Book of the Month, September 2022 – 21 Steps to Positive Prayer by Lewis Maclachlan

Hi, there. Maggie Shaw here, proud owner of Eregendal and author.

As a lifelong lover of reading, each month I choose one of my favourite books – and tell you all about it.

For September’s Book of the Month I have chosen the 94-page prayer guide 21 Steps to Positive Prayer by Lewis Maclachlan, published by Arthur James Ltd in 1965. Maclachlan was born in Perthshire and ordained in the Presbyterian Church in 1921. After service in south China, he served as minister in various parts of England, including Southend-on-Sea, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and London. When he retired from regular ministry in 1964 he became Chaplain to the Guild of Health. He published at least thirteen books, many of them specialising in different aspects of prayer and healing.

I bought my first copy of 21 Steps to Positive Prayer in 1981 when I went to my local Christian bookshop in Whitehaven and asked for a basic book to help me learn how to pray. I find it so helpful, I have bought several copies since and given them away to other people who have asked that same question. The chapters are short and easy to read, from only three to five pages long.

Each of the 21 steps is based firmly on the scriptures, but is also guided by the psychology of prayer, not just religious teaching. As the jacket explains, many people have grown so used to resentment and anxiety that they do not realise how these block effective prayer. A person’s prayers should be supported by their habitual thoughts. True prayer always comes from the innermost heart, not the prayers expressed in words.

These are some of the twelve points summarised in Step XIV: Principles of Prayer. The writer teaches that prayer is never getting what we want; it is getting what God wants for us. It is human nature for us to resist the thoughts of God, for which we should seek forgiveness. An unforgiving spirit, anxiety, self-pity, pride, greed and other negative feelings contradict the prayers we offer to our God who is Love. When we ask God for something we should wait in silent meditation until we receive it, trusting that God will respond. What we ask for ourselves we must desire for all who need it. Our prayers must be supported and not contradicted by our subsequent conversations and deeds. They will not always be answered immediately, and then we should be persistent in prayer. And all our prayers should end with thanksgiving.

If you feel you would like a simple step-by-step guide to improving your prayer life, this may be the book for you too. Copies can still be bought through Abebooks, Amazon and other second-hand book dealers.

So there we have it, September’s Book of the Month! Be sure to check back in October as I’ll be revealing another must read.

Take care,

Maggie x

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