A Book Review of Radical Prayer – The Power of Being Bold & Persistent by Manny Hill
Oceans have a way of expressing God’s enormity, His power and limitless. Look around and see how beautiful everything is. See the power of the waves! And to think, prayer is SO much more powerful! Prayers are more powerful, because it’s all about Him. All about our great God! People need to understand that the one we pray to is the one who created all this. And for us who believe, there is nothing more powerful than going to the throne room of God!
The principal truth connecting everything in this book: namely, that prayer is not selfishly “willing” or wishing something into being (our culture’s understanding), but acknowledging – hallowing as Jesus Himself said in Luke 11 – the One to whom we owe our very allegiance, our very lives. For His honor and name alone, we can boldly, persistently – radically – bring our requests to God the Father, through Jesus Christ as led by His Spirit, and confidently wait for His response. Prayer is about God, not us.
This reminds each of us that our lives are not our own – we are under the direction of Someone else who gives good gifts and answers our prayers in ways that ultimately give Him glory – and not solely satisfy our wants and needs.
As Daniel and his 3 friends said, “Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods, nor will we worship the golden image which you have set up.” It was all about His name, His honor, His glory – and not theirs.
Imagine for a moment if we all approached God’s throne room with the same conviction and the same sold-out commitment: Not my will but thine be done! Manny is convinced that God’s answers would blow our minds! And His answers would keep us wanting more of the God whose name alone is to be hallowed.
Recall the words of Jesus when asked which of the commandments was most important, “The most important is love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:28-31
Thus our prayer for this book, that from its reading, we would all become prayer “radicals” – linking every praise, every petition to the hallowing of God’s name. And then we see every answer to every prayer as a catalyst to take God’s love to all people & circumstances He brings our way.
“Would You send Your Holy Spirit, with great unction, upon the reader and create in him or her a fresh, radical, burning desire to be confident and secure in Christ? Give the reader a transformed heart that is receptive to Jesus Christ – not just as the center of his or her life but as his or her all in all (Eph. 1:23). May the reader be rooted and grounded in love to be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height of the love of Christ which passes knowledge so that he or she may be filled with Your fullness – to paraphrase Ephesians 3:17-19. In Jesus’ name, Amen!
The author Manny Hill realized that he, as with many other pastors (studies show 80% of pastors do not regularly pray), was not consistently seeking the Lord and praying. So, Manny prayed and confessed as David in Psalm 51 and was filled with forgiveness and hope. Then he remembered Jeremiah 33:2-3 “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” He cried out to God to give him a greater capacity for prayer, for communing with Him and knowing Him & His Word. Manny knew he needed to become the man described in Psalm 1, who meditates on God’s Word “day & night” to become a tree that brings forth fruit & does not wither.
“I became convinced that from that moment on my emotions and my decisions needed to be driven by Scripture alone; and that prayer must precede every step. I had taught the principle of living by the Scriptures over the years, but I had stopped living it because I had stopped praying it. I knew that in order for me to cultivate a prayer life, my prayers had to be fueled by Scripture. This is what I call radical, biblical prayer.”
Manny started prayer walking each day to spend time with the Lord and following the Holy Spirit direction to better care for his body, his temple. He started to pray in a threefold manner, which was first taught by Martin Luther. Select any text form the Bible, then pray it three time: first as a thanksgiving, second as a confession, and third as a petition.
“I also became intentional about praying with my wife, whom I am commanded to love as Christ loves the church. 1 Peter 3:7 says if I do this my prayers will not be hindered.”
Manny asks us to examine our relationship with our amazing God & Jesus who created us and the world. If we do believe, then cry out to God to give you a great understanding of His great love for you and ask the Lord to teach you to pray (David & Daniel prayed three times a day)! Let His perfect love drive away fears that have been hindering your prayers, oppressing you, and stealing your joy. Then begin to pray in the confidence we have in Christ. Our confidence is not in our prayers, it is not even in our faith. Rather, our confidence is in the person of Christ who has opened the way for us to have access to God the Father (Eph.3:12).
Jesus Christ is God’s only begotten Son and the exclusive vehicle through which we address the Father in prayer – and then knowing that the Holy Spirit will deliver to us the Father’s answers to our prayers. (Manny had fallen into the trap of what he was doing for God, rather than in who God is and what He was seeking to do in and through Manny.) Without faith, there is no basis for prayer and your prayer life will feel empty.
Hebrews 11:6 “Without faith it is impossible to please God. Because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.”
Jesus says, “If you abide in Me, and my words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be my disciples.” John 15:7-8
Jesus’ primary prayer request & His ultimate purpose was the hallowing of God’s name and glorifying God (hallowing = reverencing, honoring, esteeming, admiring, valuing, treasuring). The chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever. When we truly understand how worthy God the Father is to be glorified, we will begin to enjoy Him, to spend more time with Him and to be intimate with Him in prayer. This will bring us to true and new levels of joy.
After teaching the disciples the why of prayer (hallowing God’s name which involves the heart), Jesus instructs them on the what of prayer, which all support the supreme petition that God’s name be hallowed (Luke 11:2-4). God’s name will be hallowed when His kingdom comes. God’s name will be hallowed when His will is done on earth. God’s name will be hallowed when He provides daily bread. God’s name will be hallowed when He forgives our sin and especially when we, in turn, forgive others. God’s name will be hallowed when He gives us victory over temptation and doing evil. So we must pray for the ability to withstand temptation and the ability to choose whatever is true, noble, right, lovely, pure, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy (Phil.4:8). And let us be diligent in praying that the very name of God Himself would be valued and treasured by all people everywhere.
Persisting in our prayers: By emphasizing His Father’s faithfulness, Jesus motivated His disciples, and us today, to persist in our prayers. God our loving Father delights in answering our radical, biblical prayers when our “persistence” is driven by our knowing that He is faithful and that He is able (and to know of God’s faithfulness we must be in intimate relationship with Him and His Word). It is in light of who God is and our persistence to hallow His name that Jesus gives the disciples the assurance that their heavenly Father will give good answers to their prayers. When we honor God’s name, we have the duty to be persistent, and we can come confidently before our loving heavenly Father when we do so on behalf of others.
Jesus says we can persistently ask (beg or petition), seek (search for or desire), and knock (strike against something) on the door for the Father’s answer. These are action words that carry with them the knowledge of heightened immediacy! “So I say to you, ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and it will be opened for you. If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” Luke 11:9,136
The Holy Spirit: Our Challenger & Life Changer: Manny urges us to take a radical time-out right now. Pray for God’s name to be hallowed in you by giving you a greater understanding of the Holy Spirit (who comes to us loaded with good treasures for our benefit). The Holy Spirit is our Helper & Teacher (John 14:16,26), reveals more about Christ (John 15:26-27), gives us the confidence we need in order to call God “Abba! Father!” (Gal.4:6), brings hope by giving us wisdom and understanding of all the gospel means (Ephes.1:17-18), regenerates us (John3:5-8), transforms us (Gal.5:22-23), and equips us for service (1Cor.12:4-11).
Remember that the Holy Spirit & His power in our lives can be quenched by ignoring Him. So in addition to understanding that my prayers need to be fueled by the Word of God, I now realize that my prayers must be oiled (anointed) by the Holy Spirit. You do have all the Holy Spirit you will ever need because God the Father gives the Holy Spirit without measure (John3:34). Manny urges us to pray for the hallowing of God’s name by praying not for more of the Holy Spirit but for the Holy Spirit to have more of you!
Pastor Hill then tells another true story of radical prayer power in his prison ministry. He then says, “In God’s absolute sovereignty, He arranged for me to meet the Hortons. IN God’s absolute sovereignty, He moved chief Kiem to call me. But I was responsible to hallow God’s name. I was responsible to be obedient to His command to pray…
It is like a divine dance. When men & women pray in the power of the Holy Spirit, God moves! As God the Father gives more of the Holy Spirit in response to our passionate, persistent praying, we will have an increased love for Him and our neighbor. This increased love results in a greater joy and desire to serve both God and man.”
Moses’ Bold Intercession for the Israelites (Moses was with God for 40 days, during which time the Israelites started to worship a golden calf, and God was so angry He wants to wipe out the whole nation and start over):
First, Moses engages and approaches the angry God directly even after God has asked Moses to leave Him alone so He could direct His anger against the Israelites. Second, Moses reminds God of what HE has done and what He said over Israel’s history and fuels his prayers with God’s own words (God brought them out of Egypt and promised Abraham that his descendants would be innumerable and inherit a land forever). Third, Moses makes a big radical and bold prayer request: “Turn form your fierce wrath, and relent from this harm to Your people.” A fourth mind-boggling prayer in the Old Testament covenant, Moses asked God to forgive their sin…
Do not lose sight that Moses had just spent 40 days & nights alone with God – truly a radical time-out! The result of this time was a deep intimacy with God that led to bold intercession for others. Moses prayed – and God relented.
Manny urges us to take a radical time-out and wrestle with God our Father. Ask Him to open the eyes of your heart to see Him, to grow in your knowledge of and intimacy with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Ask Him to reveal Himself to you in order that you may validate your love for Him by loving your neighbor. If you do so, I can assure you that your joy will be uncontainable, inexpressible, and full of glory (1 Peter1:8).
Pastor Hill and his wife lead a Thursday night Bible study with the constant and much time spent in prayer. They asked God to circumcise their hearts, cutting away those sins that are hindering them from experiencing the fullness of life that Jesus offers. They prayed for each other, friends, children, and for God to surprise them and show them something only He could do! They prayed and God moved.
Manny relates this story about a father’s prayers for his son’s Erik’s safety. “In a moment that illustrates prayer’s divine dance between God’s sovereignty and human responsibility, the Holy Spirit moved Bill to pray for Erik’s safety. This is one of the mysteries of prayers and a tension believers need to embrace. God knew Erik was in danger and had the power to deliver him from the situation. Why then did Bill need to pray? Bill needed to pray so that Bill could know God cares and is involved in the details of his life.”
In Manny’s study of Jesus’ teaching to the disciples he learned that the emphatic hallowing or honoring of God’s holy name should be the supreme focus of his prayers. From his study of Moses, he learned how intimacy in communion with God the Father would result in a boldness in praying for others (including obstinate, difficult, and rebellious people). His lesson for praying precise specific prayers was impressed upon him through the study of British preacher George Whitefield. When leaving the comforts of London for a dangerous Atlantic crossing George prayed this concise prayer, “God, give me a deep humility (that he is to carry out his Father’s will), a well-guided zeal ((controlling is human emotions still with passion), a burning love (for our Father & all people) and a single eye (to bring God glory), and let men or devils do their worse. In Jesus matchless name, Amen.”
A radical, biblical prayer is one that begins with a correct understanding and careful acknowledgment of whose presence we are entering: the self-sustaining, sovereign king of the universe, and we can do so only through the gift of Jesus Christ’s righteousness who paid the penalty of our sins through His death on the cross. This right standing before God allows us to now come boldly and confidently before His throne of grace as much-beloved children approaching a much-beloved father. There are no appointments to be made. We have an immediate audience with the King at any time!
Also, a radical, biblical prayer is one made with an unwavering commitment to obey all that God commands, for the hallowing of His holy name. We commit to worship no other god, “for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God (Ex.34:14). What idols are there in your life that should be destroyed, broken, or cut down? What stands in your way of being obedient to all God commands you?
God laid it on Manny’s heart to write this book as a strong call to his brothers and sisters in Christ to hallow His name through radical, biblical prayer. It is Pastor Hill’s burning desire that the name of the Lord would be valued, cherished, adored, esteemed, and exalted by people everywhere, including us his beloved readers.
“Plead to God, your holy and loving heavenly Father, to baptize you afresh with the Holy Spirit. Fuel your prayers with the Word of God. Come before Him with a posture of surrender, an honest confession, a delight in His ownership, an attitude of expectancy, and an unwavering commitment to obedience – all for the hallowing of His holy name. Aleluya!”
“The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles.” Ps.34:17
“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be my disciple.” John 15:5-8
“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt; open your mouth wide, and I will fill it.” Ps.81:10