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Too Busy Not to Pray: Slowing Down to Be With God
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Too Busy Not to Pray: Slowing Down to Be With God

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  10,651 ratings  ·  308 reviews
The 10th-anniversary edition of this popular book challenges you to take time to pray, to listen to God, to respond to what God is saying to you, and to overcome prayer barriers.
Paperback, 191 pages
Published April 1st 1998 by InterVarsity Press (first published 1988)
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Dec 26, 2008 rated it really liked it
Too Busy not to Pray (Slowing down to be with God)
Bill Hybels
Inter-Varsity Press
ISBN: 0-85111-329-X

I read this book as part of the preparation for the week of prayer at Christ Church. Our vicar Warner recommended it. The back cover overview starts "Why should we pray? How can we when we are so busy?". Thats covers some of the reasons why I wanted to read it. Others include the questions of technique - just exactly WHAT can you do that will help you engage with God. The clue to this is in the sub
I read this with a group of women at my church. Having not seriously prayed in 30+ years, I found the "instruction" quite good. However, as usually is the case with book clubs, the discussions we had, whether directly about this book or other things, was almost more useful than the book.

Here are a just a few (paraphrased) lines from the book which particularly resounded with me (recently returned to God):

-"Prayer is an unnatural activity...alien to our proud human nature".
-"It is hard for God to
Nov 16, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Too Busy Not to Pray was a 15-week study with my women's bible study group. This study challenged us to slow down in our busy lives & take the time to pray. We learned about God calling us into his presence, inviting us to talk with Him continuously, methods to use to break down the barriers that prevent us from praying to God, recognizing how God speaks to our hearts, and most importantly listening to & taking action when God prompts us. In one of the lessons we contemplated on The Lord's Praye ...more
Jan 13, 2021 rated it really liked it
Hybels' approach to prayer is straightforward and clear. While challenging readers to reconsider the busy in their lives, Hybels is not critical or judgmental. Through sharing Scripture and seasons of prayerlessness in his own life, Hybels demonstrates we are better with a consistent prayer life than without one. This is a solid book for believers in various stages of faith-- from those who need to get out of a rut, to those who are looking to refresh their prayer life, or those who just would l ...more
Aug 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
“When was the last time you prayed diligently over a period of time for your spouse, your parents or your children? Or for someone to come to know Christ? Or for peace in war-torn parts of the world? Or that God’s power would cause a revolution in your church? Or that God would put you to work for his glory?”

This is an excerpt from this month’s book and it has really challenged me to re-address my prayer struture and indeed my prayer life. I’ve come to realise that for a while my style of prayer
May 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The title caught my eye. An easy read with good thought provoking questions. A few examples.

Being aware of the meaning of our prayers. We bless the food to nourish our bodies, even if it is greasy and we chase it with a sugary drink. What nourishment can really come from this type of food, yet we all say it.

He told the story about having to talk in front of a large group and was very worried he was going to let the bigger leaders down. Then the words to a song came to him and made him realize h
Karissa Stoner
Jun 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: spiritual-growth
This book has been so refreshing! The author lays out clearly why we pray and how to pray well. Through the use of some satire, Hybles uses stories and examples to show the importance of humbly and worship fully praying to the Father.
Jonathan Beigle
Mar 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book sat on my shelf for a long time because I thought I'd already read it. I'm glad I pulled it off and got a strong refresher on what it means to pray. The title of the book is interesting because I had just finished Crazy Busy by Kevin DeYoung. It was cool to read these books back to back. Though I don't know Bill Hybels, he has influenced me a lot through his book Just Walk Across the Room. In that book, he seems like such a humble and meek person that is willing to do anything for the ...more
Jan 14, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and reading it was timely for me as I have been trying to make my prayers more meaningful and to better my relationship with my Heavenly Father. It was interesting to me that right at the beginning of the book, Hybels reports that prayer goes against what we are taught from birth. We are told to be independent, yet we stop to ask for help when we pray. I like how he simply states that we just need a quiet room to pray and that is all. This means we can pray anywher ...more
Feb 17, 2009 rated it really liked it
Easily read, very practical treatment of prayer, taking up the cause of the person who would like to or used to pray, with specifics on how to get going or resume. After discussing potential roadblocks--like holding grudges or sins we haven't given up--the author offers very practical suggestions on praying.

In summary, his method is a simple technique of single-page daily journaling (great for busy people and those who go way overboard). Divide your journal page with 2 titles: "Yesterday"--an e
Brent Soderstrum
Mar 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
Good book on a very important topic-our conversations with your creator. This book, along with a class I was taking at the same time, got me to make it more then a one way conversation with me doing all the talking. I learned the importance of listening and what to listen for. I also have learned to journal my prayers so I can re-examine them at a later point to see how God has answered my prayers. I know I love to hear from my kids so it should go without saying that God loves to hear from us.
Sydney Drinkwater
Jan 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Update: Read this several years ago (review below is from then). Now it's 2020 and I'm updating books on authors I'm now concerned about. Be discerning. Not so sure about Hybels' theology now.

Excellent book. Clearly written for all "levels" of Christians with down-to-earth, practical advice I will be putting to use. Deeper thoughts mixed well with real-life stories made it a book easy to keep reading.
Has Reflection & Discussion questions in the back that would make for a good Bible Study with a
Dec 01, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone needing help learning to pray
Shelves: prayer
Great introductory book on prayer--many books recommend too many things to implement. Bill Hybels gives a very readable, practical and inspiring way to pray daily that jump-started my prayer life when it was stalled. I wouldn't recommend someone to make this a formula for a lifetime of prayer, but it's a great structure to develop key habits and basic skills of prayer--which I use to this day. ...more
Jul 31, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This really put things in perspective regarding busyness and spirituality. It isn't just a book stating reasons why we're too busy not to pray and doesn't make you feel completely guilty for putting spirituality on the back burner. Instead, it provides practical tips on how you can keep God first in all areas of your life and pray more. ...more
Sep 05, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Christians
I'm only half way through this book so far but it's really challenging my way of thinking about prayer (and how low on my priority list making time with God is). It's a very practical book with lots of tips, and has reminded me how important it is to pray! ...more
Ed Marriott
I should have read this years ago and I think I'll need to read it again. Excellent discourse on the power of prayer, why and how someone should pray, and why your prayers may not be heard. ...more
Jeffrey McDowell
Mar 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
An excellent resource for those who are wanting to make prayer a priority in their lives.
Taylor Simpson
Mar 22, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
People who cut themselves off from God's direction find their religious experience becoming cerebral, predictable, boring and--often--past tense.

At the time of writing this, books focusing on spiritual discipline and practical growth in the life of the Christian have been somewhat rare in my reading agenda. I'm no stranger to this genre--being a fan of some of the spiritual discipline giants like Tozer, Ravenhill, Foster, etc.--but most of my reading for a while has been more on the analytical a
Meghan Carpenter
Jan 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
I was a little hesitant to read this book because the reviews were so varied, but for having relatively low expectations I was pleasantly surprised.

While most of this content isn’t “new” or “groundbreaking” I think that’s true of a lot of Christian- Discipline type books. At the end of the day, Spiritual Disciplines just aren’t “new”- and as many reviews said, they are “basic.” However, that hardly means they aren’t worth revisiting.

I’ve been a Christian for quite a while now. I’ve read the Bi
Sep 06, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hybels, for me, is an author (and man) who wins in the category of authenticity. He is helpful with the widsom he has, and open about his own doubts and questions. It's needed for a voice informing on categories of God's mysteries to be clear that we don't always understand things like prayer in a way that is systematized or categorical, and that there are always moments when we're at a loss that God either doesn't seem to hear or to care about what is for us a heartfelt need.

This book lost some
Noelle Sampson
Apr 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
I don't like to review my devotional books as in-depth as my other books, as I consider it a good read if I felt that any of it resonated with me and affected the way I interact with God and the world around me, which this book certainly did. The author had occasional moments that didn't resonate with me as deeply as other books have, but I did find he offered ample amount of theology without sounding too erudite. In this book, Hybels outlines the basics of how to approach prayer in a way that i ...more
Melissa Omolo
Sep 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: spiritual-growth
The book was good because I learnt that the only way I can make my prayer life effective is being a righteous person. As James 5:16 Amplified Bible (AMP) states…”The heartfelt and persistent prayer of a righteous man (believer) can accomplish much [when put into action and made effective by God—it is dynamic and can have tremendous power].”When prayer is done right, it changes the person who prays as well. I also learnt that it is important to practise praying regularly, privately, sincerely and ...more
Nov 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
A very personal review.
A patient gave this to me at my old working place. I kept it at home and unknowingly, I forgot to read it.

There was a conviction one august afternoon (probably) when I was at home. I glanced at our bookshelves and there it was, this book. That time, I was in a very confusing stage of my life where as a christian, I know this may seem not unique, I rarely pray or worse, I do not. I had an ambiguous relationship with God back then because of what I had been through. However
Apr 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
I actually bought this book when I was too busy swamped with a lot of stuff. Maybe not too swamped to pray, but I could do with more time.

The book is only 15 chapters long, but I wanted to read only one per day, so as to really soak in the message.

To be honest, the book could do with a better title. I was kind of expecting some tips for me to pray more, despite my "busyness". But this book was more on how to pray effectively. Which was, in a way, what I really need[ed]. (Thank You, Lord!)

For tho
Ryan Hawkins
Aug 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed reading this book before my prayer times in the morning. It’s a very easy read, and most of his chapters provide a good spark to prayer. That being said, it is nothing like EM Bounds or even RA Torrey. Rather, it is a modern evangelical book explaining prayer and why it is so important. Some of his personal insight, and his emphasis on prayer's effectiveness to bring about communion with God, answers, and joy, were very helpful.

I would hesitantly recommend it as an easy read on prayer
May 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Read. This. BOOK. If you read one Christian book or one book on prayer or one book so you don't have to read another friggin' Tube advert, read this. It combines practical tips with theoretical explanations, anecdotes with biblical quotes and deep faith with an honest recognition of failure. I love how well structured it is, so you can easily refer back to it in a prayer crisis (yeah, that's a thing), and even as I zoomed through it I knew I would be reading it again.

Is there more to say on pra
Nov 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is wonderful, filled with good advice and hard questions that really make you examine yourself - at least the self you know as a Christian. Do you really know how to pray? Do you actually put effort into the prayer? To thinking about what you want to discuss with the Father and then listening for what He wants to tell you?

I'm working to put the practical advice into practice in my life. I don't think sincere prayer is something we ever get to stop working on. It's too easy to become la
Ben Reynolds
Jun 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Someone once said that people need to be reminded more often than they need to be instructed. This is certainly the case when it comes to prayer. As Christians, we know how important it is to pray. But as our lives get busy, prayer is one of the first things that gets neglected in our overloaded schedules. In this book, Bill Hybels reminds us to slow down and intentionally dedicate time each day to spend with God in prayer. The value of this book is not in any revolutionary content, but in the s ...more
Nancy Bandusky
The book has some good topics regarding prayer including unanswered prayer and the importance of listening.
The book ends a little weak as it seems to go off topic.
I also didn't care for the author's criticisms of praying for what we already have (for example - praying for God to be with us) as it could easily cause one to be overly concerned about how things are phrased to our heavenly father when the Bible states in Romans 8:26 (KJV) "Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we kno
May 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Great book about prayer. It's important to make time for God, and the way we can do that on a daily/regular basis is by taking time out of our busy lives for prayer. Hybels had a lot of really great things to say in this book, and one of my favorites was the suggestion of keeping a prayer/spiritual journal. He mentions that not many people in this day and age live a contemplative, examined life, and that keeping a prayer/spiritual journal forces you to slow down and look at what really happened ...more
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A Study of the Word: prayer 6 12 Sep 22, 2013 04:10PM  

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Bill Hybels is the founding and senior pastor of Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Illinois, a non-denominational church with eight regional locations in the Chicago area. He is the bestselling author of more than twenty books, including Simplify, Axiom, Holy Discontent, Just Walk Across the Room, The Volunteer Revolution, Courageous Leadership, Too Busy Not to Pray, and Becoming ...more

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