Intercessory Prayer by Dutch Sheets

This book was given to me in college by the administration of the school. They provided a copy to all student leaders on campus and since I am a sucker for free books I snatched my copy and began reading almost immediately.

The concept of prayer has always been a challenge for me. I never felt like I understood prayer like everyone else. Others seemed to pray much more enthusiastically than me. My prayers seemed weak and perhaps insulting to God in comparison. I didn’t understand how God listened; does He only hear the parts He wanted to hear? How does He respond? Can He respond whenever or however He wants? When you breakdown the idea of prayer your head quickly starts to spin.

Though I give Dutch Sheets credit for a solid attempt, in the end Intercessory Prayer turns into a formulaic monologue on prayer: when our prayers are answered our faith and prayer succeeded, when our prayers are left unanswered then God’s will is too big and mysterious to understand. I did appreciate Sheets’ focus on action in conjunction with prayer; we cannot just pray, sit back, and expect God to work. God has blessed us with the tools necessary.

In the end I found this book to be a bit too cliché. If you look at Sheets’ sources, most of his stories come from a pastoral book used to make compelling sermons. Now granted I have never read a book on the subject of prayer that floored me, but I soundly prefer Philip Yancey’s words on prayer.

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