I often find that my prayer life is the weakest part of my spiritual life. It’s so easy to slip into rote and empty prayers or even forget to pray when I’m facing something that needs prayer. And let’s be honest. What doesn’t need prayer? So, when I received the opportunity to review the new reprinting of Dutch Sheets’ classic Intercessory Prayer, I felt like it was a good opportunity to examine my prayer life and see what I can incorporate in my prayers.
Sheets begins his book by examining what are our actual questions about prayer and do we really need prayer in our life. Then, he goes on to define and discuss intercession, spiritual childbirth, spiritual warfare, the sin of side, allowing the “son” to shine through us, releasing the power of God in side of us, and how our actions impact the heavenly realm and the world around us.
Throughout the book, Sheets tells colorful stories from his own life and from those of other people, and he writes in an easy-to-read, personal style. This is actually quite an enjoyable book to read. Yet, I found myself, when he truly turned to matters of theology often in disagreement with his beliefs about our spiritual life and about prayer.
I think he goes to far in his description of us as co-laborers with Christ. I think that he makes it almost sound as if through prayer we can activate some kind of impersonal energy that will fulfill our requests. I was very leery about some of the things he said that I felt like were to this effect because it’s just a couple of steps shy of witchcraft to me. Some of his writing and his ideas make more sense in context, but there’s a fine line here that I think he’s overstepping.
I don’t see where he addresses God’s will in answering our prayers or praying in accordance with the Bible and God’s will much at all. He does address obedience to God and he does address being sensitive to the Holy Spirit in your life, but there is much to be said for praying God’s word, and there’s none of that here. I also disagreed with how often that he portrays the omnipotent God of the universe as powerless without our prayers. To me, that’s heresy. And I hate and struggle with saying that about a book because it is well-written. It is interesting, and I know that he’s trying to help people realize the power of prayers in their lives. I just don’t think that he can do that by taking away the power of God.
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.