This small book on prayer is taken from lectures Oswald Chambers gave at the Bible Training College in London where he focused on all aspects of prayer, from prayer’s simplicity to intercessory prayer for others. He believed that “prayer changes the one praying” as much as “prayer moves the hand of God.”
The foreword introduces readers to a simple man of keen insight who, regardless of who he was with or what they were doing, without warning would say, “‘Off with your hats, it is good to pray everywhere,’ followed by a brief prayer.” This was a common occurrence among the group of young men Chambers took hiking on Saturday mornings.
Even though the world was at war, Chambers made plans to travel to Egypt in 1915 to “serve as a YMCA chaplain.” Shortly after his arrival he asked to deliver a “week-night religious service” even though skeptics warned him no one would attend since it wasn’t Sunday. Soldiers were too busy during the week writing letters and playing cards.
Chambers quietly organized his sermon, What is the Good of Prayer and prepared to deliver it on Wednesday, November 4, 1914. Even though it wasn’t Sunday, “four hundred men packed the large hut” where they met. In wartime many men cried out to God for the first time in their lives and Chambers said, “When a man is at his wits’ end, it is not a cowardly thing to pray.”
Chambers was a “spiritual realist” who believed prayer “enabled God to perform His order through” those who pray, even though he didn’t consider prayer a “natural function of the worldly minded.” However, he knew prayer was a way of “getting to know God” that would “develop the life of God” in those who prayed.
Readers learn why Chambers believed “circumstances are like feather beds,” why “God answers prayer on the ground of redemption” and the most important reason of all. “Prayer is not what it costs us but what it cost God to enable us to pray.”
Even though Oswald Chambers died in 1917, relatively unknown at the age of forty-three, he lives on in the works he left behind, the most famous his devotional classic, My Utmost for His Highest.
This powerful book on prayer, filled with wisdom and keen perception, is one to savor slowly and return to time and time again. Written by a devout man of God who “shows us what we are missing when we don’t have ‘the life of God in us.’” There aren't enough stars to value its worth, whether five, ten, fifty or a hundred.
‘If You will Ask: book on prayer’ by Oswald Chambers, Discovery House Publishers, 1937-1994, 128 Pages, 978-0929239064, $12.99