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Praying Backwards: Transform Your Prayer Life by Beginning in Jesus' Name [Paperback]

By Bryan Chapell (Author)
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Item description for Praying Backwards: Transform Your Prayer Life by Beginning in Jesus' Name by Bryan Chapell...

Overview
Chapell explains that "in Jesus name, amen" is a common way to end a prayer, but to pray in Christ's name is really the beginning of understanding prayer and its power in people's lives.

Publishers Description
Christians often say, "In Jesus' name" to close their prayers. But is this truly a desire of the heart or a perfunctory "Yours Truly" to God? Bryan Chapell says we should begin our prayers in Jesus' name-we should be "Praying Backwards." In this practical and inspiring book, he shows readers that to truly pray in Jesus' name is to reorder one's priorities in prayer-and in life-away from oneself and towards Jesus and his kingdom. It is to pray believing in the power and the goodness of the One who hears, and thus to pray boldly, expectantly, and persistently.
Readers seeking to transform their prayer lives will find wonderful direction in "Praying Backwards."

Community Description
Christians often say "In Jesus' name" to close their prayers. But is this truly a desire of the heart or a perfunctory "Yours Truly" to God? Bryan Chapell says we should begin our prayers in Jesus' name--we should be Praying Backwards. In this practical and inspiring book, he shows readers that to truly pray in Jesus' name is to reorder one's priorities in prayer--and in life--away from oneself and toward Jesus and his kingdom. It is to pray believing in the power and the goodness of the One who hears, and thus to pray boldly, expectantly, and persistently. Readers seeking to transform their prayer lives will find wonderful direction in this book.

Please Note, Community Descriptions and notes are submitted by our shoppers, and are not guaranteed for accuracy.


From Publishers Weekly
The words "in Jesus' name, Amen"-traditionally used to close Christian prayer-take on significantly deeper meaning thanks to Chapell's newest book. The former pastor, now president of Covenant Theological Seminary, urges readers to use that routine phrase as the premise and basis for prayer rather than merely tacking it on at the end. Chapell offers a well-written, well-organized discussion of prayer based on Jesus' prayer life and biblical principles. The book is unusually rigorous and insightful. Chapell answers tough questions-Why bother to pray? Why does God want persistent prayer? How can we know God's will?-with sound, biblical answers. His metaphor of praying within the "fence posts" of righteousness and prudence along the road to God's will is especially apt. He also includes a thorough discussion of the role of the Holy Spirit, sometimes overlooked in other books on prayer. Finally, Chapell doesn't hesitate to admit that prayer, patience and understanding God's plan are difficult. He says that believers don't need to stop putting "in Jesus' name" at the end of prayer; they need to start putting God's priorities first. As he explains, "Praying in Jesus' name is not merely the postscript to a good prayer; it is the prelude to God's providing the best of all things for his loved ones." (July) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Citations And Professional Reviews
Praying Backwards: Transform Your Prayer Life by Beginning in Jesus' Name by Bryan Chapell has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
  • Publishers Weekly - 05/16/2005 page 55
  • Ingram Advance - 06/01/2005 page 116


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Item Specifications...


Studio: Baker Books
Pages   205
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.4" Width: 5.5" Height: 0.6"
Weight:   0.66 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jul 1, 2005
Publisher   Baker Publishing Group
Edition  Reprinted  
ISBN  0801065275  
ISBN13  9780801065279  


Availability  6 units.
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More About Bryan Chapell


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Bryan Chapell is the senior pastor of Grace Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Peoria, Illinois. He is also the host of a daily half-hour radio Bible teaching program, Unlimited Grace, and the founder and chairman of Unlimited Grace Media (unlimitedgrace.com). Bryan previously served as the president of Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri, and is the author of a number of books, including Holiness by Grace.



Bryan Chapell currently resides in St. Louis, in the state of Missouri.

Bryan Chapell has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Basics of the Reformed Faith
  2. Gospel Coalition Booklets
  3. Preaching the Word
  4. Reformed Expository Commentary


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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Worship & Devotion > Prayerbooks
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Spirituality > Prayer


Christian Product Categories
Books > Christian Living > Spiritual Growth > Prayer



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Reviews - What do customers think about Praying Backwards: Transform Your Prayer Life by Beginning in Jesus' Name?

Christ-Centered Praying to the Glory of God  Feb 16, 2006
The first question I asked when I saw this book was, "What does that title mean?" Many of us close our prayers with the phrase, "In Jesus' Name", but how does one go about "praying backwards"? Chapell pleads for Christians to build our prayer life on the meaning of that phrase. He says:

"The message of this book is to put first in our hearts what those words are supposed to mean: `I offer this prayer for Jesus' sake.' When Jesus' priorities come first, our prayers will change. They will be less self-oriented, more Christ-directed, more blessed, and ultimately most satisfying to our hearts."

So, "praying backwards" is a shorthand way of saying our prayer should be built on the desire to accomplish God's purpose in our life. And His purpose for us is that we would bring Him glory by being conformed to His image.

In ten quick chapters, Chapell moves through familiar terrain, highlighting key texts and principles relating to prayer. However, even when stating a principle we have heard before, such as "Pray Boldly" (Chapter 5), he explains it with fresh insight and a contagious passion for the subject. You come to the end of the chapter with the desire to close the book immediately and begin to put this "bold praying" into practice. Such writing comes only from the pen of one who has walked this path of prayer in his own life.

One of the strengths of Praying Backwards is how Chapell uses Scripture. As he handles a text relating to prayer, he does not pull the verses out of context to make them fit what he needs them to say. Instead, he employs sound hermeneutical principles. As a result, our confidence is built on the Scripture rather than on the inventiveness of the author.

By continually referencing the attributes and actions of God, Chapell writes theologically-loaded paragraphs. With God at the center of our thoughts, He becomes the center of our prayers. And the Trinitarian language is so meaty, showing how the Father, Son, and Spirit each relate to the prayer of the saints. In a culture that likens prayer to yoga or transcendental meditation, it is refreshing to find a God-centered book on the subject.

One of the great strengths of the book is how Chapell anticipates possible extreme application of some of his material. In wisdom, he gives his counsel in balance. For example, a grieving family should know that God's purposes are fulfilled even in the midst of pain, but it is presumptuous for us to guess what those purposes are. Chapell writes with the wisdom gained from having spent time in the trenches of pastoral ministry.

Chapell is an excellent communicator, employing a multitude of personal anecdotes and illustrations drawn from his everyday life. Preachers would do well to read this book if just for the example Chapell gives in how to find illustrations directly from your own life experiences.

Because prayer is such a vital part of the Christian life, I heartily recommend this book to you. It soars far above the level of many other books on prayer crowding the shelves. If you read Praying Backwards, you are sure to find your prayer life strengthened.
 
Biblically and Theologically Sound Study of Prayer  Dec 18, 2005
When it comes to books on prayer there are basically three types. One is the book on prayer that brings conviction over our lack of prayer and helps us to see that God has promised in His Word to answer our cries but we must cry (see Leonard Ravenhill's WHY REVIVAL TARRIES or the works of E.M. Bounds). The second type of book is the teaching book on how to pray usually using the Lord's prayer from Matthew 6:5-15 (see Ronnie Floyd's HOW TO PRAY or ALONE WITH GOD by John MacArthur). The third type is a theological study of prayer such as THE SPIRIT HELPS US PRAY or this work by Bryan Chapell.

In this work Chapell takes the reader through a biblical study of what it means to pray in the name of Jesus. He teaches us that prayer should be for the glory of God (1 John 5:14-15). Prayer is not about asking God for stuff (or junk) but to bring glory to God. The Psalms are full of praises first to God ever before seeking His hand for things. Acknowleding God's greatness is a proper place to begin seeing the power of prayer. We often end our prayers with "in the name of Jesus" writes Chapell but we ought to begin our prayers by praying in the name of Jesus to help us see that our prayers should be for the glory of God alone. Thus praying backwards in our minds!

I found this work to be an excellent study of prayer. Chapell does a great job of staying true to His text. He doesn't give us personal experience after personal experience to teach us about prayer but he takes the Scriptures and opens our minds to the authority and power of the Word of God. Chapell offers sound doctrine (1 Timothy 4:16; Titus 2:1) about the sovereignty of God, His authority and power, and the promises He has given us in prayer.

In this sad age of pragmatism, I am thankful that Bryan Chapell has written a solid work on prayer. I found little to nothing that I could disagree with and found this work to be a great edition to my ever growing supply of books on prayer. Now let me go and pray beginning in Jesus' name!
 
Praying Backwards: An excellent book on prayer  Aug 7, 2005
I recently finished Praying Backwards, by Bryan Chapell. The name sounds a bit odd, but it turns out it makes sense. Praying Backwards talks about how learning to pray "in Jesus' name", and making this concept central (even first!) in our prayer, can "transform your prayer life".

This book is really an excellent discussion of prayer, deals a lot with the theology of prayer, and gives a lot of practical help for how we ought to pray and what our attitude ought to be in prayer. One central point is that prayer is not primarily a way to get God to do what we want, yet God does still hear our requests. Prayer needs to always be offered "in Jesus' name", which doesn't necessarily mean that we say those words, but that we begin our prayer with that concept. In practice, that means that we need to be praying for the glory of God, and coming to God based on the work of Jesus Christ on our behalf. That includes his past work on the cross, but also his present intercessory work for us.

I'd been praying some recently that God would teach me how to pray more effectively, and I can say that this book has been a step in the right direction. Thankfully, I think I've been exposed to most of the concepts in here before (see the bottom of the review for a couple other good references for the topic), but this proved a much-needed reminder, and it is great to have all of this material in one thin, easy to read volume.

Overall, I recommend this book highly, but I do have one caveat: Don't read just part of the book, and don't pick and choose chapters. The whole book presents a balanced and thorough view of prayer, but I think some of the chapters don't quite give the whole picture on their own.

To give just one example, Chapell has two helpful chapters laying out some principles to know whether what we're praying is in God's will. He says we need to stay within two fences -- the first is the fence of righteousness (which we know from God's Word) and the second, the fence of Christian prudencce. In his chapter on the fence of righteousness, he points out that things are only sin if they are prohibited (either implicitly or explicitly) by Scripture. From this, he concludes it is possible that, in decision making, there may be multiple right choices, and we ought to pick the one we prefer. He likens such decisions to having multiple apples to choose from; it's not the case that one apple is good and the rest are evil. Chapell gives the example of choosing a job or who to marry as decisions that might fall into this category (multiple right choices). However, in the following chapter, he discusses the "fence of prudence", he goes on to discuss some principles which do help making such decisions. One is that we ought to examine ourselves. He gives the example of his own decision to go to seminary instead of law school. He weighed the two against each other, and realized that if he chose law school, he was choosing for selfish motives, so the proper decision was the one made with right motives. He also says that it's important to seek counsel from godly advisors, and mentions that God often calls us to apply Scriptural principles when there is no obvious right or wrong (but where Scriptural principles do apply and will show us the way to go).

If you read only the chapter on the "fence of righteousness", I think it would be easy to come away with the idea that, in many or most decisions, we are free to do as we please, because Scripture doesn't give explicit guidance. The following chapter makes clear that this isn't what Chapell is actually saying. There are some other instances where similar things occur, so I reiterate: If you read this book, read the whole thing, in order to get a balanced, Biblical view. Don't just read parts. There are a few minor comments Chapell makes that I don't entirely agree with, so, as always, you should read with discernment, but as a whole, the book is excellent.

Overall, I highly recommend the book. I've read other books which touch on some of the same issues, but this is a book entirely on prayer, so it is able to cover the issues more thoroughly, and does an excellent job. If your prayer life needs help, this is a good place to start.

I mentioned that I'd encountered many of the concepts here before, so I want to briefly recommend a couple other books this reminds me of. One is J. C. Ryle's excellent book "Practical Religion". If you don't have a copy of this book, it is really a must-have. This is a reasonably hefty volume (around 500 pages in 21 chapters), but is relatively easy going, as each of the 21 chapters is stand-alone. It covers a lot of practical Christian topics, like prayer, Bible-reading, communion, happiness, etc. I'll probably write a longer review of it at some point, but the 30 page discussion in here on prayer covers some of the same concepts Chapell hits.

Another is Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology, which has a chapter on prayer. Additionally, the chapters on the Scriptures make abundantly clear how we are to know God's will and how we are to make decisions, which are some of the issues Chapell touches on here but doesn't cover as exhaustively. Unlike many systematic theologies, Grudem's is immensely practical. If you've got it, it's worth reading the chapter on prayer. And if you don't have it, it's worth getting as a reference.

Finally, I'd also like to mention G. I. Williamson's book "The Heidelberg Catechism: A Study Guide". Some of the questions in the catechism cover prayer, and the Lord's prayer, and this book has a reasonably detailed discussion of each of the questions, their answers, and the implications.

I don't mention these three to deter you from reading Praying Backwards. It's definitely worth reading, and I highly recommend it. Rather, if you read it and are looking for more good material on prayer, check these three out. Or if you already have one of these three on your shelf, but haven't read it, they're worth reading.
 
The Best Book on Prayer I've Ever Seen  Aug 5, 2005
Like most Christians, I have wondered about the proper way to pray is. At times, I have heard the prayers of some of the elder people in my church and then listened to my own and wondered why God would want to hear my ill-formed, 20th century verbiage prayers. There didn't seem to be enough thees and thous I suppose, but my prayers just didn't sound as proper as the ones who grew up with only the King James Bible to funnel their thoughts of God. Seriously, those of us who have grown up with modern translations will be less prone to use the older English in our prayers, and many of us are just a bit unsure about the quality of our prayers as a result. We sound so... informal. We long to find someone who will do for us what Jesus did for his disciples on two different occasions. We want to know how to pray.

In "Praying Backwards: Transform Your Prayer Life By Beginning In Jesus' Name," Bryan Chapell explains key truths that will clear up many insecurities that you may have regarding prayer. Other examples may include the thought that your request isn't "important enough" for God to bother with, the thought that prayer is just a way to ask for God to grant your wishes, the thought that you are too deep in your sin to approach God in prayer and so much more. This is a book that not only tackles most of the questions I have had about prayer, it equips me with a sound basis for answering future questions that may come up.

The reason for the unusual title is to insert the end of a prayer into the beginning, at least silently. When you pray in Jesus' name, you need to understand that you are declaring that the prayer is being offered to the Father by the authority of Jesus for the purposes of Jesus. It's not unlike a police officer in an old movie telling the bad guy to, "come out in the name of the law." The bad guy may not come out due to their disrespect of the law, but the law is the foundation for the officer's authority, not the officer's own merits. By the same token, the officer doesn't call the crook out of their hide-out for the pleasure of the officer, but for the purpose of the law itself. So putting "In Jesus' Name" in the beginning of a prayer serves as a reminder to keep the purposes of Jesus in mind.

As we continue to pray in Jesus' name, we find that our problems don't seem so monstrous. They are backdropped by the sovereignty of God, and as we see our prayers answered in ways that are best for us, we learn to pray for God's glory above our desires. This is because we learn to trust God through our prayers. We learn that His ways are not always our ways, and we discover that His ways are truly superior to the grandest ideas we may have. Each chapter is summarized in a short statement to help the reader apply these truths to their own prayer life and there is a sample prayer included to provide an example based on the theme of the chapter.

"In Jesus' Name, Amen" is not the spiritual equivalent to "10-4 Good Buddy, Over and Out." It is the statement that we trust the Holy Spirit to direct our prayers and to alter them to make them worthy to be presented before the throne of the Father. It implores us to remember the glory of Jesus over our own desires. It is our privledge to pray in the name of our savior that is granted to us, that we may be able to present our cares to the Lord with the righteousness of His Son that His perfect will may be performed within us in His time, in His way, for His purpose, in His name, amen.

I cannot heap enough praises on this book, nor can I encourage you with enough zeal to pick up this book and read it for yourself. You will find yourself more ready to pray for all matters large and small and will know that your Father in Heaven is shaping you through His answers.
 
Simply Amazing  Jun 25, 2005
Not too long ago I began to pray that God would teach me to pray. A bit of an odd request, is it not? Obviously I already knew something about prayer if I was praying about it in the first place, but my concern was that despite my prayer habits, which are sometimes good and sometimes bad, I have often felt that I just don't really understand what prayer is all about. When I pray I've often wondered just what the point is. I've often wished that I was better at praying and that maybe God would answer a few more of my prayers if I just learned to pray like a Spurgeon or another great preacher of days gone by whose words to God can still stir hearts even today.

I believe God answered my prayer through Bryan Chapell and his book Praying Backwards.

For many Christians, and especially those who were raised in households that emphasized prayer, the words "in Jesus name, amen!" are prayer mainstays. They close prayer and for most of us mean something along the lines of "well that's done, open your eyes!" or "I really mean it!" Chapell premises his book on taking "in Jesus name" and placing it at the beginning of the prayer (hence "praying backwards"). This was a lesson I learned a short time ago through a wonderful article written by Jim Elliff. He taught the same - that from the beginning of our prayers we need to emphasize that we are praying in the name of Jesus, and not coming before God with a view to our own sufficiency or merit. Even if we do not verbalize the words "in Jesus name" as we begin our prayers, we need to commit never to pray a prayer that we could not pray backwards. In other words, we need to test the motives of our hearts before we begin to pour out our petitions to the Lord and ensure that we are praying prayers that honor Him and not ourselves.

Further topics Chapell writes about are praying in Jesus' way, praying without doubting, praying in the Spirit, praying boldly, praying expectantly, praying persistently, praying in God's will and praying in God's wisdom.

Many books are "front-loaded" with the best chapters at the beginning of the book and the weaker ones at the back. This book has two of the strongest, most challenging chapters right near the end. There are two chapters that discuss praying within God's will. Chapell challenges the reader to praying within two fences, the fence of righteousness and the fence of Christian prudence. Through these chapters he provides a primer not only on praying in God's will, but also discerning His will. The fence of righteousness ensures that we are only praying for what God does not condemn in His Word. We can discern His will by asking Him for the wisdom and courage to abide by His Word, and can then move forward with confidence as we examine multiple options. If we need additional insight, God may prompt us through His Holy Spirit who is our internal witness. Chapell is careful to guard against allowing subjective feelings to become the standard of right and wrong or good and bad.

The final chapter warns against hindrances to prayer and then concludes with a thought that greatly expanded my understanding of prayer. There are those who see prayer as a dialogue, where we speak to God and He speaks to us. This is not biblical. There are those (like I did) who see prayer as a monologue, where we speak to God and He merely listens. Chapell teaches that prayer is, in reality, a dynamic monologue where it is almost as if God is speaking to Himself. "In this speaking to God, the Spirit of heaven stirs the spirit of the believer to speak to the heavenly Father. The intercession of the Son carries this prayer to the ear and heart of the Father. Then in deference to the voice of his Son with whom the believer is united, the Father lovingly responds. He causes the thoughts and inclinations fo the believer both to engage the divine will (to accomplish God's purposes) and to inform the human will (to desire and perform God's purposes). When we speak to God, his words in us create the world before us in which He is working" (page 177). As we work out our salvation, our hearts are transformed by the Spirit to make us more like the Son so we can desire that which is pleasing to the Father. Thus we ask for what God lays on our hearts through the work of His Spirit through the Word.

This book was such a joy to me. It removed a burden I have so often felt in prayer, that I need to say, feel or know just the right things in order to make my prayer effective. But I had never fully understood the Spirit's role in prayer, that He intercedes in every prayer, taking my limited, far-too-human perspective, and presenting to the Father a prayer that is beyond time and space - a prayer that is formed through the Spirit's omniscience. No wonder, then, that God can and will answer prayer! I know now that my role is not to feel the need to pray great prayers, but it is to continue to grow in godliness - for even the simplest prayers can be pure and sweet to the Father - that I may more and more resemble the Son to whom I am united.

Before I conclude I wanted to mention a couple of features in this book I found particularly helpful. Each chapter concludes with a Key Thought. Each of these key thoughts summarizes the content of the chapter in just a few sentences. This helps the reader formulate his thoughts and ensure he has retained the important points before moving to the next topic. I found this immeasurably helpful. Following each Key Thought is a prayer which puts into practice the cumulative teachings of the book to that point. This is also a very helpful feature.

Praying Backwards was an answer to prayer. The subtitle to this book is "Transform Your Prayer Life By Beginning In Jesus' Name." I truly feel that Chapell's teaching, drawn directly from the Scriptures, will transform the prayer lives of many of God's people, and for that I am most thankful. I simply cannot recommend this book enough.
 

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