Six of the Best Books on Prayer for Pastors and Leaders

List of Best Books on Prayer for Pastors and Leaders

“The wheels of all machinery for extending the gospel are moved by prayer.” —J.C. Ryle

The importance of prayer in the life of a pastor or ministry leader cannot be overstated.

Without prayerful dependence on God Almighty for wisdom, grace, and gospel fruit in ministry, we are tempted to serve in our own strength. To make a lasting impact ministering God’s Word to a lost world, we must be people of prayer.

The Bible is by far the best way to learn and grow regarding the topic of prayer. In addition to the Bible, Leadership Resources recommends the following books that have helped us better understand the crucial subject of prayer.

1. Prayer and the Voice of God by Phillip Jensen and Tony Payne.

This is a simple, yet profound introduction to prayer. It covers a whole range of questions people have about prayer in a very clear, concise (125 pages), biblical manner.

Description from the Amazon page:

Prayer doesn’t have to be a mystery or a burden. In this Guidebook for Life, Phillip Jensen and Tony Payne open up what God himself says to us in the Scriptures about prayer, including what prayer really is, why we should do it and why we often don’t. This insightful, practical book offers powerful motivations to get us back on our knees and praying, as well as helpful discussions of what to pray for.

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2. The God Who Hears by W. Bingham Hunter.

This is a thorough, yet easy to read book on prayer. LRI staff member Phil Smith recommends this and enjoyed Hunter’s focus on the nature of God informing us on how and why we pray.

  • “If God really cared he would answer my prayer.”
  • “I hesitate to ask him anything.”
  • “I can’t understand why he continues to ignore my deepest needs.”

Bingham Hunter recognizes that most believers have these thoughts from time to time. He encourages us to look at prayer from the standpoint of who God is. The true aim of prayer is intimacy with God. We pray effectively when we make him the desire of our hearts, Hunter answers our questions about prayer by directing us to the nature and attributes of God and to our own lives. God responds not to our prayers but to who we are–what we think, feel, will and do. Prayer is communication from the whole person to the Wholeness that is the living God.

3. Praying with Paul: A Call to Spiritual Reformation by D.A. Carson.

What better way to grow in prayer than a deep study of how the apostle Paul prayed? In Praying with Paul, D.A. Carson expounds the New Testament prayers of Paul in a way that encourages and equips readers to conform their prayers to the priorities of Scripture as modeled by Paul.

God doesn’t demand hectic church programs and frenetic schedules; he only wants his people to know him more intimately. The apostle Paul found that spiritual closeness in his own fellowship with the Father. Praying with Paul calls believers to reject superficiality and revolutionize their lives by embracing a God-guided approach to prayer. By following Paul’s life-shaping principles, we can hear God speak to us today.

4. Language of the Heart: 20 Worship Prompters & Meditations on Prayer by Bill Mills, Founder of Leadership Resources.

LRI Founder Bill Mills presents twenty worship prompters and meditations on prayer to lead readers into a rich experience of awe and wonder as they contemplate God’s deep and marvelous mysteries.

If you are looking for a book to stir your heart to pray and enjoy communion with your loving heavenly Father, Language of the Heart is the book for you. Read a sample of the book or buy the book in our web store.

5. The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions edited by Arthur Bennett

This collection of Puritan prayers features prayers from the works of Thomas Shepherd, Thomas Watson, Richard Baxter, John Bunyan, Isaac Watts, William Williams, Philip Doddridge, William Romaine, David Brainerd, Augustus Toplady, Christmas Evans, William Jay, Henry Law, Charles Haddon Spurgeon, and more. Reading and praying The Valley of Vision is the next best thing to like joining a prayer group with spiritual giants of yesteryear.

I personally enjoy praying The Valley of Vision to help me add rich, biblically-rooted substance to my prayers. The deep Trinitarian theology and gospel focus stir my heart and fill me with renewed affection for God while expressing those thoughts to the Creator.

You can also read these prayers online for free.

6. Prayer by John Bunyan

John Bunyan’s blood has been described as “bibline.” That bibline blood comes through in this short, two-part book on prayer. The publisher’s description:

Two works on prayer are here brought together. In Praying in the Spirit Bunyan defines what it means to pray with the spirit and with the understanding, and deals with difficulties in prayer. In The Throne of Grace, he explains how to approach God’s throne in prayer and opens up the blessings God’s people receive from the high priestly ministry of Jesus Christ.

Six of the Best Books on Prayer for Pastors and Leaders

While we’re on the topic:

Kevin Halloran

Servant of the Word. Husband. Father. Blogs weekly at Anchored in Christ. Content Strategist/Trainer in Latin America with Leadership Resources International.