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No Holds Barred: Wrestling with God in Prayer [Paperback]

By Mark D. Roberts (Author)
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Item description for No Holds Barred: Wrestling with God in Prayer by Mark D. Roberts...

The prayers we find in the Psalms run the gamut from awed worship to stunned silence to doubt, desperation and rage. David and others like him had no time for safe, sanitized prayers. They wrestled with God when they prayed--with no holds barred. Starting today, you can enjoy an energizing intimacy with God. No Holds Barred will help you plunge deeper into different types of prayer, including: asking, thanking, praising and confessing. It will also lead you into new forms of prayer, including prayers of desperation as well as doubt, prayers that question God's apparent slowness and prayers that demand answers.

Publishers Description
God wants your whole heart. So let him have it.
Does your relationship with God feel stale and predictable? Do you struggle to find the time and energy for prayer? Then perhaps you're being too polite with God.
If your prayers lack passion and honesty, then God may be as bored as you are. Guarded and "religiously correct" prayers might sound nice, but to God they sound half-hearted. He wants you to pray with freedom, boldness, and raw honesty.
The prayers we find in the Psalms run the gamut from awed worship to stunned silence to doubt, desperation, and rage. David and others like him had no time for safe, sanitized prayers. They wrestled with God when they prayed-with no holds barred.
Starting today, you can enjoy an energizing intimacy with God. "No Holds Barred" will help you plunge deeper into different types of prayer-asking, thanking, praising, and confessing. It also will lead you into new forms of praying-prayers of desperation and doubt, prayers that question God's apparent slowness, prayers that demand answers.
These are the prayers that hold your attention-and that capture God's attention. Don't wait any longer to begin a rich new conversation with God.

Citations And Professional Reviews
No Holds Barred: Wrestling with God in Prayer by Mark D. Roberts has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
  • Publishers Weekly - 02/28/2005 page 62

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Item Specifications...

Studio: WaterBrook Press
Pages   190
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.08" Width: 6.06" Height: 0.54"
Weight:   0.6 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Mar 15, 2005
Publisher   WaterBrook Press
ISBN  157856705X  
ISBN13  9781578567058  

Availability  0 units.

More About Mark D. Roberts

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Mark D. Roberts (PhD, Harvard University) is a pastor, author, retreat leader, speaker, and blogger. He is the senior director and scholar in residence for Laity Lodge, a multifaceted ministry in the Hill Country of Texas. He was previously the senior pastor of Irvine Presbyterian Church in Irvine, California. Mark also serves on the editorial board of Worship Leader magazine, where he publishes articles and reviews, including his regular column Lyrical Poetry. Mark and his wife, Linda, have two children.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living > General
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Worship & Devotion > Devotionals
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Spirituality > Prayer

Christian Product Categories
Books > Christian Living > Practical Life > General

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Reviews - What do customers think about No Holds Barred: Wrestling with God in Prayer?

Perceptive and Helpful Guide  Sep 19, 2005
This book is a wonderful and perceptive guide to praying through the Psalms. Through each chapter, Roberts adeptly addresses different issues raised through the Psalms and how to fold them into your prayer life. Among the many things he addresses are prayers of confession, worship, praise, and silence, and each topic is addressed with personal and pastoral sensitivity.

A growing topic of emphasis in evangelical circles in the last decade or so has been personal and corporate spiritual formation. Although this book does not label itself as being in that tradition, I think it can fit very neatly and usefully into anyone's quest for personal spiritual growth. Each chapter concludes with a short suggestion on how to implement the Psalms into a prayer life both corporately and personally, and the final chapter contains several helpful and guiding questions relevant for each section.

I have personally benefited from this work, not just in my quest to deepen my prayer life, but in my appreciation for the Psalms as well. No Holds Barred would make a great resource for personal enrichment as well as a great text for a small group wanting to take this kind of journey together.
How to come to terms with God  Aug 5, 2005
I found this book: entertaing amusing educational inspirational worthwhile enlightling AND I liked it!!!
An invigorating breath of fresh air  Apr 2, 2005
If your prayers feel routine, tired or cliché, get ready for a prayer shift. In NO HOLDS BARRED: Wrestling with God in Prayer, Mark Roberts (DARE TO BE TRUE, JESUS REVEALED) mines the Psalms for ways to move us from perfunctory prayer to an all-out, nothing-held-back conversation with God. "He wants us to come at him with everything we've got," says Roberts.

In each chapter, Roberts explores a different dimension of our communication with God, illustrated from the book of Psalms (asking, remembering, worshiping, thanking, etc.). Exercises are included to apply what is learned from each chapter.

No-holds-barred prayer was initially counter-intuitive for Roberts, who was raised with a traditional Presbyterian example of prayer: Deeply committed prayers? Yes. Gut-wrenching cries for divine help? No. When he tried to discover why he and so many Christians prefer "restrained" prayer, he discovered:

Most of us are taught to talk to God with retinence.

We don't hear other believers pray with abandon.

We're afraid we'll be penalized by God for telling him what we really think.

We have an incomplete or inaccurate image of God (the angry tyrant, the judge, a faithful sidekick).

Our sin interferes with our ability to pray.

He admits that some of his advice on prayer might seem contradictory, but then, so are the Psalms. For example, in one chapter Roberts emphasizes our need for solitude and stillness (Psalm 46:10, "Be still and know that I am God.") In the next chapter, Roberts urges us to energetic expression: singing, shouting, raising our hands. "If it's in the Bible...I'll do it!" He advocates both approaching God's throne boldly, and also offering worship with reverence and awe. "God's diverse nature calls forth diverse responses. Our God deserves both intimacy and reverence, both boldness and humility...."

Perhaps one of the most insightful chapters deals with the difficult Psalms of vengeance and hatred. What Christian hasn't stumbled, then quickly skimmed over, Psalms like 58:6-8:

O God, break the teeth in their mouths;
tear out the fangs of the young lions, O LORD!
Let them vanish like water that runs away;
like grass let them be trodden down and wither.
Let them be like the snail that dissolves into slime;
Like the untimely birth than never sees the sun.

Not exactly first-grade Sunday School material.

However, Roberts doesn't sidestep or offer platitudes about this and other Psalms. "...If we believe that the whole Bible is God's holy, inspired Word, then we can't just overlook the parts we don't like. In fact, we probably have the most to learn precisely from those passages we find most distressing," he writes (perhaps paraphrasing C.S. Lewis).

It's Psalms like these that remind us we need to be more honest with God. "When we pray who we actually are, vengefulness and all, we stop pretending before God and experience greater transparency before him," writes Roberts.

We also learn to pray in solidarity with those who have experienced injustice, and to pray against God's enemies. We let go of the vengeful desires we have bottled up inside and we open our hearts more fully to God's transforming power, he writes. We all feel hatred, we all desire revenge at some point in our lives. God needs to hear our honest cries from the heart. "Pious pretending doesn't fool God, and it keeps us from experiencing his transforming presence," he writes. When we allow God to see into the ugliest corners of our hearts, we are often able to let go of deep, ugly wounds from the past. "Let God have your heart, all of it, so that he might heal and transform it."

Some Christians may wish Roberts, senior pastor of Irvine Presbyterian Church and an adjunct professor at Fuller Seminary, would more specifically comment on some of the benefits of liturgical prayer (although he is clearly a strong advocate of praying in community and, of course, praying the Psalms). Regardless, longtime Christians whose prayer life has gone flat will find Roberts's book an invigorating breath of fresh air, and new Christians will discover solid ideas for implementing the Psalms into their life of prayer.

--- Reviewed by Cindy Crosby

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