Praying with Passion, Confidence, and Authority
By John Eldredge
Title: Moving Mountains, by John Eldredge
Publishing Info: 2016 by Nelson Books, Nashville Tennessee
Photo Credit: Thomas Nelson Publishers
My Rating: 4.5/5 stars
This review will be somewhat biased. I’ve met John Eldredge a few times and he’s a genuine guy. We both reside in Colorado and I’ve interacted with him at small teaching seminars. I’ve also spotted him and his wife Stasi at my church and I ran over and introduced myself. They were very gracious. Great guy; great wife. He walks-the-walk and talks-the-talk from what I know about him.
He’s the kind of guy you’d like to banter with at your barbeque.
But even nice guys don’t get off the hook in my book reviews. As a reader, you mostly want to know if the book was helpful—did it reach it goals?
In short, yes, it did.
The point of Moving Mountains is that God is still powerful, prayer still works, we need to grow-up, invite the Holy Spirit into our deep issues, and exercise our authority in Christ. And after all this intense prayer, we still may not get the answer we desire.
Summary: It’s About Experiential Prayer
Overall, Moving Mountains is an easy book to read. It was not overly profound to me but it was extremely helpful. It needn’t be profound, actually. Usually if something is profound in our faith it borders on heresy, anyway. What we need is for authors to put deep spiritual concepts in a language we can understand. Eldredge did this beautifully.
As an avid reader, I was reading four prayer books simultaneously and this is the one I finished first—because I wanted to. I was engaged in it.
Moving Mountains taught the reader to pray by doing. There was no rigid didactic progression of teaching in the book, per say. Eldredge didn’t begin with a deep theology of prayer, then explain the history of prayer, then expound on prayers that worked in his life, and then blandly share prayers that worked for others.
That outline is passé, predictable, and boring anyway.
Moving Mountains is anything but a snoozer. Instead, he taught concepts on prayer by acting in prayer. Imagine the author grabbing your arm and jumping in with you to the deep-end of the prayer pool. I’d imagine Eldredge saying, “Is it more fun to stare at a coffee table book about the ocean or actually play in its waves?” Likewise, with prayer, “Should we talk about the dry and impotent concepts of prayer or engage with God?”
Fortunately for us, Moving Mountains leaned on doing rather than rote learning.
That isn’t to say Moving Mountains didnn’t teach the reader about prayer—that’s far from the truth. My guess is that he mostly left out what Augustine, Luther, and Calvin taught on prayer because, well, it didn’t matter to his practical point.
In any case, the book does have structure. The author covers our identity in Christ, daily prayer, listening prayer, praying scripture, spiritual warfare, inner healing, and physical healing. Each topic is saturated with the Holy Spirit. With each section, there are very practical (and inspiring) prayers to pray!
It’s the kind of book where you’ll return to it and pray the same prayers in it again.
And John Eldredge is personal in Moving Mountains. He shares several of own personal experiences with prayer, telling his readers poignant times when God showed up in his life through prayer and times he didn’t get the outcome he desired.
It certainly brings a breath of fresh air when popular leaders of the Christian faith have the courage to be vulnerable!
There is no sense of a “Prosperity Gospel” in Moving Mountains. He balances our immense power in prayer with the sober fact that, as mature Believers, sometimes we need to simply let go.
“There is a time to let go. I do not mean you let your faith in the goodness of God go. I do not mean you let praying go. But there is a time to let contending go, let go the Prayer of Intervention when you have done all you can and no more” (p. 218).
My Favorite Part of Moving Mountains
I loved all the practical prayers littered throughout the book—they were very helpful and hopeful. Again, why wait to pray until the end of a prayer book?
I also enjoyed the analogy of using the story of Elijah in the concept of prayer. Speaking to his servant, “Seven times Elijah said, “Go back.” The seventh time the servant reported, “A cloud as small as a man’s hand is rising from the sea” (1 Kings 18:43-44).
The point is that we need to keep praying and never give up.
- Intensely hopeful but pragmatic, “Sometimes he [God] comes through, often he doesn’t” (p. 5)
- Great use of Scripture (Chapter 13)
- We are in a spiritual battle (p. 17, Chapter 14)
- Prayer grows us in maturity (p. 15)
- Could have included ideas from Church Greats like Assisi, Calvin, Aquinas, etc.
- Intense spiritual warfare concepts might be too much for nascent believers
Overall, Eldredge wants you to pray with a canon, not a B.B. gun. To use another analogy, the author doesn’t want you to get a little damp with prayer with a squirt gun, he wants you to get soaked in it.
People who are unfamiliar with prayer and/or spiritual warfare, however, might find these concepts a bit too much for them. Newbies may need to wade in the shallow end of the prayer pool for a while. But for most of us, Moving Mountains is exactly what we need to get drenched in prayer.
4.5 stars from me.