"Transforming Prayer: How Everything Changes When You Seek God's Face" by Daniel Henderson.
Bethany House Publishers, Minneapolis, Minnesota, © 2011, 236 pages, $13.99
Most Christians would eagerly embrace the idea of deepening their prayer life in order to experience more of who God is and what He has planned for our lives. The problem, however, is exactly how to accomplish that. Do we spend more time in prayer, pray in a new or different manner or speak less and thus open up spaces for God to communicate with us?
The answer to all of those questionsto some degreeis yes.
Daniel Henderson, however, who has spent many years in ministry, including prayer-focused efforts, believes that our prayer lives can be transformed by approaching God in a more worship-minded manner. He lays out this approach in "Transforming Prayer: How Everything Changes When You Seek God's Face."
Henderson is president of Strategic Renewal, an organization that helps churches and individuals renew their passion for Jesus Christ. In addition, Henderson teaches part-time at Liberty University and is pastor of prayer and renewal at Thomas Road Baptist Church in Virginia.
He also served for more than 25 years as a pastor. He was most recently the Senior Pastor of Grace Church in Eden Prairie, Minnesota for three years, and Senior Pastor at Arcade Church in Sacramento, California for 11 years prior to that.
Henderson now describes his passion as a "spiritual pyromaniac, traveling to churches and conferences, demonstrating the power of seeking God's face and leading prayer experiences that establish a fresh, life-transforming approach to prayer."
In our fast-paced society, many Christians cite lack of time for prayer or an unprepared heart, as our minds race to the next thing we have to accomplish on our to-do list. Many times prayer becomes an afterthought, something uttered as we walk out the door or spoken during times of crises.
Henderson writes: "Sadly, too many times we engage in prayer with little thought for the reality that we are in the presence of the Almighty and that we are invited, even commanded, to seek His face."
Yet instead of seeking His face, Henderson wonders if we concentrate too much on composing and uttering our prayer lists. He sees "little evidence" in Scripture for prayer lists that focus nearly exclusively on temporal concerns.
He writes: "I am not suggesting that everyone stop using prayer lists. But we must recognize the possibility that our prayer lists are replacing the Scriptures and the Spirit as the primary content providers for our prayer times."
With that in mind, Henderson gets to the heart of "Transforming Prayer": encouraging believers to respond to the invitation to spend devoted time with the Creator of the universe in a worship-minded mannerand then see our lives transformed.
Henderson encourages believers to adopt worship-based prayer by being committed to starting our prayers from the Bible, praying with the Scriptures open and keeping our focus on (abiding in) Christ.
The last half of the book forms the foundation for what Henderson believes is worship-based prayer, including tips and ideas for adopting this approachboth for individuals and for groups. It's a very thorough effort at laying out his vision for worship-based prayer, and every reader will find something challenging and helpful in these chapters.
"Transforming Prayer" also includes five appendixes, which offer additional help and information on the idea of transforming your prayer life. The appendixes are filled with examples from the Old and New Testament and attempt to buttress Henderson's points.
He also provides real-world examples of people who have adopted this approach to prayer, which serves to encourage readers in their own prayer lives.
"Transforming Prayer" can be purchased at www.strategicrenewal.com