Short books that changed my life forever
Updated: Jan 30, 2022
When I was a young seminary student, the purpose of prayer was a great struggle for me. If God knew everything in my head and heart and all of my future, why should I pray?
My favorite professor at that time was Dr. Roy Fish who taught evangelism. Dr Fish was known for always being late to class but for a good purpose. It never failed that as walking in, he would begin with something like , "Please forgive my tardiness. I was leading a lady to Christ at the gas station," or "I was praying with someone at the airport to receive Christ." Everytime! Amazement does not begin to describe what we felt at the amount of personal encounters he had with total strangers about receiving Christ. The other characteristic of Dr. Fish was the way he spoke of Christ. It was if they walked hand-in-hand together daily, and I knew that if anyone could help me in this quandary, it would be him!
In answer to my question, he handed me a book. An old worn copy of an 83 page book entitled Prayer: Conversing with God by Rosalind Rinker. "Read this, and then come back if you have anymore questions." To say that I devoured this book is an understatement. Written in the 1950's as a leader tool for Campus Crusade for Christ, this book approaches prayer from a completely different perspective than I was use to. It is more of a handbook of ways and reasons to have an ongoing personal conversation with God. It takes away all the formality and pressure of approaching God with the correct wording or angle, and makes you see the beauty of the reason God commands us to pray. It leads you through how to have a free flowing day long conversation that knocks out all the wordiness and gets to the heart of the matter. Not only does it address personal prayer, but the chapters on corporate prayer were so eye opening and convicting! Since reading this book 27 years ago, I have bought at least 50 that I continually hand out to those I disciple and just anyone I meet who is struggling as I was. While now out of print, it can still be found on most used book websites for only a few dollars and will be a purchase that you will value for all of your years.
Continuing on this same subject of prayer, I highly recommend The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence. This 49 page book set in the 17th-century is a compilation of letters and records of conversations with another Carmelite monk, Father Joseph de Beaufort, on how Brother Lawrence has learned to live in constant conversation and prayer with God throughout his waking hours. Through these conversations, Lawrence teaches Beaufort, and now us, that a relationship with God is more important than the service and work done in the Lord's name and focuses on seeing the love of God and his presence in all aspects of daily life. How eye opening it is that we can experience God's incredible presence just as greatly while we are washing dishes or doing yard-work as we can within a dedicated time of pure prayer. Brother Lawrence is a balm of freshness to a soul which longs for this personal close relationship with God. He brings the realization that anyone can experience this no matter what their daily life looks like.
The last of my tiny book series is The Mark of the Christian by Francis A. Schaeffer. This 59 page book originally published in 1970 has become a well loved herald of what we need to be portraying as the family of God. Schaeffer proclaims, "Love - and the unity it attest to - is the mark Christ gave Christians to wear before the world. Only with this mark may the world know that Christians are indeed Christians and that Jesus was sent by the Father." Is there ever a more needed time than this where we the church need to be reminded of God's command to be compassionate to a needy world? This basic command to "Love one another," is one we like to use as slogans and mottos, but do we really know what this entails? Do we actually know how to love each other? My prayer is that every Christian would read this convicting work and begin to put into practice the act of loving our neighbors and our communities through the power of the Holy Spirit.
So there you have it! Books that you can finish quickly that will totally transform the way you interact with God and one another. What are you waiting for? Order one today!