Book Review: Prayer by Richard Foster

Richard Foster pretty much covers all the basics in his book and more that aren’t found in Scripture.

Much of the book is based on the mystics like Madam Guyon, Jean Pierre de Caussade etc. I’ve read books by them and others and admire their spirituality but don’t find a lot of what they say and do based on principles and commands found in Scripture.

Foster seems to rely more on the experience of these saints of the past and his own experience than on Scripture.

When he does quote Scripture it’s often out of context.  One example is in the chapter on Contemplative Prayer. He quotes Psalm 62:1, “For God alone my soul waits in silence;” which is referring to waiting not to prayer. In fact he even quotes other great saints of the past out of context.

In his section on Repenting on Behalf of Others he offers no Scripture and says, “…our repenting prayers on behalf of others somehow seems to make it easier, more possible for them to turn on their own. How this works I do not know.”

There are good tidbits and reminders in this book that one can benefit from. But given how highly touted this book is I was pretty disappointed and surprised at some of what was written.

Good books on prayer that I’ve read:

Not read:

What are your favorite books on prayer?

Colossians 4:2
Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with thanksgiving.

5 Responses to “Book Review: Prayer by Richard Foster”

  1. 1 Nik

    haven’t read any books on prayer, but out of your list, the Matthew Henry book sounds interesting. I already like his practical approach to Bible commentary.

  2. 2 Kevin Sam

    Jeff, I’ve always wanted to read Richard Foster’s books but never had a chance yet. I’ve just finished: The Prayer that Heals by Francis MacNutt (more on healing). I’ve also read Breakthrough Prayer by Jim Cymbala (very inspiring). I know there are others but can’t recall.

  3. 3 Scripture Zealot

    Thanks for the suggestions. I hadn’t heard of those.

  4. 4 chris kilby

    I think you are mistaken with your interpretation of prayer. In referring to Psalm 62:1, contemplative prayer is absolutely waiting in silence for the Lord. Prayer is a two way street. Not just us talking but also waiting for God to speak to us, which is of course the most important part.

    A much used scripture and a definite command is, “Be still and know that I am God”.

    I look forward to beginning my study on “Prayer” by Richard Foster.

  5. 5 Scripture Zealot

    Please see this post on ‘being still’. I wish you well in your journey on prayer.

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