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Book Review

E.M. Bounds on Prayer - by Bounds, E.M.

New Kensington, PA: Whitaker House, 1996. 622 pp.
Reviewed by Sarah Clayton, wife of TMS student Tommy Clayton.

If your home is anything like mine, the only thing you lack in the book department is a place to shelve them all. With so many spiritual growth tools at our disposal, it is easy to undervalue their worth. Recently I chose a gem of a book from our shelves that had felt nothing but my feather duster for over seven years. The book was Prayer by E.M. Bounds, a nineteenth century preacher who wrote extensively on the subject of prayer. With a length of 622 pages, it is daunting for the less than avid reader. The subject of prayer and my desperate need for growth in this area led me to choose it. Much to my delight, I quickly discovered this book was not at all what I had expected. Bounds’ many writings on prayer were compiled to form this book which is broken up into brief, pleasantly digestible segments so that it reads much like a devotional.

It is obvious from page one that the man who penned these writings was a man completely given to prayer. He had the kind of prayer life most Christians can only dream about. It was said of Bounds that prayer was as natural to him as breathing. After reading him for two months, I fully believe that statement. “The most important lesson we can learn is how to pray,” Bounds says. The author uses Scripture, notable quotes from true prayer warriors and his own profound thoughts to constantly challenge his readers to embrace the unfathomable importance of prayer. The priority of prayer becomes so elevated for the reader that one can’t help but take radical steps to spend as much time as possible upon one’s knees. I have never read more contagious words on prayer from another Christian author beyond Scripture. Whether he is convincing you of the astounding results true prayer achieves or of the fact that everything in this world is shaped by prayer, Bounds leaves indelible, life-changing impressions on his readers.

Therefore, the believer who is most highly skilled in prayer will do the most for God…the strongest one in Christ’s kingdom is he who can knock the best, and the secret of success in Christ’s kingdom is the ability to pray (p. 13)

The author has much to say to church leaders and their commitment to prayer. This book has had a great impact on my husband and I as we examine our own Kingdom commitments. It is a must read for all Christians, especially men and women called into ministry.

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