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Praying Backwards: Transform Your Prayer Life by Beginning in Jesus' Name

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Christians often say, "In Jesus' name" to close their prayers. But is this truly a desire of the heart or a perfunctory "Yours Truly" to God? Bryan Chapell says we should begin our prayers in Jesus' name-we should be Praying Backwards. In this practical and inspiring book, he shows readers that to truly pray in Jesus' name is to reorder one's priorities in prayer-and in li Christians often say, "In Jesus' name" to close their prayers. But is this truly a desire of the heart or a perfunctory "Yours Truly" to God? Bryan Chapell says we should begin our prayers in Jesus' name-we should be Praying Backwards. In this practical and inspiring book, he shows readers that to truly pray in Jesus' name is to reorder one's priorities in prayer-and in life-away from oneself and towards Jesus and his kingdom. It is to pray believing in the power and the goodness of the One who hears, and thus to pray boldly, expectantly, and persistently. Readers seeking to transform their prayer lives will find wonderful direction in Praying Backwards.


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Christians often say, "In Jesus' name" to close their prayers. But is this truly a desire of the heart or a perfunctory "Yours Truly" to God? Bryan Chapell says we should begin our prayers in Jesus' name-we should be Praying Backwards. In this practical and inspiring book, he shows readers that to truly pray in Jesus' name is to reorder one's priorities in prayer-and in li Christians often say, "In Jesus' name" to close their prayers. But is this truly a desire of the heart or a perfunctory "Yours Truly" to God? Bryan Chapell says we should begin our prayers in Jesus' name-we should be Praying Backwards. In this practical and inspiring book, he shows readers that to truly pray in Jesus' name is to reorder one's priorities in prayer-and in life-away from oneself and towards Jesus and his kingdom. It is to pray believing in the power and the goodness of the One who hears, and thus to pray boldly, expectantly, and persistently. Readers seeking to transform their prayer lives will find wonderful direction in Praying Backwards.

30 review for Praying Backwards: Transform Your Prayer Life by Beginning in Jesus' Name

  1. 4 out of 5

    Phil Dunn

    An excellent read from a great author on the subject of prayer. The central theme is the importance of praying in Jesus name - rather than simply tacking on 'In Jesus name' at the end. 'Prayers in Jesus name are enveloped with concern that he be represented, blessed, and glorified. By appealing to Jesus name we surrender our prayers to his purposes.' Some highlights... > Chapters 4&5 are worth the price of the book itself. Wonderful explanation of the trinity at work in prayer. > Very helpful guida An excellent read from a great author on the subject of prayer. The central theme is the importance of praying in Jesus name - rather than simply tacking on 'In Jesus name' at the end. 'Prayers in Jesus name are enveloped with concern that he be represented, blessed, and glorified. By appealing to Jesus name we surrender our prayers to his purposes.' Some highlights... > Chapters 4&5 are worth the price of the book itself. Wonderful explanation of the trinity at work in prayer. > Very helpful guidance offered on how to pray/live according to God's will. > Deals biblically with the 'name it and claim it' notions popular today. > Included are lots of very helpful illustrations throughout. It's a book that will leave you challenged but not guilt-ridden - which for a book on the subject of prayer is great! Highly recommended alongside DA Carson's 'A call to spiritual reformation.'

  2. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    This was a great book on prayer with some very encouraging and thoughtful admonitions. However, I did walk away from it with a vague sense of "do this" and "don't do that". Mr. Chappell does admit the point toward the end that prayer has a remarkable way of changing the heart as well as the world around. And that is a truth worth remembering if Mr. Chappell's other points make you hesitate in prayer. Do not hesitate to pray...ever. No worries if you don't do it right or your heart isn't humble. This was a great book on prayer with some very encouraging and thoughtful admonitions. However, I did walk away from it with a vague sense of "do this" and "don't do that". Mr. Chappell does admit the point toward the end that prayer has a remarkable way of changing the heart as well as the world around. And that is a truth worth remembering if Mr. Chappell's other points make you hesitate in prayer. Do not hesitate to pray...ever. No worries if you don't do it right or your heart isn't humble. No one gets it all right. However, by and large this is a really good book. Practical and covering nearly all the bases. Paul Miller's book is better but this is a solid runner up.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Ben K

    I picked up this book because the title reflects a practice in Nigeria where I live. People actually begin their prayers by saying “In Jesus’ name”! Chappell argues here that praying this way, whether in word or attitude, changes the way we pray. To pray in the name of Jesus is essentially to pray “Thy will be done.” It submits our desires and priorities to Jesus Christ, who will always act according to his will for his glory and for our ultimate good. Filled with helpful illustrations and power I picked up this book because the title reflects a practice in Nigeria where I live. People actually begin their prayers by saying “In Jesus’ name”! Chappell argues here that praying this way, whether in word or attitude, changes the way we pray. To pray in the name of Jesus is essentially to pray “Thy will be done.” It submits our desires and priorities to Jesus Christ, who will always act according to his will for his glory and for our ultimate good. Filled with helpful illustrations and powerful anecdotes, this book challenged me to pray more consistently and boldly to my God who loves me so dearly.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Hopson

    Finally finished this great little book on prayer that I started a few years back. Chapell's premise is that when we understand what it means to pray "in Jesus' name," it should revolutionize the way we pray. "Praying backwards" is about learning to pray in accordance with Jesus' will and for Jesus' glory. Fantastic book for those (like me) who want to grow in their prayer life!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Chan-joo Moon

    Author brings a lot of experience and encouragement for prayer. Very practical and easy to read.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    I highly recommend this book. Great thoughts on prayer. Expanded my mind & encouraged me in my prayer life. I highly recommend this book. Great thoughts on prayer. Expanded my mind & encouraged me in my prayer life.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Brian

    A very good book on how to pray according to God’s will and for His glory.

  8. 4 out of 5

    John

    Creative and powerful. I enjoyed this refreshing perspective.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Becky

    I loved, loved, loved, LOVED Bryan Chapell's Praying Backwards: Transform Your Prayer Life by Beginning in Jesus' Name. I've loved many, many books this year. It's actually been a great reading year. I would definitely include this one among my favorites-so-far. So. Another book about prayer?! YES, another book about prayer. A very needed book in my opinion. The message of this one: How would your prayer change if you began where you normally end? We habitually end our prayers with the phrase “In I loved, loved, loved, LOVED Bryan Chapell's Praying Backwards: Transform Your Prayer Life by Beginning in Jesus' Name. I've loved many, many books this year. It's actually been a great reading year. I would definitely include this one among my favorites-so-far. So. Another book about prayer?! YES, another book about prayer. A very needed book in my opinion. The message of this one: How would your prayer change if you began where you normally end? We habitually end our prayers with the phrase “In Jesus’ name, amen.” The amen means “truly” or even “I really mean this.” But what are we actually saying? We are supposed to be saying that everything we prayed for was offered “in Jesus’ name”—for his honor and purposes. When we pray “in Jesus’ name,” we pray for his sake more than our own. We still present our desires and concerns to God, but we do so in the context of yielding our priorities to Christ’s priorities. The final phrase of our prayer reminds us, as well as commits us, to submit all our requests to the glory of Jesus. Yet that’s not always the way we pray. Often we focus on asking God to ease our worries and satisfy our wants before adding “in Jesus’ name” as an obligatory spiritual seasoning to make our petitions palatable to God. Prayer. I think there will always, always be a need for books about prayer. No matter the century, I think believers have always struggled with prayer, with knowing how to pray, with praying consistently, with feeling confident that they're praying rightly, with priorities. Not all books about prayer are of equal worth to believers. I believe that Praying Backwards is a great book about prayer. (I'd also say Andrew Murray's Living a Prayerful Life is a great book about prayer.) I would say the book is encouraging and relevant and practical. I think the encouragement is crucial. Books about prayer should not be commanding and condemning, or, only commanding and condemning. I think most people--most believers--know that prayer is important and that their own prayer lives could use improvement or attention. But all the "do this, do that, be better, try harder" messages can seem paralyzing and overwhelming. Yes, it is important for books to emphasis that prayer is part of a healthy spiritual life. But it is also important that grace be extended. That is one of the many things Chapell's book does well: Jesus is so patient. He does not condemn or rebuke the apostles for their repeated questions or elementary understanding. Seeing how Jesus reacts to his disciples is important for my own prayer life. When I am tempted to blame myself for not knowing more than I do about prayer, the patience of the Savior calms my heart and draws me to him. I know from his treatment of the apostles that he wants me close and will listen to me even when I need to ask again and again, “Lord, how should I pray?” Too often I am too weak and distracted to pray as I ought. I am like the disciples who fell asleep while Jesus wept (Matt. 26:36–43). My shame can tempt me to give up praying, but the promises of the Spirit strengthen me. My lack of fervor is no reason to rein in my prayers. As I pray so weakly, the Holy Spirit strongly pleads for me with groans deeper than I can express to touch the heart of the Father. And the Father, who sent his Son and his Spirit to be our advocates, loves to listen—and respond. The Father hears our prayers, not as the petitions of the fault-ridden persons we are but as the pleas of the infinitely holy and eternally loved Son, our Savior. Our union with Christ influences every dimension of the Christian life. When we worship, Christ is not only the audience of our songs, but through his Spirit he is also the singer (Eph. 5:18–20). When his servants preach, he is not only the witness of the sermon but the proclaimer (2 Cor. 4:5–7; 5:20; 2 Tim. 4:1–2). When we serve, he is not only the object of our service but the enabler (Phil. 4:13). When we pray, he is not only the Lord whom we seek but the One who speaks. When we pray in Jesus’ name, we pray with his identity. It's a book rich in insights. I loved this: "We cannot pray according to God’s will and prioritize according to ours."

  10. 5 out of 5

    Robin

    Book on what it really means to "pray in Jesus name," to align our will with God's will. Chapell is solid and a good teacher with lots of illustrations.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kara

    What a powerful book! "Praying Backwards" is the most thorough treatment on prayer that I've read. I must admit that I'd never really given deep thought to why we close our prayers with "in Jesus' name", other than that it's an acknowledgment that he intercedes for us. Dr. Chapell asserts that "to do anything in the Lord's name means to do it for his purposes. When we pray in Jesus' name, we are petitioning God to bring glory to Jesus and we are asking for his will to be done in everything so th What a powerful book! "Praying Backwards" is the most thorough treatment on prayer that I've read. I must admit that I'd never really given deep thought to why we close our prayers with "in Jesus' name", other than that it's an acknowledgment that he intercedes for us. Dr. Chapell asserts that "to do anything in the Lord's name means to do it for his purposes. When we pray in Jesus' name, we are petitioning God to bring glory to Jesus and we are asking for his will to be done in everything so that he will be honored above all....by appealing to Jesus' name, we surrender our prayers to his purposes." His premise is that we need to test the motives of our hearts before we pray and ensure that we are praying prayers that honor Him, rather than just tacking "in Jesus' name" onto the ends of our prayer almost as a postscript. The chapters build on each other, and each one is even better than the one before. Each chapter ends with a "key thought"-a summary of the key concepts in that chapter-and an example prayer that incorporates the cumulative ideas presented thus far. I found this incredibly helpful and will return to the key concepts and prayers again and again. There are also study questions for each chapter at the end of the book that would make this book great for a group study. If you're looking for a thoroughly biblical, incredibly encouraging book on prayer, look no further!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kara

    What a powerful book! "Praying Backwards" is the most thorough treatment on prayer that I've read. I must admit that I'd never really given deep thought to why we close our prayers with "in Jesus' name", other than that it's an acknowledgment that he intercedes for us. Dr. Chapell asserts that "to do anything in the Lord's name means to do it for his purposes. When we pray in Jesus' name, we are petitioning God to bring glory to Jesus and we are asking for his will to be done in everything so th What a powerful book! "Praying Backwards" is the most thorough treatment on prayer that I've read. I must admit that I'd never really given deep thought to why we close our prayers with "in Jesus' name", other than that it's an acknowledgment that he intercedes for us. Dr. Chapell asserts that "to do anything in the Lord's name means to do it for his purposes. When we pray in Jesus' name, we are petitioning God to bring glory to Jesus and we are asking for his will to be done in everything so that he will be honored above all....by appealing to Jesus' name, we surrender our prayers to his purposes." His premise is that we need to test the motives of our hearts before we pray and ensure that we are praying prayers that honor Him, rather than just tacking "in Jesus' name" onto the ends of our prayer almost as a postscript. The chapters build on each other, and each one is even better than the one before. Each chapter ends with a "key thought"-a summary of the key concepts in that chapter-and an example prayer that incorporates the cumulative ideas presented thus far. I found this incredibly helpful and will return to the key concepts and prayers again and again. There are also study questions for each chapter at the end of the book that would make this book great for a group study. If you're looking for a thoroughly biblical, incredibly encouraging book on prayer, look no further!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Bob Price

    Books on prayer can be a tricky subject. They can run the gambit from tacky, how to manuals that promise everything under the sun if you follow their advice (i.e. The Prayer of Jabez ) or obscure theological treatises that have no relation to real life (i.e. Hans Ur Balthazar). Bryan Chapell's book is a wonderful addition to the subject of prayer. Praying Backwards is a simple, yet profound and pious work that describes the foundation for a strong prayer life. Chapell explores the motivation, Books on prayer can be a tricky subject. They can run the gambit from tacky, how to manuals that promise everything under the sun if you follow their advice (i.e. The Prayer of Jabez ) or obscure theological treatises that have no relation to real life (i.e. Hans Ur Balthazar). Bryan Chapell's book is a wonderful addition to the subject of prayer. Praying Backwards is a simple, yet profound and pious work that describes the foundation for a strong prayer life. Chapell explores the motivation, practice, and pitfalls of prayer in a clear and easy to read way. Chapell peppers his book with real life stories that help explore the subject and not draw attention to himself. In other words, he doesn't share stories so the reader will see what a wonderful life he's led (unlike other Christian authors). Rather he shares these stories so the reader can clearly see how the principles he advocates are explored in real life. The best part of this book is that Dr. Chapell's heart is clearly seen through his words and his teaching. This is a man who is passionate about prayer, who has been formed by prayer and who lives out what he teaches. I highly, highly recommend this book to anybody who wants to better their prayer life.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

    One of the better books on prayer that I've read. At the time, it was the best I had read. He has a couple of interpretations of Scripture that I don't agree with (like Matt 18:20 having to do specifically with prayer). But the but is Scripturally sound and covers a lot of things, stressing that we pray according to God's will and finding that out. Don't let the title scare you. He wants you to pray with Jesus' objectives in mind before you start to pray. I read this twice. The second time was i One of the better books on prayer that I've read. At the time, it was the best I had read. He has a couple of interpretations of Scripture that I don't agree with (like Matt 18:20 having to do specifically with prayer). But the but is Scripturally sound and covers a lot of things, stressing that we pray according to God's will and finding that out. Don't let the title scare you. He wants you to pray with Jesus' objectives in mind before you start to pray. I read this twice. The second time was in conjunction with a group Bible study. The study questions which are either in the book or I believe on the Web as a PDF are very good. If perchance you are looking to compare this with Foster's book Prayer, there is no comparison. Foster's book has a lot of pragmatism and things that are ascriptural (extra-Scriptural) and he's proven to be a little bit of a kook with his foray into mysticism etc. I wrote a negative review of it on my blog just to warn people and somebody promptly bought it through my Amazon Associates account. What can you do?

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ryan

    Instead of tacking on "In Jesus's Name" to the end of our prayers, Chapell argues, and argues well, that we should begin praying in his name—that is to say, praying with his priorities, will, and glory as our ultimate aim. Instead of praying our wishes or prayers that are self-centered, we should have the ultimate aim of hallowing God's name in the earth. The first couple of chapters were a little hard for me to get through, but then the book really picked up steam. Two of my favorite chapters ha Instead of tacking on "In Jesus's Name" to the end of our prayers, Chapell argues, and argues well, that we should begin praying in his name—that is to say, praying with his priorities, will, and glory as our ultimate aim. Instead of praying our wishes or prayers that are self-centered, we should have the ultimate aim of hallowing God's name in the earth. The first couple of chapters were a little hard for me to get through, but then the book really picked up steam. Two of my favorite chapters had to do with praying and God's will—praying within the fenceposts of God's righteousness and prudence. Those were worth the whole book itself. Though this is by no means my favorite book on prayer, it was both encouraging and helpful in my quest to deepen my relationship with God. It is definitely worth the time to read it. You will reap dividends into eternity. "Praying in Jesus’ name is not merely the postscript to a good prayer; it is the prelude to God’s providing the best of all things for his loved ones."

  16. 4 out of 5

    Alexander

    This book caught my attention because of its provocative title. Chappell's premise is that our prayers would be transformed if we considered how we ought to pray in and through Jesus' name at the beginning of our prayers. The author begins by addressing the reality that "in Jesus' Name" has become a sort of tack on to prayers that are often solely focused on our wants and desires. He then proceeds to explain the real significance of praying "in Jesus' name", namely that we are praying for God to This book caught my attention because of its provocative title. Chappell's premise is that our prayers would be transformed if we considered how we ought to pray in and through Jesus' name at the beginning of our prayers. The author begins by addressing the reality that "in Jesus' Name" has become a sort of tack on to prayers that are often solely focused on our wants and desires. He then proceeds to explain the real significance of praying "in Jesus' name", namely that we are praying for God to do whatever would bring glory to the name of Jesus. Armed with this idea, he shows how a focus on Christ's glory should transform how we pray and what we pray for, even when praying for the desires of our hearts. The chapters on praying for God's will when faced with multiple options are especially helpful!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Aaron Pratt

    Jesus’ name is the beginning and end of our prayer because his glory is the beginning and end of all things— and all these things are being worked together for our good. Praying in Jesus’ name is not merely the postscript to a good prayer; it is the prelude to God’s providing the best of all things for his loved ones. We utter every petition with a heart of praise, seeking first the honor of our Savior. Praying in Jesus’ name is ultimately no sacrifice because he chooses to glorify himself by pr Jesus’ name is the beginning and end of our prayer because his glory is the beginning and end of all things— and all these things are being worked together for our good. Praying in Jesus’ name is not merely the postscript to a good prayer; it is the prelude to God’s providing the best of all things for his loved ones. We utter every petition with a heart of praise, seeking first the honor of our Savior. Praying in Jesus’ name is ultimately no sacrifice because he chooses to glorify himself by providing the best of his kingdom for his people. When the greatest desire of our heart is his glory, the greatest joy of his heart is our blessing.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Joel

    A good book re-thinking what it means to pray in Jesus' name. I'll let Chapell speak for himself: "The message of this book is to put first in our hearts what those words are supposed to mean: 'I offer this prayer for Jesus' sake.' When Jesus' priorities come first, our prayers will change. They will be less self-oriented, more Christ-directed, more blessed, and ultimately most satisfying to our hearts." Chapell patiently exposes our false preconceptions and turns our eyes to Jesus, our Interces A good book re-thinking what it means to pray in Jesus' name. I'll let Chapell speak for himself: "The message of this book is to put first in our hearts what those words are supposed to mean: 'I offer this prayer for Jesus' sake.' When Jesus' priorities come first, our prayers will change. They will be less self-oriented, more Christ-directed, more blessed, and ultimately most satisfying to our hearts." Chapell patiently exposes our false preconceptions and turns our eyes to Jesus, our Intercessor.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Reid

    This book is now my current favorite book on prayer. A couple of significant thoughts about the heart of this book: -Praying in Jesus name changes everything: His will not my will. -Discerning God has to do with the prayers and decisions falling within the "fence points of righteousness (morality) and prudence (wisdom). "We trust God not be cause He acts quickly but because He acts perfectly." God's will is not always apparent yet that is part of the praying process which changes us as we persistentl This book is now my current favorite book on prayer. A couple of significant thoughts about the heart of this book: -Praying in Jesus name changes everything: His will not my will. -Discerning God has to do with the prayers and decisions falling within the "fence points of righteousness (morality) and prudence (wisdom). "We trust God not be cause He acts quickly but because He acts perfectly." God's will is not always apparent yet that is part of the praying process which changes us as we persistently pray, expecting Him to act on our behalf as He glorifies Himself

  20. 5 out of 5

    Katy Sammons

    I think this may be the best book on prayer I have read, and I have read several. Chapters seven through ten are especially good. Chapell provides comprehensive Biblical instruction on prayer, addresses many misconceptions, and corrects prevalent errors in thinking about prayer. His stories and encouragement provide motivation to pray and confidence in doing so. The prayers at the end of each chapter are wonderful, and they demonstrate that Chapell has spent many hours praying from "The Valley o I think this may be the best book on prayer I have read, and I have read several. Chapters seven through ten are especially good. Chapell provides comprehensive Biblical instruction on prayer, addresses many misconceptions, and corrects prevalent errors in thinking about prayer. His stories and encouragement provide motivation to pray and confidence in doing so. The prayers at the end of each chapter are wonderful, and they demonstrate that Chapell has spent many hours praying from "The Valley of Vision." I have been greatly encouraged by this book.

  21. 5 out of 5

    David Meiklejohn

    A guide to praying, this doesn't tell us much that we didn't know but it's always good to be reminded of decent principles of prayer. The author starts with the idea of using "in Jesus' name" not just as a finishing line but as the starting point of prayer, not so much in word but in intention, so that our prayer is concentrated on God's glory first instead of what we want. Other themes are knowing what is right to pray for, humility in prayer and how prayer changes us. Oh, and Eric Liddell was a A guide to praying, this doesn't tell us much that we didn't know but it's always good to be reminded of decent principles of prayer. The author starts with the idea of using "in Jesus' name" not just as a finishing line but as the starting point of prayer, not so much in word but in intention, so that our prayer is concentrated on God's glory first instead of what we want. Other themes are knowing what is right to pray for, humility in prayer and how prayer changes us. Oh, and Eric Liddell was a Scots runner, not an English one :-)

  22. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie Kline

    This was an inspiring look at prayer life and a Christian's relationship with Christ. It probably could have been about 50 pages shorter because I found it pretty repetitive, but overall it left me with a calm, happy understanding of prayer life and the intentions God has for us to talk to Him. I recommend it to fellow Christians who might have questions about how to properly and effectively pray.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jeremy

    Chapell takes Scripture's basic tenets of prayer and lays them out in a simple, engaging, and logical manner. So far I've found that the only books on prayer that I really enjoy, though, are by dead guys whose words are charged with the passion of deep personal experience. This book felt more systematic to me.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Chuck

    Compelling and encouraging. Many insightful illustrations which help undergird the principles addressed. Chapell does a good job addressing difficult issues without harshness or getting sidetracked. You can't read this and not feel compelled to begin your prayers "in Jesus name..." with all the implications of that concept.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    I read this book almost in one sitting. The author says that there are no magic words when we pray and he excellently explains why. What he writes, he backs up with Scriptures and he includes true-life events and example prayers. If you're interested in a better prayer life, then this book is for you.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Josue Manriquez

    I highly recommend this book. Bryan Chapell explains what it means to pray in Jesus' name, and in so doing he makes it clear that prayer is much more than a simple conversation with God. Everyone who prays should read this book.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Don Paske

    This is a good book, but is about twice as long as it should be due to all the redundancy. The premise is wonderful and is very thought-provoking. It would well for Christians to take the premise to heart.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Emma Juday

    I really enjoyed this book. I was worried it would be prayer gimmicky, but found it insightful and encouraging instead. I especially liked the chapters Praying in Righteousness and Praying in Christian Prudence.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Pamela Strickland

    I am actually relieved to finish this book. It was a great idea for a sermon, or Christian college chapel series, but became too redundant when put into book form. Also, although the author doesn't say so, it appears to be aimed at college-age students.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jeff

    Kind of ended up being one big cliche christian anecdote. Really thought it'd be better...had a lot of potential, but quickly lost me after it devolved into the "pray and just trust" sermon I've heard most of my life.

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