays for others to know God more NOT for circumstances and hardships to be removed from them
- personal prayer reflects in our public character
- nothing great is easy. Therefore prayer should be hard
- no prayer life means we are not treating God as he deserves
- prayer helps us recognise who God is and know him more
- prayer is paralleled to manor. Helps us remember where our provision is from and sustains us for the future

Chapter 3
- prayer should be mystical (inward) and prophetic (outward) at once
- divinitatis sensum = humanity's sense of deity. Reason prayer is so pervasive across all races

Chapter 4
- if attended to with trust and faith,the Bible is the way to actually hear God speaking and also to meet God himself
- we should be getting out prayer vocab from the Bible
- all speech is answering speech... We are spoken to before we spoke. We speak to the degree we are spoken to.
- there is a place for silence before God
- the Bible does not present an art of prayer; it presents the God of prayer
- God speaks to us in his word. We respond in prayer

Chapter 5
- prayer is our way of entering into the happiness and communion of God himself
- we have the most intimate and unbreakable relationship possible with the God of the universe
- prayer is the appropriate way to access the father's love and to experience the calm strength in one's life that results from such assurance of being cared for.
- our access to God is so intimate because of our 'mutual friend' (Jesus)
- GOAL: to know God better and enjoy his presence
- his love pales the treasures of this world
- you don't have true saving knowledge of him until you long to know and serve him
- the only time Jesus prays without calling to his father on the cross when he was forsaken/forgotten. He was forgotten so we could be remembered.
- prayer turns theology into experience
- we receive his joy, love, peace, confidence, godly attitude, behaviour and character in prayer

Chapter 6
- prayer is the continuation of a conversation GOD started
- you must first account yourself desolate
- we must see that our hearts loves are disordered
- Lord, meet my material needs, give me wealth but only as much as I can handle without harming my ability to put you first in my life.
- we must pray whether we feel like it or not

Chapter 7
- healthy fear of God
- God invites us to pray for anything.... What's the point of God's will is going to happen anyway??
A. God invites us to and promises to answer prayers. God often waits for us to recognise our need and request before providing it. Why? Good things that we don't ask for can be interpreted by our hearts as fruit of our own diligence and sufficiency. Gifts that are not acknowledged from God are deadly to the soil. They thicken the illusion of self sufficiency that leads to overconfidence and sets us up for failure!
Therefore, we do not have because we don't ask! P102
- God does not owe us anything

Chapter 8
- the Lord's prayer explained (WOW!)

Chapter 9
- prayer is a duty and a discipline
- the worst sin is prayerlessness
- we should pray even if we are not getting anything out of it
- prayer is always hard work
- no Christian outgrows the struggle to pray
- prayer is the way that all the things we believe in and Christ has won for us become our strength.
- prayer is the way the truth is worked into our hearts to create new instincts, reflexes, and dispositions
- we need avoid being submissive or importunatively in prayer. We are invited to pray specifically with confidence BUT we are not to pray as to make God's will fit ours. We must combine tenacious importunity with deep acceptance of Gods wise will whatever it is

Chapter 10
- meditate on the word
- meditation and prayer

Chapter 11
- we must not settle for an informed mind without an engaged heart!

Chapter 12
- praise and adoration are the essential preconditions for the proper formulation and motivation of prayer
- prayer plunges us into the fullness of who he is and his love becomes more real than the rejection or disappointment we are experiencing. Then we can handle our problems and can hold our heads up again

Chapter 13
- Jesus fulfilled the conditions of the covenant so we can enjoy the unconditional love of God. Because of the cross, God can be both just toward sin and yet mercifully justifying sinners.
- while there always is some bitterness and grief in repentance, deeper realisations of sin lead to greater assurances of his grace. The more we know we are forgiven, the more we repent, the faster we grow and change, the deeper our humility and our joy.
- we must be inwardly grieved and appalled enough by sin
- daily self examination page 218
a) deep humility
b) a well guided zeal
c) a burning love
d) a single eye

Chapter 14
- praying is active pleading with God
- it is quite natural in prayer to ask wrongly or not at all. We must learn to ask and to ask rightly
- we need to be embedding theological reasoning into all our prayers
- we can be sure that if we ask for something that wouldn't be best for us God won't give it to us

Chapter 15
- do everyone all day with conscious reference to God. - There should be background music of thankfulness and joy behind every incident in our day.
- let it become a habit of the heart
- are you sailing, rowing, drifting or sinking
Profile Image for Paul.
286 reviews
July 29, 2015
Prayer. What an overlooked feature of the Christian life. God the Father - committed to our good. Jesus our Brother, granting us access by His righteousness and obedience, interceding for us. And the Holy Spirit - not "like" God within us, but actually God Himself living within me teaching me to pray and leading me into His presence. What an amazing gift that we are quick to dismiss.
7 reviews2 followers
May 21, 2020
If I could give this book 10/5 stars I would. Keller does a phenomenal job studying and explaining prayer academically, spiritually, and practically. This book is full of conviction, encouragement, advice and all that is helpful to developing a prayer life. A MUST READ for anyone serious about growing in their faith.
Profile Image for DiAnn.
Author 134 books1,591 followers
August 1, 2020

One of the most detailed and Scriptural books on prayer that I’ve ever experienced. The giants of our faith and the touch of the Holy Spirit brought the value of prayer to life.
Profile Image for Daniel Threlfall.
122 reviews23 followers
February 21, 2015
I appreciate how Keller is able to weave scholarly research with devotional encouragement. He does so in a very readable way.
Profile Image for Jeff Colston.
92 reviews3 followers
August 6, 2022
Keller is just so great. I was particularly struck while reading this book just how well he summarizes the works of others while still offering something fresh and new. The last chapter is very practical and will be a guide for me going forward for sure. Very blessed by this.

Here are some of my favorite quotes:

“The infallible test of spiritual integrity, Jesus says, is your private prayer life. Many people will pray when they are required by cultural or social expectations, or perhaps by the anxiety caused by troubling circumstances. Those with a genuinely lived relationship with God as Father, however, will inwardly WANT to pray and therefore will pray even though nothing on the outside is pressing them to do so. They pursue it even during times of spiritual dryness, when there is no social or experiential payoff.”

“Imagine an eight-year-old boy playing with a toy truck and then it breaks. He is disconsolate and cries out to his parents to fix it. Yet as he’s crying, his father says to him, ‘A distant relative you’ve never met has just died and left you one hundred million dollars.’ What will the child’s reaction be? He will just cry louder until his truck is fixed. He does not have enough cognitive capacity to realize his true condition and be consoled. In the same way, Christians lack the spiritual capacity to realize all we have in Jesus.”

“Good things that we do not ask for will usually be interpreted by our hearts as the fruit of our own wisdom and diligence. Gifts from God that are not acknowledged as such are deadly to the soul, because they thicken the illusion of self-sufficiency that leads to overconfidence and sets us up for failure.”

“You believe in a loving God. Then along comes criticism, or rejection (say, a relationship breaks up), or some failure that’s a blow to your reputation in some realm. Anyone in such a situation will feel quite crestfallen and downcast. But there is a difference between being discouraged and being devastated, between sliding into despondency and not being able to function. If God’s love is an abstraction, it is of no consolation. But if it is a felt and lived reality through prayer then it buoys you up.”
Profile Image for Naomi Bowen.
220 reviews37 followers
March 30, 2017
Prayer is one of the parts of the faith life that most Christians feel guilty about & want to be better at. I imagine some - like me- hope to find a 'How to' guide in these pages.
Actually, Keller approaches the topic in a much more helpful way.
First, he explores the theology of prayer.. Some may call this dull but I think a reminder of what prayer is - 'conversation & encounter with a personal God' - will make the reader keen to pray, instead of feeling they have to.
After this, Keller explores how we can make our prayer time more focused & meaningful, before ending the book with detailed suggestions of how to pray daily. The truth is, we're easily distracted & points like this can keep us from brief or rambling, distracted prayers. This book would be great to kick start a fresh prayer life - but don't feel limited by it.

Remember - God loves to hear His children's prayers no matter how unpolished. I hope this book gets you as excited for conversation with Him as it did for me!
Profile Image for Laura.
308 reviews
October 29, 2017
Sometimes I'm so thankful that we live in this day and age where there is wise, Godly men and women that write books to help us in our walk with God.
I don't make it a secret that Prayer is probably one of the main things I struggle with and this book was so helpful. It is informative, encouraging and practical.
Keller was real about his struggles with prayer and offered great insights into why prayer is important, even when we're not 'feeling' it (particularly when we're not feeling it.)
Would highly recommend this book for anyone that wants to think more deeply about Prayer.
Profile Image for Ada Tarcau.
157 reviews15 followers
June 3, 2020
My expectations regarding this book were very, very high. Nevertheless, the book did mange to surpass them!
I cannot recommand it enough. It would be worthwhile to every christian.
This is a very thorough and fully-packed book, being both well-documented, clear, theoretical, theological and also very practical, deeply motivating, experiential and amazingly insightful.
I have started listening to it but ended up buying and reading the kindle version as well. There was just to much to it.
I must turn to it over again. And print out some extremly useful passages for personal everyday guidance. It’s full of treasures.
Profile Image for Sheila Jungco.
159 reviews44 followers
July 26, 2021
There are books that are so deep they become relatively longer than any.

If you are new in the faith or been looking for a mentor and seeking guidance of how to pray, then this book will be good for you. You can build good foundation of why you pray and how to do it. For the west, the words matter. They should be coherent and biblical. For the east, silence and meditation is highly recommended. This to cultivate the inner spirit within you. You can have both. One for your meditation and inner spiritual growth, and the other with your community. you need to learn how to pray with purposive words. Both requires practice and mindfulness.
I hope your prayer life grows daily.
Profile Image for Nathan Harris.
34 reviews2 followers
March 31, 2019
An excellent book. Keller puts prayer under a microscope and, from a Biblical and Church-historical perspective, tells us what prayer is, what it is not, dangerous alternatives/corruptions of prayer, the benefits of prayer, how prayer was practiced in a long line of well known Christians & theologians, and how to practically implement prayer in our lives. But the greatest quality of this book is that it forces us to take a long, hard look at how important and effectual prayer should be in the life of every Believer. I will definitely be reading and referencing this book again.
Profile Image for Buddy.
9 reviews
July 11, 2022
You should read this book… keeping it close by so I can turn back through often. Will be my go to book on prayer that I share with others. Would recommend to those in all walks of faith. Great for those asking where to even start with prayer while also challenging those who have been walking with the Lord for years.
Profile Image for Samuel G. Parkison.
308 reviews62 followers
January 22, 2019
This is a very different book for Keller. Far more immediately practical. It’s also a survey on historical practices of prayer. I anticipate this book being a very helpful resource to the many church members I recommend it to in the years to come.
Profile Image for Angel Tejada.
11 reviews11 followers
May 4, 2021
Es un excelente libro, que va desde explicar que es la oración, hasta la práctica de la misma, sin duda alguna ayuda a evaluar mucho como esta nuestra vida de oración y puedo decir, que al terminar este libro, mis oraciones han cambiado mucho.
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