Welcome to our annual prayer series! Each day, we’ll be posting brand new content to encourage your prayer life. Enjoy, and find our prayer journals for 2022 here!
I am surprised I’ve never shared this post before, but today I’m sharing all the books (that I can remember!) that I’ve read on prayer! I’m sharing a little about each and who I’d recommend it for. I recently heard it said that books on prayer don’t sell well and I think that’s for a reason. A general book on prayer is hard to get into. It feels too vague and why would we pick up a vague book on prayer? I think when we know the specific purpose, it’s helpful to choose a book on prayer that could really boost your prayer life in whatever season you’re in. I’m convinced that the more we read on prayer, the more we will actually pray because it’s keeping the topic front of mind.
A quick note: I have grown a lot in my faith and what I believe to be true. I’ve also seen authors who once held solid beliefs go down paths that I don’t agree with. So there are some books I’ve read that I let you know that I no longer recommend. It goes without saying, but use discernment as you read! I am not the authority on what’s right and wrong, though I obviously try to be careful in the things I share.
Without further ado, here they are (in order of most recent to earliest).
1. The Prayer-Saturated Church – Cheryl Sacks
If you belong to a church and you want to see prayer flourish there, get this book! It is so practical and literally a handbook for incorporating more prayer in our churches. When I was telling Vivi about this book, she said, “Well, aren’t all churches praying churches?”. It’s a great question and seems like it should be obvious, but in many churches prayer is a program or a small part instead of permeating every aspect of the church.
2. The Battle Plan for Prayer – Alex and Stephen Kendrick
I’m surprised it took me so long to find this book. It was a great foundational book on prayer that covers MANY aspects of prayer that will help you feel confident as you get started in praying.
3. A Year of Living Prayerfully – Jared Brock
This was a more story-driven look at prayer around the world. I learned a few key things but mostly enjoyed the look at different cultures. He goes to some places that aren’t strictly protestant churches, obviously, but if you can read with a discerning eye, I think you’d enjoy it.
4. Concert of Prayer – Daniel Bryant
This was a look at praying as a body of believers. Lots of how-to’s for corporate prayer meetings.
5. E.M. Bounds: Man of Prayer – Lyle Wesley Dorsett
This was a biography on E.M. Bounds’ life. I have loved Bounds’ writings on prayer so it was so fun to get to learn about the man behind it. It was a short read. One concept that stuck out was his weeping for lost souls. After reading, I feel like the Lord gave me a fresh burden for the lost.
6. Alive to God Through Prayer – Donald Demaray
7. Love on Its Knees – Dick Eastman
This book is laid out similar to our prayer journal categories. It’s a practical book helping work through praying for the world and nation, church, family, the lost and more! If you struggle coming up with prompts in your journal or tend to not know how to pray for others, this could give fresh inspiration.
8. Prayer That’s Caught and Taught – Carol Madison
This book is all about mentoring someone in prayer. One of my big takeaways was that as a mentor, one of the biggest aspects is offering hope about prayer. We all want to share techniques and lessons but if you feel ill-equipped, remember your greatest contribution may simply be your belief that God works through prayer and sharing that!
9. What God Does When Women Pray – Evelyn Christenson
This was a follow-up to #10. In it, she shares what God has done through women praying over her decades in ministry.
10. What Happens When Women Pray – Evelyn Christenson
This short book is what spurred me on so much in wanting to pray with other people! I’ve always been a believer in prayer but have forgotten how essential it is to pray with others. This book inspired our Pray Confidently and Consistently TOGETHER guide that leads you through my book, Pray Confidently and Consistently, and ends with a full-fledged prayer group!
11. The Hour that Changes the World – Dick Eastman
Eastman created a 60-minute prayer routine and shares it in this book. It includes 12 parts that could add lots of vibrancy if your prayers have felt flat lately and if you like a system. It doesn’t have to require 60-minutes, BUT if you’ve got the time, I know you will be blessed by this format.
12. Every Prayer and Petition in the Bible – Larry Richards
This was a find at our local Book-a-Million. They started carrying used books and I think I got this for $4 while I was writing Pray Confidently and Consistently. It’s a book of every prayer in the Bible and as I studied, I was able to reference this book to confirm my own research.
13. The Possibility of Prayer – John Starke
Starke writes from a totally different angle than many of the books I’ve read on prayer. Not sure I can fully explain it, but his perspective was fresh, although it wasn’t a favorite read.
14. Prayer that Works – Jill Briscoe
I’ve seen few books on prayer follow one Bible figure or story. I LOVED this so much! All about the life of Elijah!
15. The Power of Prayer and Fasting – Ronnie Floyd
This is the only full book I’ve read on fasting but I really appreciated that it wasn’t sensationalized like many books on fasting can be. Although Floyd emphasizes the power of fasting, he doesn’t make it like a transaction.
16. Invitation to Silence and Solitude – Ruth Haley Barton
As I’ve learned more about Barton’s beliefs, I know I took away some good things, but as a whole I can’t recommend this book.
17. Does Prayer Change Things – RC Sproul
This book was super short and based on specific questions we may have about prayer.
18. Discerning the Voice of God – Priscilla Shirer
One of my favorite books on prayer. Learning to hear God’s voice can feel so vague, but Shirer brings so much clarity to the topic!
19. How to Pray – CS Lewis
This was a good general book on prayer. To be honest, I don’t remember anything super specific from it, but if you love Lewis you will appreciate his thoughts on prayer.
20. Before Amen – Max Lucado
Lucado has a very easy-to-read style. I found it a good basic book on prayer.
21. Praying the Bible – Donald Whitney
I’ll admit, I didn’t love this book at first. It felt very obvious and elementary, but as I’ve gone back to it, I enjoy the practical approach to praying using the Bible. It’s a short, simple read but if you feel stuck knowing how to pray through the Bible, it may be helpful. You can also check out the episode, How to Pray Using the Bible, from our podcast, Prayer in a Noisy World.
22. The Practice of the Presence of God – Brother Lawrence
I think I might be the only person on the planet who doesn’t consider this a favorite book on prayer. I’m not sure if I’ve just read so many books on prayer that it didn’t really hold my attention? The biggest takeaway for many is the idea that Brother Lawrence experienced prayer in mundane moments like doing the dishes, not just compartmentalized times, which I think is a great point! I just didn’t need the whole book to get that takeaway?
23. Purpose in Prayer – E. M. Bounds
I love Bounds’ direct language. It’s refreshing in a day of political correctness and having to be very careful not to offend. He’s not offensive at all, just no-nonsense and a good kick in the pants! He also shares lots of stories about the history of prayer that I have found so inspiring!
24. The Power of a Praying Parent – Stormie Omartian
If you’re looking for a book of written prayers, I love Stormie’s approach. She infuses so much prayer that the first book I read by her, #29, gave me a renewed love for the Word. Her books have 31 prayers so you can do one each day of the month.
25. Prayer – A.W. Tozer
I found some helpful nuggets, but this was a general book on prayer. Similar to Lewis, if you love Tozer, you will likely appreciate reading many of his thoughts on prayer in one book.
26. The Power of a Praying Woman – Stormie Omartian
This version was 31 days of prayers for your personal life.
27. Fervent – Priscilla Shirer
I have fond memories of listening to the audible version of this during middle of the night nursing sessions with Vana. I loved the power in Shirer’s voice and the way I felt so motivated to pray after reading. If you are feeling very flimsy in prayer, this book could be helpful!
28. Too Busy Not to Pray – Bill Hybels
For a while, this was my recommended read for a good foundational book on prayer. In light of his scandals a few years ago (just google his name to find more if you want) I can’t recommend this book. I’ve wrestled with this question of whether to keep reading or recommending pastors/authors after moral failure and found these two articles (here and here) helpful.
29. A Praying Life – Paul E. Miller
This was the first really foundational book on prayer that I’ve read and still a favorite!
30. The Circle Maker – Mark Batterson
So, I didn’t actually finish this one. I’ve shared before on the blog that I understand why it’s a favorite. It is “inspirational” but at the time, I was looking for more concrete Biblical teaching on prayer. It’s more anecdotal and I kept wishing he had more verses to back up his thoughts because I felt uneasy thinking “I don’t know if this is what the Bible really says.” It could be confusing for new believers and even for not-so-new believers like me. :/
31. The Power of a Praying Wife – Stormie Omartian
31-days of praying for your spouse!! Some thoughts on the role of a wife (like looking good when your husband comes home) may feel outdated but still a solid book.
32. Anything – Jennie Allen
This isn’t specifically a book on prayer, but based on Allen’s story of her and her husband praying and basically saying to God that they were ready for anything. It helped me with the idea of praying bigger and surrendered prayers!
33. Thirty-One Days of Prayer for the Dreamer and the Doer – Jenn Sprinkle (now Jenn Jett Barrett)
I actually got to write the ‘prayer for prayer’ which was really cool! This book is for business owners and includes 31 prayers for your business.
34. Prayers for New Brides – Jennifer White
This was sooo long ago I honestly don’t remember too much, but it may be a great gift for a newlywed!
BOOKS ON PRAYER I HAVEN’T FINISHED:
35. Adore – Sara Hagerty
I’ve used this as a reference book to grow the Adoration portion of my prayers! If you feel like you aren’t sure how to praise God in prayer, this book will add lots of language and vibrancy to that.
36. Praying the Scriptures for Your Children – Jodie Berndt
Another great reference book similar to Stormie Omartian’s but this one holds it’s own! I have loved reading nuggets when I’m not sure what to pray for my kids.
37. Praying the Scriptures for Your Life – Jodie Berndt
Same for this one! This is for personal prayers!
38. Prayer – Tim Keller
What I’ve read of this has been good but I find his language difficult. Funny enough, this is one reason I wrote Pray Confidently and Consistently, after a friend mentioned people needing books on prayer in super accessible language. And honestly, this book on my “not finished” list was enough to convince me she was right!
MY BOOKS ON PRAYER (which I’ve of course read! 😉 )
39. Pray Confidently and Consistently – Valerie Woerner
This book is my legacy book. After talking with people for 8 years about prayer, I’ve shared what I truly believe will help people throw off what’s holding back their prayer lives and really pray! It’s not a textbook on prayer. It’s super practical, story-driven and designed to help you pray more.
40. Springboard Prayers – Valerie Woerner
This is a book of actual prayers. It’s divided into categories like prayers for your prayer life, different emotions, circumstances, people, places and times of day. Each of the 125 prayers includes a few prompts to keep the conversation going AND a question to ask God at the end of your prayer time that you can spend time reflecting throughout the day. I really wanted this book to be a jumping off point (or springboard 😉 ) for prayer time.
41. Fresh Start: 31 Days of Prayer – Valerie Woerner
This is a quick devotional designed to help foster a HABIT of prayer. It’s filled with lots of foundational truths about prayer but is focused on leaving time to pray each day. It even includes a month of prompts so if you aren’t sure our format would work for you, I highly recommend grabbing the Fresh Start so you can test out the formula and if it’s not the solution for you, you’ve still got a devo on prayer!
That’s it!! Got any recommendations for books on prayer?? Here’s a major confession. I have almost 50 books on my shelf on prayer to read. 🙈🙈🙈 What can I say? I’ve still got lots to learn!
If this list is a literal firehose, check out today’s Prayer in a Noisy World podcast episode for my top 10 prayer books depending on your goals.
COMING NEXT: A month in the life of a pray-er
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