My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Dave Earley’s book, Prayer: The Timeless Secret of High-Impact Leaders, is the product of Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary, where Earley hails home and focused greatly on covering the topic of prayer. In an effort to create a book to be utilized as educational material at Liberty for generations to come, Earley strived to thoroughly research the Bible to draft his small primer. As a result, he published this ten-chapter resource that is very illuminating into his theology of prayer as a whole.
Like all other texts that are not the Bible, one must sift through the material to separate wheat from weed and determine what are nuggets of truth to be remembered and applied, and what is not worth further consideration. In Earley’s case, it is much harder to do so. One can easily quote Earley out of context to suggest that he is teaching errant doctrines. For example, on Earley’s teaching regarding influencing G-d to influence others, one could haphazardly state that Earley is advocating that prayer manipulates G-d into action. This very concept is problematic as man cannot manipulate G-d. In context, however, there is a deeper issue at hand: G-d’s sovereignty and man’s free will. In Earley’s case, Earley believes wholeheartedly in absolute free will, to the point where G-d’s sovereignty is seemingly restricted from action to allow free will to exist. Earley quotes S.D. Gordon in his book a few times, and Gordon is known for his view that G-d restricts Himself from acting on His will to allow man’s free will to exist. This is a much larger issue to be considered and addressed, but is a core theological problem that has plagued the Christian church throughout history, and a key sticking point to whether one is predetermined or if one can freely choose Christ, being the Calvinist versus Arminian debate.
In fact, this is not the only case of Earley’s leaning toward absolute free will to the point where one can influence G-d’s actions. His argument regarding the enhanced success with fasting is a tip of the hat to the theology as well. Putting Earley’s theological sway toward Arminian free will view aside, he presents excellent material to consider and apply. His tips regarding prayer ought to be considered regardless of one’s believe in sovereignty or free will, because regardless of either, prayer is a conversation with G-d, and G-d can use the prayer time to impact and change one’s heart. Whether by force or by free will is irrelevant, as by a believer, specifically a leader, focusing more on prayer, they must then place their personal goals aside and instead look at G-d’s priorities. Essentially, prayer allows one to refocus their perspective. With this Earley excels at providing practical and relevant advice on how to improve one’s prayer life.
Disclosure: I have received a reviewer copy and/or payment in exchange for an honest review of the product mentioned in this post.