Book Review: Pray Big by Alistair Begg

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God is pleased with a praying believer. That’s a fundamental truth. It should bring a believer joy because not only that God is listening to our prayer, He is also pleased when we pray. There is no question that whatever prayer we bring to God, He will give His attention. But is there a specific prayer God wants us to pray? Of course, we are not here to discover a prayer that is much like casting a spell or some sort of code, once prayed, God will gladly obliged. Our aim is to further please Him and in the process bless us.

In Pray Big, Alistair Begg  encourages us in these pages to pray a more profound prayer from this beloved apostle. While Begg doesn’t discount other prayers specially those personal ones,   Pray Big demonstrates a prayer what is more needed that will bring a much more blessing to us, to others and glorify God. He starts by showing the Christian on the relationship he has with God and the benefits of being in union with our Creator. That is the jump off point to which this book further unleashes the prayer most needed to be on the lips of every believer.

This is not an epic read with all dramatic and moving stuff. It’s a plain excursion through one prayer of the apostle to the Gentiles that reminds us the big prayer we should meditate and pray. But that doesn’t mean that the simplicity of book means less. It does make room for awe and praise for God who wants us to pray the prayer that matters to Him. It’s plain but it’s what prayers should be . It’s simple but it’s essential. Definitely, Begg is spot on here when it comes to prayer.

Pray Big is a short easy read with a simple message, that is to desire to pray as Paul did for the believers in Ephesus. Simple yet we would likely to forget that these words. Begg’s book help us so we will keep it in mind. Paul’s prayer being moved by the Holy Spirit is essential for us in the Christian life. So start praying like an apostle today!

My verdict:

4 out of 5

8 Favorite Quotes From the Book “Pray Big” by Alistair Begg

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In these troubled times, we need God’s sovereign hand. Nothing in this world can be more comforting than seeking God who holds and sustains everything. Whether it’s the pandemic or as personal as asking for provision, God will surely listen to our petitions.

Here’s some quotes from the book, Pray Big by Alistair Begg published by The Good Book Company. If you like these quotes, please get the book by clicking here.

“Our conversation with others declares what is on our minds. But our conversation with God in private reveals what is in our hearts. Listen to someone pray—or listen to yourself pray—and you gain a window into the very center of the being.”

“The Christian knows that the Creator of everything is not a father; he’s their Father. That’s not a metaphor—that’s a reality.”

“A self-assured person is not going to pray prayers of petition; there’s no need to pray if you think you have got it all covered. A self-righteous person is not going to pray prayers of confession; there’s no need to pray if you think you’re good enough to earn God’s blessing. But the person who knows their heart before God—the person who knows the depth of their need of forgiveness and help from God.”

“If Jesus Christ, the greatest teacher in the world, followed up his instruction by prayer, what of us? If Jesus Christ, who was set on a mission that changed not just world history but all of eternity, took time to pray, what of us? If Jesus Christ, the Son of God, knew that he needed to pray, what of us?”

“Christ has gone ahead, and Christ has prepared your place. It’s hard to see day by day. Even when we understand intellectually, we may give in to fear emotionally. That’s why you need to ask God to make your hope real to you, and ask God to make it real to those around you. Pray for a focus on your hope. “

“Our knowledge of the love of Christ, in our heads and our hearts, is an experiential knowledge, but it can never be an exhaustive knowledge. We cannot exhaust the knowledge of the love of Christ. There are dimensions to his love that will always remain beyond us, even as we come to appreciate more and more how vast it is.”

“My prayers—whether I pray, how much I pray, about what I pray—reveal my priorities. And they reveal how much I really think I need God, or whether I am, deep down, in fact self-assured and self-righteous. “

“Prayer reminds us who we are, and who our Father is. Prayer expresses our dependence and it reinforces our dependence.”

Book Review: A Week in the Life of a Slave by John Byron

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I think this is my second time to review a fictional book and this one is my first biblical historical fiction.

At first I’m abit surprise on how Paul, Philemon and Onesimus was portraited. Adding to that Demas was also in the story and had moments, knowing in the back of our mind, he will be a backslider according to the Bible.

A Week in the Life of a Slave delivers an interesting and page turning story of Onesimus and Philemon. It follows the fugitive slave to his journey to escaping his master, meeting Paul, the crisis with his presence in the prison where Paul was in, his conversion and his return to Philemon.

If you think this is just a simple and boring story about slavery in Bible times, well you’re mistaken. I was mistaken till I got that light bulb moment. It gives you the glimpse on how we as Christian are heir to Christ.

There are no boring or dragging parts in the book. You’ll find this book a delightful read every time you jump back in.  The supporting characters are interesting and had all been given a fair share of spotlight both real and fictional ones. Then every conversation are spot on. You can feel the emotions jumping over you without being over the top.

The latter chapters before the conclusion for me are the best conversations that I read from the book. The sub plot was well executed and it really helped the main plot.

If the narrative itself is good, the “information box” that accompanies the story is superb. Well written and with great images, it gives out the backstory in every twist and turn of the story. It feels like your reading book within a book. You can use it in either; read it so you’ll for the some cultural background of the story; ignore it and still the story is solid or for future reference material. But if you ask me, the information box will definitely enhance the reading of the already solid narrative.

A Week in the Life of a Slave is a must read that tackles Christian issues of equality and forgiveness that can’t be easily done in a non-fiction format. It doesn’t just fill your mind but this book wins your heart. Highly recommended!

My verdict:

5 out of 5

 

(Review copy of this book was provided by Inter Varsity Press)

4 Reason Why It Is Wrong to Fear Men Part 2

“Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.
Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.”–Acts 5:28-29

3.) They can put you down because of who you are, but what matters is what we are in Christ.

Acts 4:13 “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.”

Does it matter to a Christian how unbelievers think of us? The ungenerated may prioritize on education we achieve, the success that we had or how we look but all is farce compare on who Christ thing of us. Our identity in Christ is the most important thing

4.) They can threaten you, but persecution is promised before hand.

You may read lots of verses pertaining to the promises of God to a believer. But dont forget Jesus promised that you will be persecuted forrighteous sake. This will definately will pin you down and instill fear to your heart.

Matthew 5:10-12 “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness ‘sake:for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.Rejoice, and be exceeding glad:for great is your reward in heaven:for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.”

Despite of the persecution, according to verse 12 of Matthew 5, we are to rejoice and be glad for God will take note of it and reward you. Look at what the apostles did after they were threaten by the enemies of Christ:

Acts 4:23-30 “And being let go, they went to their own company, and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said unto them. And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is: Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things? The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ. For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done. And now, Lord, behold their threatenings:and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word, By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus.”

May this be our response as we face men for Christ fearlessly.