Anyone can talk to, praise, or petition God—the essential nature of prayer—but that doesn’t make it easy. How to start? What to say? Christian publishers offer help to those who want to talk with God but can’t find the right words to express themselves.
One of the most well-known authors on the subject is Anne Graham Lotz, author of numerous books and daughter of beloved evangelist Billy Graham. In the Light of His Presence: Prayers to Draw You Near to the Heart of God will be published by Multnomah in October, and is her third book on prayer following The Daniel Prayer and Storming the Gates of Heaven.
“I hope to use what I have learned through my struggles in prayer to help others with theirs,” said Lotz, explaining that she wrestles with concentration, knowing what to say, and how to say it. “The prayers I have written are my own prayers, flowing out of my heart.”
“The primary requirement for ‘good prayer’ is faith,” said Lotz, adding, “The most well-known prayers, perhaps, are the Psalms found in the Old Testament. People throughout the centuries have used them for help in prayer.” While she also loves the prayer of the prophet Daniel for his nation (Daniel 9) and Jesus’ prayer the night before his crucifixion (John 17), Lotz admitted the prayers she prays most are “Thank you!” and “Help!”
Women are a key audience for books of prayers. According to the Pew Research Center, about 74% of Christian women say they pray at least once a day, compared to 60% of men. Combine those stats with Nielsen BookScan’s data showing 59% of Christian nonfiction book buyers are female, and publishers are eager to reach praying readers.
One-Minute Prayers for a Woman’s Year (Harvest House, Sept.) offers 365 short prayers to help readers invite God in and allow him to speak. The book is one of many in the One-Minute Prayers franchise, which has sold over 1.5 million copies. Others include the October release of One-Minute Prayers for Young Women Deluxe Edition and One-Minute Prayers for Young Men Deluxe Edition. One Minute Prayers for Hope and Comfort came out in May.
“Our main buyers are women looking for devotional content for themselves (One-Minute Prayers for Women is the # 1 title in the series) and women who are looking for gifts, which is why we feel One-Minute Prayers for Men and One-Minute Prayers for Young Men have done so well,” said Barb Sherrill, executive v-p/publisher for Harvest House’s McKenzie Group. “I think people are looking for connection with God and prayer is a powerful pathway for that to happen.”
Harvest House plans more books on the topic, with One-Minute Prayers for Leaders next May and the new “Short Prayers” series—Short Prayers to Change Your Life available now and two more to follows in 2021.
Tyndale is releasing CALLED to Pray: 52 Devotions & Prayers for Women by Marsha DuCille (Feb. 2021). DuCille has written numerous books and is founder and publisher of CALLED magazine, a digital lifestyle magazine for Christian woman that reaches over 850,000. Each weekly devotion leads readers through a prayer experience and into a more meaningful prayer life.
Barbour Books offers The 5-Minute Prayer Plan Journal for Women (Aug.). Ninety 5-minute plans include Scripture for meditation, questions and points to consider, and a jump-starter prayer to help readers into a time with God. Additionally, Barbour will publish The Prayer Map for a Less Stressed Life (Jan. 2021), a guide for people to write out thoughts, ideas, and lists to create a “map” for praying. The guided “map” for prayer walks a person through daily prayer time with prompts for thanksgiving, praise, and more. The Prayer Map line is part of Barbour’s Faith Maps series, which has sales over 300,000 copies for the 20-plus titles. “Our Prayer Maps have been very popular with women, but we’ve seen a growing number of them being sold for kids, teens, and men,” said Kelly McIntosh, v-p of editorial for Barbour, which has Prayer Map books for all those categories.
Barbour Books is releasing Prayers for Difficult Times for Men: When You Don’t Know What to Pray (Aug.), a compilation of short prayer starters to help in difficult times including illness, relationship issues, self-worth, and daily life stress. A short devotion and Scripture accompany each prayer. A prayer starter, according to McIntosh, is “a short prayer meant to springboard the reader into deeper, more focused prayer.”
Chosen Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group that focuses on Spirit-led books, will publish Combat Prayers to Crush the Enemy by John Ramirez (May 2021), a handbook of militant prayers to help Christians prepare for spiritual combat. Topics include releasing the thunder of God against the devil and loosing God’s blessings.
Two books tap into the Lord’s Prayer to explore how to pray and bring this ancient prayer into modern understanding. Teach Us to Pray: The Lord’s Prayer in the Early Church and Today by Justo L. Gonzales (Eerdmans, June) draws on Scripture, early Church Fathers, and his own life to make this prayer comprehensible to modern Christians. For another look at the Lord’s Prayer, try Journey in Prayer: 7 Days of Praying with Jesus (Moody, May), a seven-day exploration of the prayer’s petitions that reveal its importance and impact. Reflection questions, prayer prompts, and sample prayers are included.