Prayer varies among many of the world’s religions, from where to pray, whom to pray to, and the "right” words to use, but one aspect of prayer that Christians in particular seem to question the most is how to pray effectively.
“Everyone at some point wonders, 'Are my prayers doing any good?',” said John Eldredge, the bestselling author of Wild At Heart (Thomas Nelson, 2001) and the forthcoming Moving Mountains (Nelson Books, Feb.), in which he writes about how “some prayers work, and some prayers don’t."
“Prayer is something to be learned, just as you learned to read or drive," said Eldredge. “Most people just shoot up prayers like bottle rockets; if we will learn to pray, we will see more results.”
In Moving Mountains, Eldredge uses his experience as a teacher and a counselor to examine Christian prayer through numerous scriptural references and passages, while also encouraging readers to pray for specific purposes. Eldredge, who is also the director of Ransomed Heart, a Christian ministry dedicated to teaching the importance of daily prayer, believes that “the number one mistake people make when it comes to prayer is approaching it simply as ‘asking’ and then waiting to see if anyone heard you.”
Instead, Eldredge wants people to learn and use different types of prayers—such as those for healing—to communicate with God. “Effective prayer is far more a partnership with God than it is begging him to do something,” he said.
Prayer as a partnership is a key message in Moving Mountains, as is praying with authority, as opposed to a more passive manner. For example, the phrase “I’ll pray for you” can leave a hurting person feeling empty. Instead, Eldredge says that immediate, confident prayer is more appropriate, and he encourages people to embrace on-the-spot prayer.
“It’s really funny, how surprised people are when you actually pause and pray in the midst of an ordinary day,” he said. “They wanted prayer; they may have even asked for prayer. But, still, they are rather shocked when you actually stop and do it.”
Eldredge hopes that Moving Mountains not only helps readers experience the power of effective prayer, but that the book deepens their faith in God.
“If we really believed prayer works, then, my goodness, we would be doing it all the time,” he said.