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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

"Radical Prayer" (Manny Mill)

TITLE: Radical Prayer: The Power of Being Bold and Persistent
AUTHOR: Manny Mill
PUBLISHER: Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2015, (192 pages).

From Prayer Readers to Prayer Radicals. This is what this book is about. It is not just prayer per se that makes it powerful. It is about God. Prayer is everything about God. Such a focus beyond ourselves, a longing for the Divine, and unreserved desiring after God is the heart of radical prayer. Author Manny Mills goes a step further by saying that radical praying fulfills "the Great Commandment and, in doing so, equips and unleashes individual believers like you and me to slavishly know and serve God as His loving witnesses to this lost world." The author is Manny Mill, CEO of Koinonia House, who graduated from Wheaton College and works behind prison walls both inside and outside the US.

Mill starts at the beginning that we need to experience a crisis of ministry before we can build a conviction in prayer. A prayerless preacher is essentially a self-dependent person. Without prayer, one will be spiritually disqualified from preaching. Prayer is not about asking for things whenever we have a need. It is a relationship that we cherish and long after God more and more. Once we are convicted about prayer, we are ready for radical change. Helped by the prayer writings of E.M. Bounds, Mill gets a renewed personal application of sola scripture as the basis of all prayer. Prayer must become our mother tongue, our default language, and our natural behaviour. He begins to work on removing the distractions to prayer. His attempts at prayer walking trigger some concern about his health. He learns about three roadblocks to prayer:
  1. Fear of Sins exposed
  2. Fear of Pain
  3. Fear of Losing Control
Such fear can be overcome by love, just like his pastor friends, Eric and Marco, who led a gang member to Christ after battling evil forces with prayer and the Word of God. It was a powerful story of how Freddie the gang member openly pleaded guilty to his past crimes and miraculously spared of jail. While the presiding judge base his trust on the testimonies of the two pastors cum police officers, Mill points out the bigger reason: God's Mercy.  What does radical prayer looks like? There are several facets to that. The primary one is the relentless focus on God's glory. Using the Lord's Prayer, Mill shows us six basic petitions for our prayers. With hallowing God's Name as the primary purpose, the rest of the five are aimed at supporting this. Like praying for God's Kingdom come, that God's Name be hallowed. Or Receiving our daily bread for the glory of God. Radical Prayer is shamelessly persistent. It continues to ask, knock, and seek. It is different from badgering God as it is not about the intensity of our asking but the depth of our heart's longing for God to be glorified. Radical prayer is also powerful as prayer is asking for God's direct presence with us. We pray for the Holy Spirit to be with us, to anoint us for good works, and to pray in the power of the Holy Spirit. Radical prayer is love. We intercede for loved ones because we love them. We pray that God be glorified because we love God. Mill turns the Old Testament narrative of Moses bargaining with God, as a way in which God tempered Moses's emotions. That is most interesting as in our modern therapeutic and self-reliant world, we let prayer help us depend on God solely for inner healing. Radical prayer is also expressed in visible action. Actions of good works spring off from a position of prayer. Radical prayer is also redemption at work. Mill shares about George Whitefield's four petitions to imitate Christ via humility, passion, burning love, and "single eye." Radical prayer is total surrender, honest confession, selfless "servitude," eager expectancy, and committed obedience. 

On and on, the pages overflow with pleas for readers to pray as they read. Not only can readers learn about the importance of prayer, the book makes me want to put the book down and just pray. If there is a single take away from the reading of this book, it is one thing: God's glory. The Lord's Prayer is about praying God's glory be done. The Old Testament reveals the character of God, that when we look at the ancient world and how God has shown his mercy, we are filled with praise of how mighty and patient he has been. The New Testament magnifies the person of Jesus Christ, to show us the way how Jesus himself had glorified the Father. With the Holy Spirit dwelling in us, we are able to focus on honouring and glorifying God in whatever we do. In prayer, we learn to do just that.

Radical prayer is not about a series of steps or methodologies to intercede. It is simply about rearranging all of our scattered activities, laying aside of distractions, and learning to bring all things under the lordship of Christ. It is one thing to say we want to do God's will. It is yet another to be sincere and convicted that God's will be done on earth as it is in heaven. In the same manner, we can pray for God's will to be done not just in the lives of other people, but also in our own lives. Radical prayer helps us to beware of prayer hypocrisy. For when we tell other people not to worry or to be too fixated about asking God for things of this world or miracles for our loved ones, we must pray that God's will be felt in our hearts first. When God is deeply felt, when we start to pray, we will not be too distracted about the curing of the person but the caring of God for us. We can be orientated not toward the gifts but the Giver. We will get a fresh appreciation of what it means to pray, and how radical praying can become the most natural thing for the disciple of Christ to do.

Rating: 4.25 stars of 5.


This book is provided to me courtesy of Moody Publishers and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

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