10 Uses for Prayer A to Z

It took me about 20 years to finally finish writing Prayer A to Z (from 1992 to 2012). I won’t bore you with any of the details here. It would be too long even to try to summarize it. But if you will go to my blog, https://studyingprayer.com/, you will see not only a summary, but sections of the book itself. Most of the book is on the blog site—in short excerpts with just a few extra comments. I’ve gotten some very nice blog comments, and I have a suspicion that many have ordered the book, either the hard copy or the pdf free eBook version. Thanks to all who did.

Now in this post I will list all of the 52 chapters so you can get a good overview of the book. Then I will give you ten suggested uses of the book other than just reading it through.

All 52 Chapters of PRAYER A TO Z

  1. Answers to Prayer
  2. Aroma of Prayer
  3. Authority of Prayer
  4. Burden in Prayer
  5. Confidence in Prayer
  6. Definition of Prayer
  7. Desire of Prayer
  8. Earnestness in Prayer
  9. Evangelism and Prayer
  10. Failure in Prayer
  11. Faith and Prayer
  12. Fasting and Prayer
  13. Forgiveness and Prayer
  14. God’s Idea Prayer
  15. Holiness and Prayer
  16. Holy Spirit and Prayer
  17. How to Pray, Part 1
  18. How to Pray, Part 2
  19. Importunity in Prayer
  20. Intercession, Part 1
  21. Intercession, Part 2
  22. Intercession, Part 3
  23. Jesus Name
  24. Kneeling in Prayer
  25. Length of Prayer
  26. Ministry of Prayer
  27. Necessity of Prayer
  28. Obedience of Prayer
  29. Possibilities of Prayer
  30. Power of Prayer
  31. Praise and Prayer
  32. Praise and Prayer
  33. Prayerlessness
  34. Quietness of Prayer, Part 1
  35. Quietness of Prayer, Part 2
  36. Quietness of Prayer, Part 3
  37. Quietness of Prayer, Part 4
  38. Revival and Prayer
  39. Specific Prayer
  40. Survey of Prayer, Part 1
  41. Survey of Prayer, Part 2
  42. Survey of Prayer, Part 3
  43. Survey of Prayer, Part 4
  44. Survey of Prayer, part 5
  45. Travail in Prayer
  46. United Prayer
  47. Vigilance in Prayer
  48. Vigilance in Prayer
  49. Word and Prayer
  50. Xanadu
  51. Yielding in Prayer
  52. Zenith of Prayer

Ten Uses for Prayer A to Z

1. I suggest not reading it through as a regular book. The book is more like a textbook on the broad subject of prayer. But if you insist on reading it through, take your time and set some reading goals. You may even find it helpful to take some notes as you read in terms of application so you don’t get lost in the weeks.

2. Sunday School teachers or Bible School Teachers to use it as a text book for a class on prayer.

3. Use it as a comprehensive personal or group study on prayer. Its 52 chapters would make an excellent weekly year-long study. But some would prefer to lengthen it to a two-year study. Two pages of reading a day would take you through the book in two years.

4. Use it as a source book. It’s a great book to have handy setting on your shelf for any questions that may come up. The alphabetical table of contents will be helpful.

5. Use the pdf version as a good concordance. I have found that the pdf version is very helpful to look up key words or scripture references anywhere in the text. It is especially helpful if you are studying a particular prayer subject and want to see all the places in the book it has been mentioned. I offer the pdf version free.

6. Use for daily devotional reading. Besides your daily bible reading, Prayer A to Z may stimulate some good devotional thoughts.

7. Use as a character study. I would begin by using the pdf version to look up all the occurances of a particular character, like Moses or Daniel. You could also go to chapters 40 through 44 and check out the prayers of those characters.

8. Use it to study all the prayers of the bible from chapters 40 through 44.

9. Use it to start a prayer ministry. A good start would be to read chapter 26 in this book.

10. Use to improve your prayer life. Start by reading chapter 1 on Answers to prayer, then read any other chapter you see that you think would be helpful.

My Writing: My Progression, My Ritual

As soon as I had all my topics decided on, the next step in the process of writing my book Prayer A to Z was easy. I just took one topic (a chapter) at a time, did whatever reading and bible study I thought was sufficient for that topic, and went from there. I always highlighted important material as I read, took some notes, and then made an outline.

At first my idea was to make the chapters short—about two typed pages. I was still using the material as an insert in the church bulletin, so I didn’t want it to be too long. Eventually, after about the first ten chapters, I changed my mind about the length. I could see that there was much more I could write on each topic. So, I made a big decision to go back and re-write all that I did before moving on. Now, instead of each chapter taking only a couple days to write, it took sometimes a couple weeks—or more. But it was what I wanted and it looked better. More importantly, I was sure that it was what God wanted; and more and more I regarded the entire project as His.

I remember so clearly those early days of the writing.  I didn’t have a computer yet, so I just used my typewriter, and then I managed to persuade the church secretary to go over it (retype it) using her computer. She didn’t seem to mind, and at the time, it was for the church. After a few years though she was no longer the secretary and I decided I needed to get a computer. What a difference that made.

Most writers spend hours at a time writing. Not me. I had a full-time painting business with employees, and I had to be to work by at least 8 A.M. So, I chose to write early before I went off to work, and for only about 20 minutes at the most. I would usually do my bible reading and prayer first, and then tag on the writing. It worked well that way; and since I rarely missed my morning devotions, I hardly ever missed my writing time. It became my regular morning ritual—or an extension of my devotional time. And though some days it was hard to get into, after each writing session I felt a sense of peace and accomplishment. And it helped to set a good tone for the work day.

I kept that same ritual for as long as it took me to write my first book (20 years), and even a few years after that. Now however, since I am semi-retired, things are a little different.  I still have my quiet time in the morning, but I prefer to do my writing at a separate time. For my more technical writing, it is always easier to be near my computer, because I do so much of the research on the computer. But for the writing I am doing at this present time, which is my own story, I find it easier for me to go to a restraint and write while drinking my coffee. I also—as I am doing at this very moment—like to sit in my truck under the shade of a tree, with a coffee or water. I found a place at a park and ride location where there are several shade trees, and I hear the noise of the highway just 50 yards away. Some may regard that nose as annoying, but I’ve gotten used to it and is even kind of soothing—a good noise for writing.

How My Writing Adventure Began

At my desk. I generally always write everything out long hand first.

 My writing adventure began about 1992, while I was attending Majestic Oaks Community Church. At the beginning, I was immersing myself in many books on prayer for the purpose of prayer ministry for the church. And I was content to read just the books I had on my shelves which I had collected over the years. Later, when I was thinking about the possibility of writing a book on prayer and when I was trying to put an outline together, I found that I had to look elsewhere for more books. The place that I looked most was at the Bethel Seminary library. I wasn’t a student there, but when I told them that I needed books for a book I was writing, they agreed to get me a library card. 

I remember so well when the idea came to me about writing a book. I had recently moved into a place as a renter, and I remember lazily laying on my bed day dreaming of future possibilities of a book. I admit that my first thought was that maybe I could actually make some money on a book. But then, I also thought of just using a book to bring a good teaching to people on prayer. I concluded that I could kill two birds with one stone. Why not. So, I committed it to prayer and immediately began forming an outline. From the start of my reading on prayer, I had the desire to look at prayer from every possible angle, and to read especially from all the prayer experts and great scholars. So, I continued to go with that idea in developing my outline.

First, I scanned through all the books I had and jotted down all the possible prayer topics I could write on. I came up with over 70 topics. Too many. Then I had a great idea. If I could put them all in alphabetical order, I could entitle the book, Prayer A to Z. That would give me only 26 topics, but I could always have more than one topic under the same letter. Eventually, I managed to get all my topics in alphabetical order and also narrow the count down to just over 50. Then I got another idea. If I could come up with exactly 52 topics (chapters), that would give me a great year-long study of prayer, studying one chapter a week. I settled on that idea. It was all set. Now, all I needed to do was put it together—write the book.

I have heard from more than one Christian publishing company that authors should never brag about how their book was designed by God. And I can see their point. But just between you and me, I definitely got the impression in seeing how my book came together so easily, that God had a part in it. Yes, I do feel that God wanted me to write the book and that He definitely helped me put it together.

This is my first book, Prayer A to Z. It was published in 2013.

Prayer A to Z: A Book of 52 Chapters

Prayer A to Z: A Comprehensive Bible-Based Study of Prayer, is indeed comprehensive. In this post I will give you a brief breakdown of the book, chapter by chapter, 52 chapters in all.

When I began thinking of what I wanted the book to be like, my thoughts were drawn to some of the classic books on prayer I have read, books by E. M. Bounds, Andrew Murray, Hudson Taylor, R. A. Torrey, and Charles Spurgeon. I considered these authors to be powerful and holy men of God, and so I wanted to follow in their steps.

What would I do? How would I form its content? The first thing I did was to look through all the books I had (about 30 book) to get ideas. I wrote down all the possible topics or chapter titles. I came up with about 80 topics; and I also decided that I would take some time to read through the bible to find all the prayers of the bible. It took me over a year; and during that time, I also worked on the formation of the chapters. Eighty chapters was way too many. I eventually narrowed it down to 52 chapters, including five chapters on the prayers of the bible.

Then I had a brilliant idea. If a person would read and study one chapter a week, that would make a good year-long study. I also got the idea of trying to put all the chapters in alphabetical order. That took some doing, but it came together. Well, after I was done patting myself on the back for my brilliance, I suddenly got the thought that maybe God had something to do with it.  And the more I realized how everything came together, I was sure of it. It was all His doing!

Okay, here are the fifty-two chapters, with just a short comment on each chapter.

  1. Answers to Prayer. Seventeen pages on this topic. A great start.
  2. Aroma of Prayer. This is a favorite to many readers.
  3. Authority of Prayer. All our authority is in Christ.
  4. Burden in Prayer. In this chapter you realize God’s heart of compassion.
  5. Confidence in Prayer. Discover God-confidence in prayer.
  6. Definition of Prayer. Discover here what prayer is.
  7. Desire in Prayer. It is important to pray with desire.
  8. Earnestness in Prayer. Earnest prayer grows out of desire.
  9. Evangelism in Prayer. How to pray for the lost.
  10. Failure in Prayer. Why we fail in prayer.
  11. Faith and Prayer. Why faith is necessary in prayer.
  12. Fasting and Prayer. Instruction and guidelines for Fasting.
  13. Forgiveness and Prayer. Why forgiveness is so necessary for prayer.
  14. God’s Idea. Prayer is God’s idea.
  15. Holiness and Prayer. Holiness always goes with prayer.
  16. Holy Spirit and Prayer. Prayer and the Holy Spirit work together.
  17. How to Pray – Part 1. Eight of Jesus’ Teachings on Prayer.
  18. How to Pray – Part 2. A study of the Lord’s Prayer.
  19. Importunity in Prayer. Persistent and urgent prayer.
  20. Intercession – Part 1. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit’s Intercession.
  21. Intercession – Part 2. The definition of intercession.
  22. Intercession – Part 3. How we intercede for others.
  23. Jesus’ Name. Prayer in Jesus’ name.
  24. Kneeling in Prayer. Prayer posture.
  25. Length of Prayer. How long should we pray for.
  26. Ministry of Prayer. Practical help on how to have a prayer ministry.
  27. Necessity of Prayer. Nine reasons why prayer is necessary.
  28. Obedience and Prayer. Being obedient to God is so necessary in prayer.
  29. Possibilities of Prayer. Praying for big things.
  30. Power in Prayer. How to have power in your prayers.
  31. Praise and Prayer – Part 1. Praise as a vital part of prayer.
  32. Praise and Prayer – Part 2. Biblical examples of praise.
  33. Prayerlessness. The sin of prayerlessness.
  34. Quietness in Prayer – Part 1. Hearing God’s voice.
  35. Quietness in Prayer – Part 2. Our quiet time with God.
  36. Quietness in Prayer – Part 3. The importance of solitude.
  37. Quietness in Prayer – Part 4. How the Devil perverts our prayers.
  38. Revival and Prayer. What part prayer has in revival.
  39. Specific Praying. How to pray specifically.
  40. Survey of Prayer – Part 1. Prayers of the Bible, Abraham through Moses.
  41. Survey of Prayer – Part 2. Prayers of the Bible, Joshua through Samuel.
  42. Survey of Prayer – Part 3. Prayers of the Bible, David through Jehoshaphat.
  43. Survey of Prayer – Part 4. Prayers of the Bible, Elijah through Daniel.
  44. Survey of Prayer – Part 5. Prayers of the Bible, Ezra through John.
  45. Travail in Prayer. Why we need to travail in prayer.
  46. United Prayer. Praying together in agreement.
  47. Vigilance in Prayer – Part 1. Why vigilance is necessary.
  48. Vigilance in Prayer – Part 2. Overcoming the enemy through vigilance.
  49. Word and Prayer. The use of the word in Prayer.
  50. Xanadu. Experiencing the beauty of prayer.
  51. Yielding in Prayer. Why we must yield to God when we pray.
  52. Zenith of Prayer. This last chapter of 93 pages summarizes the entire book.

My Book, Prayer A to Z: Why A Book on Prayer?

In this blog post, and the next few, I will be writing about my books. I have written nine books and will soon be completing a tenth book. Today I will start with Prayer A to Z: A Comprehensive Bible-Based Study of Prayer. I began putting it together in 1992 and it was published in 2013. So, it took me a while to write it. But it’s long, 735 pages.

As you can tell by the title, it’s a book on prayer and was meant to be very comprehensive. Some may ask, why do I need to read a book on prayer? Especially a book of that length? I remember one person saying to me, just as I was beginning to write the book, that he didn’t need to be taught how to pray; he just needed to pray more. He was saying, in effect, that just by his practice of prayer, that, in itself, would make him better at prayer.

Well, I agree that the more we pray the better at prayer we will get and the closer our relationship with Him will be. But I also think that some instruction is necessary. In fact, we know that from what Jesus taught His disciples. He took the time to instruct them on how to pray. In chapters 17 and 18 of my book, I point this out. In chapter 17, I give eight of Jesus’ teachings on prayer. Then in chapter 18 is my study of the Lord’s Prayer, which is really Jesus’ lesson plan (or tutorial) on prayer to His disciples—and to us.

So, we really do need to be taught how to pray, and we especially need to pay attention to Jesus’ teachings on prayer. And really, all through the bible we can find prayer help and instruction. I especially like the Psalms.

And for those who think that all we need to do is pray, I want to give this warning: if you do that, you will be fighting against the Holy Spirit and your praying will not be according to His will or what He desires. For if He has given us instruction on prayer in His word, and we choose not to follow it, then we are being disobedient to the Holy Spirit and all our efforts at prayer will fail and may even cause us to be misled.

In my book, I not only present all the biblical teaching I could find on prayer, as I searched the Scriptures; I also read from about 100 books and articles offering their biblical studies on prayer, being careful not to include any material that was not biblical. I think there are too many books out there already that offer only people’s experiences. In my opinion, those kinds of books will do more damage than good. In terms of prayer, the only thing we need is God’s word and the testimonies of those who followed His word. Anything else is simply speculation.

I think this is enough for this post. Next time I will try to summarize the book by briefly going through the chapters.