“How to Pray”

What We Are Reading: Episode 53


Simple, but profound

How many books have you read on prayer? I have lost count. But that’s OK. We have never grasped all there is to learn about prayer, because the subject is God.

Some of the books on my shelf are theologically deep and philosophically complex. This is not one of those. Not to say that it is shallow. Not at all. Rather, it is deceptive in its simplicity.

Pete puts it this way in his introduction:

“When one of our sons heard that I was writing a book about how to pray, he said, ‘Oh, but that’s easy. You just say, “Dear God”, chat to him for a bit, and then say Amen.’ In a way, he was right. Sometimes we make prayer way more complicated than it needs to be. How to Pray has been written as ‘a simple guide for normal people’.” Greig, Pete. How to Pray: A Simple Guide for Normal People (p. 14). John Murray Press. Kindle Edition.


What made this a more interesting book to read that some, is that I know the author’s brother. James Greig and I served together on staff of a church for quite some time. I thoroughly enjoyed James’ Biblical teaching. A gifted and intelligent teacher. I never got to know his brother – until now. At least, I know him now in the sense that I’ve read his book, and feel I have shared his life.

Pete opens up his heart, his life and his prayers.


Today’s show notes will contain less detail than other recordings. The reason for this is because I have podcasted extensively on the book in my other series, “Quiet Time Coaching”. In my review of the book as a whole here, I shall do my best to give you my overall impressions of the book and what it has done for me.


The core of the book is an exposition of the acronym capitalise P. R. A. Y. Standing for pause, rejoice, ask, yield. The key text is what is known as the Lord’s prayer from Matthew chapter 6.

Each chapter of the book concludes with some practical tips and further resources which can be found on the prayer course website.


Before I finish, I’d like to add how much it’s been useful to me to discuss the book as part of a bookclub. In this case, the Renovare bookclub. Talking with half a dozen other people every other week about what they find meaningful has helped me to deepen my thinking about what God is teaching me. As I hear other people share, I had God’s voice through them. If you have never been part of a bookclub like this, I thoroughly recommend it.


Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community.

Do you have a question about teaching the Bible? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send me your questions or suggestions. Here’s the email: malcolm@malcolmcox.org.

If you’d like a copy of my free eBook on spiritual disciplines, “How God grows His people”, sign up at my website: http://www.malcolmcox.org.

Please pass the link on, subscribe, leave a review.

“Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.” (Psalms 100:2 NIV11)

God bless, Malcolm