After a short break, the Friday morning men’s group at our church resumed its weekly sessions. After completing a survey of Nehemiah, the question was posed, “What next?” The group settled on the subject of prayer and to use Simply Prayer by Bill Eliff as a study guide. That proved to be a defining moment! The study has been truly transformational for the men. A Sunday morning group then started using Simply Pray and others will likely follow. Let me tell you about the book.
According to Eliff, the Bible speaks of prayer over 650 times with 450 recorded answers to prayer. It is one of the most oft-repeated commands in the Scripture, both by directives and examples. However, most people will admit that they struggle with the practice of prayer. They feel their prayer life is weak at best.
Why such a disconnect between Biblical expectation and personal experience? One reason could be a lack of training. The extent of prayer training for many consists of the pastor or other well-meaning church person simply instructing the new believer to “talk to God like He is sitting next to you.”
In Simply Prayer, Bill Eliff has provided an easy to read, yet challenging manuscript aimed at training God’s people how to have an ongoing conversation with the Father. The book can also be easily adapted to a small group or Sunday School class setting like we did at Celebration Baptist Church.
Bill Eliff is senior pastor at Summit Church in North Little Rock. According to him, the book is borne out of a 50-year quest to experience God’s presence in prayer. Based on his insights, Eliff is not just a theorist when it comes to the discipline of prayer, but more importantly a practitioner. The insights and stories are born out of a genuine prayer life.
Prayer is important for many reasons. For me, Eliff provided three that stood out as very significant:
• God desires to communicate with me more than I desire to communicate with Him. To think that the creator God of the universe wants to lean into my life and communicate with me is astounding.
• My limitations and desperate need for God necessitate prayer. If am severely broken by sin and, if left to me alone, I would make an even greater mess of things than already exists.
• Satan’s schemes and tactics to spiritually destroy me, my children, my grandchildren and my congregation forces me to pray. To think that the enemy is already scheming to destroy the spiritual life of my two-year old grandson compels me to pray.
Prayer is not an event, but an ongoing daily conversation with God. It should be a dialogue or conversation that is resumed many times throughout one’s day.
This book would be beneficial to every believer, no matter their spiritual maturity level. It should be an essential part of the discipling system of your church. Pastor, walk your men through this book and they will be forever grateful. I would give it 5 out of 5 stars as a rating. It is available in paperback and digital format. You can find it on Amazon or by visiting billelliff.org/products/simply-prayer.