Book Review: Prayer
Author: Frank Charles Laubach
Publisher: Martino Publishing ISBN: 9781614272687
I was first introduced to the writings of Frank Laubach around seven years ago. Before that time, I had no idea who he was or the enormous contributions he had made to society and Christendom. What I have learned since my first introduction to the story of Frank Laubach is that some have called him the “greatest teacher of our time,” Time magazine called him Mr. Literacy. On the anniversary of his 100th birthday (1984), the U.S. Post Office honored him by putting his picture on a postage stamp in their Great American series. Learning all of these facts made me feel a bit silly about never even hearing the name of this great American, but even these accomplishments and accolades do not complete the story of Mr. Frank Laubach.
Laubach was also a Christian missionary commissioned by the Union Congregational church to serve the people of the Philippines. It was during this time that Laubach wrote a number of the journal entries and letters that would eventually be collected and shared with people today.
One of the first essays I read from Laubach was titled The Game with Minutes, which was quickly followed by Letters by a Modern Mystic. I can honestly say these works were a catalyst for change in the trajectory of my personal Christian development and maturity. Some readers may be familiar with the writings of Brother Lawrence in Practice of the Presence of God. Laubach’s writings were, to me, a modern example of Brother Lawrence’s teachings in the respects of living constantly in the presence and the awareness of God.
I was greatly intrigued by the title of Laubach’s book, Prayer: The Mightiest Force in the World. I could only imagine the rich insights this man, who attempted to practice unbroken fellowship with God, might share with his teaching and thoughts on the topic of prayer. I have not been disappointed.
The length of the book is just under one hundred pages and is grouped into a collection of short writings. There is no introduction or preface that provides the reader with any information regarding the collection of these writings, but it appears to me that they might be collected from short essays, letters, and diary entries. Perhaps from this collective stream of writings, this book on the subject of prayer was created. This is only my supposition. The editor of the book has grouped the writings into six chapters or sub-groupings. Chapter one is titled Pray for World Leaders and includes ten essays. The following chapters are arranged in similar fashion with varying numbers of essays. Chapter two is titled Pray for the Church; chapter three is How Prayer Helps God; chapter four is Prayer Experiments; chapter five is Christ—The Answer; and chapter six is Our Appalling Power.
I think there are a couple of points to keep in consideration when reading a book of this nature. First, the origin of the writings should be taken into account. I do not know for sure, but I believe these essays have been collected from several sources, one of which might be personal diary and journal entries. There may be “raw” thoughts and unpolished ideas included in these essays, some of which may not have a clear context. Additionally, some of these writings are dated and flavored from the time they were written and while that may not seem terribly relevant, it is helpful to keep in mind.
I enjoyed the whole book, but my two favorite chapters have been Prayer Experiments and Our Appalling Power. There are some amazing thoughts shared in these chapters that have inspired several great reflections for me. I continue to go back to this little book time and again drawing from the well of this brilliant man who devoted his life to the pursuit of God and service to God’s people. This is great addition to my resources on the subject of prayer.