Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. .
Murray was Born in Cape Town, South Africa, Murray became a noted missionary leader. His father was a Scottish Presbyterian serving the Dutch Reformed Church of South Africa, and his mother had connections with both French Huguenots and German Lutherans. This background to some extent explains his ecumenical spirit. He was educated at Aberdeen University, Scotland, and at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. After ordination in 1848 he served pastorates at Bloemfontein, Worcester, Cape Town, and Wellington. He helped to found what are now the University College of the Orange Free State and the Stellenbosch Seminary He served as Moderator of the Cape Synod of the Dutch Reformed Church and was president of both the YMCA (1865) and the South Africa General Mission (1888-1917), now the Africa Evangelical Fellowship.
He was one of the chief promoters of the call to missions in South Africa. This led to the Dutch Reformed Church missions to blacks in the Transvaal and Malawi. Apart from his evangelistic tours in South Africa, he spoke at the Keswick and Northfield Conventions in 1895, making a great impression. upon his British and American audiences. For his contribution to world missions he was given an honorary doctorate by the universities of Aberdeen (1898) and Cape of Good Hope(1907).
Murray is best known today for his devotional writings, which place great emphasis on the need for a rich, personal devotional life. Many of his 240 publications explain in how he saw this devotion and its outworking in the life of the Christian. Several of his books have become devotional classics. Among these are Abide in Christ, Absolute Surrender, With Christ in the School of Prayer, The Spirit of Christ and Waiting on God.
This is a book I started reading because it was chosen as a common read in a group I help moderate. I quit reading after two days, because it wasn't proving to be helpful to me personally. However, ever since its first publication in 1885 (it's frequently been reprinted) it has proven helpful to many other people, so that's a matter of individual tastes and needs. The author, who was born and bred in South Africa (of Scottish missionary parents) and who ministered there all of his working life as a pastor and leader of the evangelical Holiness movement, was unquestionably a devout and godly man, well-educated, and profoundly interested in the subject of prayer, which played a major role in his own life. (He was also a prolific author, though the only other book by him that I've read, Abide in Christ: The Joy of Being in God's Presence, was read back in the early 70s and my memories of it aren't sharp.) Here, I'm not presuming to rate or review this book, but rather just to briefly indicate why it didn't work for me, at least at this particular time in my reading life.
To be fair to the book, it should be noted at the outset that Murray apparently intended the book to be read a chapter (or "Lesson") at a time, with one lesson read each day for a month. In the very first Lesson, he writes "What think you, my beloved fellow-disciples! would it not be just what we need, to ask the Master for a month to give us a course of special lessons on the art of prayer?" Not coincidentally, exactly 31 lessons are provided, one for each day of the longest months in the Gregorian calendar --some months, of course, have only 30, or in the case of February 28. Each lesson begins with a quoted scripture verse (from the King James Version) or verses; except for the last three lessons, all of these initial texts have at least one verse taken from Jesus' own words as quoted in the Gospels, and all of them are either directly about prayer or have a connection to it. These are followed in each case by a few pages of exposition, and then a prayer composed by the author. (At the end, this edition has an essay, a bit over 18 pages long, on the prayer life of 19th-century evangelical leader George Mueller --here spelled "Muller;" the man was Prussian-born, and the English spelling problem comes from the German umlaut in the last name-- who was renowned both for his dependence on prayer and for the frequency of specific answers received.) So this format is basically that of a daily devotional work (a type of Christian literature I don't get into myself, and virtually never read, though I read in the Bible itself every day). It's not really meant to be read, as I was trying to read it, as a continuous monograph in which chapter breaks aren't taken as automatic stopping points.)
Murray's prose style, which one reader described as "pseudo-King James," posed a significant problem for me. I'm not usually bothered by Victorian diction, but Murray's diction is unusually flowery and tedious, even by 1880s standards. (It's at its worst in the prayers, where he consciously adopts Jacobean archaisms of vocabulary and grammar, as if the style of the 1611 King James translators is the language of heaven, in which we have to speak if we expect God to understand us. Moreover, the content of the prayers has a distinct flavor, not of actual communication with God, but of orating to make points to the reader, which to me came across as off-putting.) The cadences would, I think, come across better in oral preaching, a medium in which Murray was very effective; I'm guessing that he naturally wrote in the same style in which he preached, but the two different modes of communication really demand different styles. As written text, it was a chore to read (I didn't read enough to know whether or not I'd say it was repetitive, as a couple of other readers have stated that it is). There are "updated language" editions, which I haven't tried; but I find that idea problematic. Translation from one language to another is fair enough; but it seems inappropriate, and unfair to the author, for another person to take it upon him/herself to reword another person's text in the same language. There's no guarantee that the result, after the alterations, really faithfully reproduces the thought the original writer was trying to express.
One reader has stated words to the effect that Murray's prose is worth wading through for the value of the insights expressed. There are insights here; for instance, that the Old Testament says relatively little about prayer, whereas Jesus devotes a lot of his teaching to it. But Murray doesn't go on to develop any significance from that contrast; and in general, in what I read, I didn't find that much constructive instruction in the content. In fact, I felt (and this might also be a negative influence from the author's preaching background, since this is a common fault with sermons) that the author just used the texts he quoted at the start of lessons as "pretexts" for his own thoughts, rather than accurately interpreting the texts themselves. For instance, he treats Jesus' words to the Samaritan woman at the well about worshipping "in spirit and in truth," not as a straightforward statement that she could understand in her own context, but rather as a coded reference to guidance of Christian worship by the Holy Spirit after Pentecost, which he freely asserts that she couldn't understand. (This seems to me essentially wrong-headed.) In treating Matthew 6:5-6, he begins the quote only with verse 6 and ignores the initial, "But...," expounding the verse as an instruction about the supposed importance of having a quiet private place for prayer, whereas Jesus' teaching here was obviously to contrast the impropriety of hypocritical "prayers" voiced to show off before others vs. personal, private prayer that's actually addressed to God. Since the study of the actual meaning of the Bible has played a big role in my Christian walk and professional life, I'm perhaps more sensitive than most to slipshod treatments of the biblical text.
While this particular book didn't appeal to me, I can say that one treatment of the subject of prayer that really did speak to me, and which did much to shape my prayer life in my early Christian walk, was Prayer: Conversing with God by Rosalind Rinker. It's been nearly 50 years since I read it, and I've never reviewed it, but it was a blessing to me at that time of my life.
As noted above, Murray's book has been a blessing to many. For a favorable review by someone who did read the whole book, see the one by a Goodreads member whose reviews I follow, Nathan Albright: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... .
Normally I don’t read books on prayer because I think it’s probably a better use of my time to just pray instead. But I’m so glad I read this book! Andrew Murray, a recognized authority on the topic of prayer, shares some incredible insights that left me with a new understanding of what a life of prayer should look like. One of the most poignant insights I gleaned from the book is the importance of expecting God to answer our prayers. Mr. Murray shares, “It is one of the terrible marks of the diseased state of Christian life in these days, that there are so many who rest content without the distinct experience of answer to prayer.” He goes on to say, “There may be cases in which the answer is a refusal, because the request is not according to God’s Word, as when Moses asked to enter Canaan. But still, there was an answer: God did not leave His servant in uncertainty as to His will.” Isn’t that an incredible, faith-building thought?!
I will be reading this again and again. Andrew Murray never fails to ruin me in the best way possible. This book challenged my unbelief and grew my boldness to approach the throne of grace. I’d highly recommend this to anyone seeking to know more of Jesus’s heart.
He wastes no time getting started and starts at the most promising point, Jesus teaching his disciples when they asked him to teach them to pray. They had obviously seen that he had power with God that no other man had. I don't know if they had already or would soon see him quiet the sea of Galilea, raise the son of the widow of Nain,and his friend Lazarus from the dead and heal the man who had been born blind but they knew his habit was to pray and they wanted to know how.
I have heard enough of my fellow christians' stumbling efforts to know that I am not alone in needing this instruction.
11/08/12 - This is not a long book but it took a long time to read because as I read it I had to take some actions to mend some spiritual fences and still I'm sure I missed a few. Each chapter teaches an important aspect and I'll not try to describe them all but briefly Jesus is the only one who can truly instruct you as to how to pray; true prayer is spiritual and only true worshipers in the spirit, can pray effectively (touching God); personal prayer is for God's ears only but there is a place for communal prayer for mutual support; while there is no set 'form' of prayer we do well to remember the sample prayer that Jesus gave us, in which we are reminded that God is Our Father, that we are to honor his majesty, holiness and power and to pray in an attitude of eagerness for his RULE in our lives; our personal needs have their rightful place as we petition for their provision along with our need for forgiveness in the same measure as we forgive others. Closing with acknowledgement that the kingdom belongs to God, that he has the power to give you what you are asking and is due the Glory for his generous gifts through his son. Since God is our Father he really WANTS to answer the prayers of his children who are led by the spirit of Christ-whose words constantly guide their actions; Our Father wants us to ASK for what we need so we can KNOW when he answers our prayers. Some answers take time and sometimes we need to persist in our request. God knows why, maybe to be sure we REALLY want it, or to be sure that our motives are in line with the will of God. Christ is our intercessor and we have a role to play in His intercession as we are IN HIM. Prayers prayed truly "in the spirit of Christ" can not fail to be heard and answered since Christ's prayers (even those through OUR lips) are always heard and acted on by the Father. Test this, but I seem to be hearing that both the 'object-specific request' and our 'motive-our pleasure or God's glory' must be in alignment with God's will.
Prayers prayed for the accomplishment of God's purpose through you are sure to be answered.
I've just hit the high spots. I recommend you read the book.
Quite good! Murray's constant claim is that the Father surely will give a favorable answer to the prayer of faith offered by one who abides in Christ. His reflections on the importance of Scripture for prayer, on the relationship of the Father to the Son to the Spirit, and on our prayers vis-a-vis the constant intercession of the Son are all superb. Basically, the Father hears the voice of the Son and does nothing apart from the Son, and Father and Son are joined together in the Spirit. The Father has granted to the Son an irresistible voice in the government of the universe, and if the incarnate Son has become one with our humanity and has exalted our humanity in union with his divinity to the right hand of the Father, then our prayers offered in union with Christ by the Spirit are heard and will receive a favorable answer because the Father always hears and responds favorably to the voice of the Son. Now, one obviously cannot criticize this argument as insufficiently theological. The only criticism I can imagine of Murray's argument here is that it betrays an over-realized eschatology.
Prayer constitutes the highest calling of the Christian life; it is the greatest of the "works prepared in advance for us to do" (Eph. 2:10). I agree wholeheartedly with Murray on this point. Perhaps the greatest strength of this book, though, is Murray's insistence that God's people must delight themselves in the Lord and in obedience to his perfect word as they walk in step with the Spirit; only then, he suggests, will our prayers have the power God designed them to have. This all depends on a healthy understanding of God's holiness and of the high calling issued to all those who follow the Lord Jesus, which contrast nicely with common sentiments of God as the benevolent grandpa and also with the antinomianism that crops up so frequently.
Anyway, I recommend this book highly. It manages to be--all at the same time!--rich theology, popular devotional literature, and a pull-no-punches challenge to fight for a healthy life of prayer.
Prayer is one subject I always feel the need to learn more about. This book really digs deep, not only into prayer itself, but into the theological background behind prayer. I was very challenged and encouraged by this book, and plan on reading it again.
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by Aneko Books. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]
This book certainly lives up to its title. It is a 31-day study, far more in depth than the sort of devotionals one commonly sees, and it is focused around the subject of prayer. If you are familiar with books by the author , you have some idea of what to expect. The author spent a great deal of his time as an author looking at the subject of prayer, and that attention shows. Knowing a bit about the life of the author, and his own dependence on prayer when it came to a throat problem that threatened to end his speaking career, this focus on prayer and the expectation that God will positively answer prayers is something that one can see in these pages and in the body of work by the author as a whole. The image that the title of this book has is a homely but endearing image, namely being present in a classroom with Jesus Christ learning about praying, how to pray and what one prays for and the context of prayer, and that is a good picture for what is provided here.
As one might expect with a study like this one, the individual studies which make up this sizable book of more than 200 pages have a particular format, but it is one that is far more rigorous than the sort of page-a-day devotional guides that are so popular at present. The essays included here are several pages in length, each of them ending with a prayer relating to the subject of the day's study, and sometimes with notes that demonstrate in a subtle way the immense reading of the author not only in the Bible but in the writings in English, Dutch, and German that were current at the time to which the author sometimes points the reader for more details about a given subject. Included among the thirty-one studies are discussions about boldness, God as a father, answers to prayers, specific prayers, the power of prayer, the relationship between prayer and fasting, obedience, some of the facets of Christ in the life of believers, and the purposes of prayer. While some of the studies come back multiple times to similar areas, the author manages to provide reminder in a way that also strikes off in different directions before the book closes with a discussion of a life in prayer and a short biography of the author that puts his interest in prayer in the context of his life as a believer and minister.
If the title gives an image of the reader with Christ in the school of prayer, the book as a whole gives the reader the feel of being in a school of prayer with the author, with someone who clearly has focused a great deal of attention on prayer and sees prayer not only in isolation as a frequent act that a believer engages in as part of communication with God the Father and Jesus Christ, but in connection with other doctrines. For example, the connection between prayer and fasting reminds the author about the sort of demons that can only be removed by those two things, an interesting point to make in a book that is not otherwise focused on demonology. The variety of different facets of the subject of prayer, and the different roles of Christ in responding to our prayers, is something that will keep a reader busy with for longer than a month if they take the study of the author as it was intended. One can tell that the author poured his own life's experience with prayer as well as a great deal of his own reading and study into this book, and that degree of depth shows.
This one gave me a lot to think about. I've marked passages to re-read. Solidly Scripture-based and Jesus-focused, and each chapter ends with a prayer of application and commitment.
This version says the language has been somewhat updated, and I found it accessible. The Bible version is King James. The only thing to be prepared for is that Andrew Murray wrote in an earlier time, and so he talks to men where today he'd be talking to men and women. So keep that context in mind and don't accept unintended offense.
When you pick up a book by Andrew Murray, you know that you are diving into something good. This is doubly true when it is a book on prayer.
In this book, Andrew Murray has 31 chapters that are excellent teachings on various aspects of prayer. The closing of each chapter is itself a short prayer and this book would best be used as a one month devotional on the topic. Each chapter is roughly a 5-10 minute read. At the end of the book, there is a short look at the life of George Muller along with his notes on prayer expounded by AM.
My only complaint is that some of the chapters covered such similar ground that it almost felt that I was reading the same thing over again. On a couple of the days, I did have to double-check that I wasn't reading the wrong chapter.
Here are some quotes I pulled from the book: "Next to the revelation of the Father's love, there is in the whole course of the school of prayer not a more important lesson than this: Everyone that asks receives."
"Let us beware of weakening the Word with our human wisdom. When he tells us heavenly things, let us believe Him."
"The cross of Christ does not make God love us; it is the outcome and measure of His love for us."
"The effectual prayer of faith comes out from a life given up to the will and the love of God. He deals with my prayer not according to what I try to be when praying but what I am when not praying."
"A prayer meeting without recognized answer to prayer should be an anomaly."
"Be slow to take new steps in the Lord's service, in your business, or in your families; weigh everything well; weigh all in the light of the Holy Scriptures and in the fear of God... But when you have found out what the will of God is, seek His help, and seek it earnestly, perseveringly, patiently, believingly, expectantly, and you will surely in His own time and way obtain it."
A classic book from a classic preacher. The explanation seems sporadic about prayer, not explained in methodologically for this book means for devotion, but the principles here very practical and the explanation was straightforward to the point.
This is a life-changing book. All Christians would be benefited by a slow read through it with prayer times set aside to grow as you learn in Christ's school. I meant to include some quotes here, but don't have the book by me now...really just go read it yourself. Maybe one lesson per week would be a good pace.
A difficult read in that it was written in an older style (1890s?) and goes deep into the subject of prayer. Bite size approach is best but then I would miss weeks and months in between chapters. Still, for the contemplative reader, this is a very good series of lessons.
Not terrible by any means, but not written in an engaging way, repetitive, and a bit circular in the way things are said. It also seemed to me to have a slight ring of prosperity gospel, though I don't think this was intended.
"And Jesus answered and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee?" (Mark 10:51; Luke 18:41).
Our prayers must be a distinct expression of definite need, not a vague appeal to His mercy or an indefinite cry for blessing. ... Our expressions of need, sin, love, faith, and consecration must be accompained by an explicit statement of what we are asking for and what we expect to receive.
I have probably prayed tens of thousands of vague prayers.
But the word of the Master teaches us more. He does not say, "What do you wish?" but, "What do you will?" One often wishes for a thing without willing it. I wish to have a certain article but the price is too high, so I decide not take it. I wish, but do not will to have it.
This quote struck me as interesting. Today we frequently contrast WANTS vs. NEEDS. In this case, Andrew Murray polarizes WILL vs. WISH. In a sense, both are WANTS, but the WISH isn't a serious request. The WILL requires us to excerise something beyond a WISH.
The will rules the whole heart and life. If I really will to have something that is within my reach, I do not rest until I have it. When Jesus asks us, "What do you will?" He asks whether it is our intention to get what we ask for at any price, however great the sacrifice. Do you really will to have it enough to pray continuously until He hears you, no matter how long it takes? How many prayers are wishes sent up for a short time and then forgotten! And how many are sent up year after year as a matter of duty, while we complacently wait without the answer.
The prayer of faith which Jesus sought to teach His disciples does not simply proclaim its desire and then leave the decision to God. But [rather] the prayer of faith, finding God's will in some promise of the Word, pleads for that promise until it comes.
I love the idea of staking my faith on one of God's promises and praying for it until I see an answer.
It is often spiritual sloth that, under the appearance of humility, professes to have no will. It fears the trouble of searching for the will of God, or, when found, the struggle of claiming it in faith.
True humility is always accompanied by strong faith. Seeking to know only the will of God, that faith then boldly claims the fulfillment of the promise, "Ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you."
Tough book to judge. There is much that is very edifying in this book that will help the Christian on how to pray; however, I disagree with Murray on his interpretation of how prayer changes the will of God.
I would suggest D.A. Carson's A Call to Spiritual Reformation instead. I know many Christian love this book, but I strongly prefer Carson's book instead.
This is a phenomenal book on prayer by Presbyterian pastor and writer Andrew Murray. It is obvious that Murray does not just teach on prayer--he lives it! I was so stirred and encouraged as I read through this book. For any Christian wanting to grow in the place of prayer, this is a great place to start!
With Christ in the School of Prayer offers thirty-one powerful lessons on prayer. After providing some basic instructions on prayer, Andrew Murray spends much of his time on God's promises to answer our prayers. Rather than write-off unanswered prayers as outside of God's will, Murray challenges us to pray more, seeking both a relationship with God and an understanding of His will.
I appreciate Andrew Murray because he consistently points me back to the gospel and the basics of faith. This book almost started out too basic with reminders that God is a loving father and prayer is a conversation with our loving father. Then it took a hard and sudden turn into deep theology like the nature of the trinity. I’ll have to read this again in a few years because there were definitely parts I didn’t follow. I also wish he’d given more time to prayer and fasting. This is a concept I don’t fully grasp, and while this book gives the best explanation I’ve seen thus far, it was rather brief.
The book is set up to be a 30 day devotional with short chapters that take about 15 minutes to read. The structure didn’t work for me. I think part of the problem may have been the editing in my particular edition, though. There were frequent section headers that I found disruptive to my reading. My edition also included footnotes usually referencing scripture citations, but sometimes adding an editorial note. I also found these distracting.
Several chapters repeated the same ideas. I’ll have to re-read later to see what nuance I missed that justified a new chapter. Still, I did get quite a bit from the first read. I feel like this is a book that will keep giving over the years as I mature and understand more.
“With Christ in the School of Prayer” If you are convicted to pray more, and to really learn how to pray, this is the book for you. Andrew Murray takes the Scriptures where Jesus specifically speaks on prayer, and uses them to teach the reader what it really means to pray. He emphasizes the motivation that must be behind prayer, how a Christian’s life must look to obtain answered prayer, the importance of persevering prayer (even after years of apparent “no answer”), the faith that is required for effective prayer and so much more. All the concepts he explores is drawn not only directly from Scripture, but from Jesus’s teachings. This book is theologically dense, but very relatable to any Christian. I read an average of 4 pages a day, taking over two months to get through it, because I used it as a daily devotional on prayer. Each chapter, each page, contains so much insight, that I believe it more beneficial for the believer to slow down as they read it to really digest what is being said. I highly recommend it to every Christian who wants to know how to pray, and who could use practical, Scriptural steps leading to a more effective and God-centered prayer life.
17 years. That’s how long I’ve been trying to finish this book. And today, TODAY, I finally did!!! After several false starts, I finally get to take my bookmark out.
My brother-in-law gave this to me as a high school senior because he loved it and grew spiritually from it. And from the beginning, I knew it was good. But to be honest, the reading level was a bit beyond me then. Even now it hasn’t been the easiest reading, and I’m convinced there’s been some spiritual warfare keeping me from finishing it. But with renewed determination and a simplified life, I knew now was the time to finish it. Finally. 238 short pages.
And what a journey. What an encouragement. It contains page after page of assurance that God not only hears our prayers but wants to answer the prayers of His children. And while I believe there will always be an element of mystery about how all that works, Murray seeks to demystify wherever possible. It’s not complicated. It’s not difficult. It’s as simple as a child taking to her father. :)
‘With Christ in the School of Prayer’ is a powerful and surprisingly deep look at the subject of prayer. With a focus on the New Testament teachings on prayer and the promises of “whatever you ask,” this book touches on painful truths about our lack in the answers to prayer and just how big the promises are about prayer. With a month’s worth of devotions on the subject, this book breaks down into strong, meaningful lessons about the human struggle with prayer as well as the beautiful promises of God in helping us to tackle this enormous subject of praying aright.
The content is solid, but it might be a bit verbose for the average reader. Written in an older style from the early 1900s, the sentences may sound strange to modern ears. But it is still a fantastic book on prayer and the lessons are both painful but necessary, especially in today’s world. If you’re looking for answers on why prayer is not answered or what the promises of “whatever you ask” really means, this is the book for you. It has great reread value and is an excellent resource. Highly recommended.
This is a book that only got better as I continued reading it. Divided into 31 chapters - enough for each day of any month - based on a Scripture reference regarding prayer, Murray's insights on prayer are inspiring, and this will be a book that I re-read often to encourage and recharge my efforts in and devotion to prayer. Murray especially emphasized the power of prayer and the reality of God's promise that He will hear and answer prayer, that we can ask anything in His name and expect to receive it. Murray explains what this means, and how unanswered prayer is not a limitation of or a fault of God, but rather a problem in our lives: whether that be lack of faith, not living in accordance with God's will, or seeking our own instead of God's glory.
A note on the edition depicted here: do not purchase this edition. The formatting and proof-editing are very poor.
This book was mentioned as a must read by at least two spiritual mentors in my life--men of profound faiths and lives. I don't know why it took me so long to pick it up, but I am very glad to have finally done so. It will go down as one of my favorite books of all time, and I will certainly encourage my children and fellow siblings in Christ to do the same.
The author did a splendid job in breaking down, step by step, what it means to pray by taking Jesus' own words about prayer. I never realized just how much I assumed about prayer, but in reality knew so little. Needless to say, my prayer life has obtained a richness I did not know was possible, or at least did not know how to obtain, before reading this book.
I highly recommend this book to all followers of Jesus!
This classic writing on prayer from the late 1800's was a pleasant surprise. Although the format of the material and some of the language was distracting (4 stars instead of 5), the spiritual insights Murray provided regarding prayer where inspirational. His school of prayer is separated into 31 different lessons--ideal for a month long study. Each lesson is based on a prayer topic, a reference verse or verses, his lesson, and concludes with a prayer. The topics address fundamental subjects regarding prayer as well as difficult areas such as unanswered prayer, asking whatever you desire and it will be given to you, etc. He concludes the book with the example of George Mueller and his prayer-life regarding the remarkable provisions God did for his ever-growing orphanage ministry.