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Do you pray? A question for everybody (J C Ryle series)

By J C Ryle
August 2018 | Review by Matthew Cox
  • Publisher: EP Books
  • ISBN: 978-1-78397-217-3
  • Pages: 68
  • Price: 3.99
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It is to be welcomed that EP Books has republished three of JC Ryle’s lesser-known short tracts. The subject of this one is a vital question: ‘Do you pray?’ As always, Ryle gets to the heart of the matter and the reader soon realises that the real question is, ‘Are you a Christian?’

Ryle explains why personal prayer is crucial for a person’s salvation and a sure mark of a true Christian. He provides encouragements to pray, both from the Scriptures and his own experience. He also addresses the discouragements and excuses used by those who do not pray. He gives wise advice about the practicalities of prayer, what to pray about and the spirit in which one should approach God. He concludes, ‘If you will take care of your prayers, I am confident that nothing will go very wrong with your soul’ (p.66).

The book is attractively produced with well-spaced type, although there are some formatting quirks which have been overlooked during editing. With quotations from the ESV text, it states that the original tract has been ‘lightly edited and updated’. In fact, there is considerable rewording, perhaps unnecessarily at times given the simplicity of the author’s style. The updated phrases can stand out, especially the illustration on page 52 about a plane on autopilot (Ryle died in 1900!). On the whole, it still reads like Ryle, speaking to the heart through his crisp words and warm manner.

Do You Pray? would make a good gift to a nominal Christian, a young person, or a new believer setting out in the Christian life. One hopes that this series will introduce a new audience to the treasures of Ryle’s writings.

Matthew Cox

Bethersden, Kent