Housewife Theologian

The Gospel Interrupting the Ordinary

Book Recommendation:

Written By: Aimee Byrd - Jun• 20•12

The Barber Who Wanted to Pray, R.C. Sproul (Crossway, 2011)

I so enjoyed reading this book with my son that I wanted to recommend it on my blog. It is as good of a read for the parent as it is for the child!

The story begins with the setting of family devotion time. Mr. McFarland’s little girl, Delaney, asks her dad how he can pray such beautiful prayers. She feels embarrassed by her own. That’s when Mr. McFarland tells the 500 year old story about Martin Luther and his barber.

At the time, Martin Luther was an outlaw (which really peaked my son’s interest), wanted dead or alive. Since he was so outspoken for gospel truth and reform, the emperor had put out a reward for his capture. While the barber knew this, he would never turn in his hero of the faith. Instead, he begins his shave and asks him a very important question.

Just like Delaney, this barber felt like his prayers were inadequate. He asked Martin Luther how he could improve his prayer life.  Luther was encouraged by his desire to grow in the Lord, and told him that he would like to write down some helpful ideas on this matter. The result was a small book called A Simple Way to Pray. His barber received the first copy. Luther recommends memorizing the Lord’s Prayer, the Ten Commandments, the Apostle’s Creed, and using them to meditate on in prayer.

So Haydn and I started with the first line of the Lord’s Prayer last night, “Our Father who art in heaven.” That’s all we needed for a wonderfully rich prayer focused on adoration of our God. We prayed about how the God of the universe is our Father—how amazing is that? We prayed about the privilege of being adopted in Christ as his children. We thanked our Lord for such a great love that spared not his own Son to bring us into the most intimate relationship with Him. And then we prayed about our Father being in heaven, a much more glorious place than the sinful world we inhabit. We prayed about our future hope to dwell in a holy place with Him, the new heavens and the new earth. We thanked Him for Jesus Christ who is sitting at his right hand, interceding for us as our High Priest. I am so thankful that this children’s book has enriched my own prayer life! Tonight we will meditate on “hallowed be thy name.”

This book wonderfully connects a historical person with a practical matter. It is a great way to help our children see the value of church history. Haydn and I were led to many other conversations as we took our time (about a week) with this book. Haydn did all the reading, and much of the reflecting. I also wanted to quickly add that the illustrations done by T. Lively Fluharty are fantastic. What a quality book this is! If you have children, pick it up, and if you don’t, be sure to put this book into some little hands. And pass it on!

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


  1. Alan says:

    In point of prayer. All Christians instinctively begin with “God”, because it is the spirit that they are of. The Holy Spirit helps infirmities in prayer (Rom.8.26). Prayer still remains an excercise of the soul, a regenerated soul, and where prayer is not answered it is because it is not indicted of God, prayer being more than mere words.

    Prayers should be doctrinal, as Luther and Calvin agree, and the whole of the invisible church of Jesus Christ shouts (Rev.7.10.12). What is missing today is not just sermons of any quality and depth but proper theological praying from the pulpit, aside from the fact that most ministers, as in the times of the Marrow of Modern Divinity, are spiritually dead. It used to be that the ministers prayer led into, complimented his sermon, and was as such written out, written from a prayerful consideration of what he was to speak that day.

    It is now much forgotten that prayer not only is a speaking to God in the way of expressing thanks to God for His goodness and mercy, and laying before Him the matter of the day and of others, even the nation, but that a prayerful spirit should be acquired so that it is not left to the carnal mind to interpret scripture.

  2. Tim says:

    Aimee, you’ve hit on two of the joys of parenthood: sharing God with one’s child and reading a good book with him or her as well. That prayer time reflecting on God must have been such a rich time for you two together.

    On a side note, I heard Darrell Johnson once speaking on Matthew 6:5-14, and when he got to verses 9-10 he pointed out that the phrase “on earth as it is in heaven” modifies all three of the preceeding clauses so that they are most properly understood as: hallowed be your name on earth as it is in heaven, your kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Blew my mind.


    • Aimee Byrd says:

      Oh wow, I never heard it put that way! Thanks for sharing.

      • Alan says:

        Tim. Another thought. The Lord’s prayer begins with the first table of the law, the worship of God alone. I hear a great deal of praying and praising ‘Jesus’. Such praying and praising is to a foreign ‘Jesus’ because the real Jesus Christ continues to point to God, not away from Him. If Jesus Christ were to be prayed to He would have removed the first table of the law, and set Himself up to be worshipped and prayed to.

        • Tim says:

          Well, since Jesus is God, I think it’s appropriate to pray to him. I take it you disagree, but I’m really not looking for a debate on trinitarian theology.

          • Alan says:

            It is true that Jesus Christ is God. There is no doubting the issue. However even as God the Lord Jesus Christ gave place to God, did not destroy the first table of the law, so upholding the first principle of the Christian relgion, that we pray to God, then Jesus Christ, as laid down in scripture. The hearts of each and every child of God is directed to God (Rev.7.10,12). You are correct that there is no debating the issue. What I simply say is that those who pray directly to Jesus are praying to another Jesus, one who does not point us to God, upholding the first table of the law of God.

            It remains the vowed intention of the Charismatic movement to do away with the first table of the law, to praise and worship unlawfully another Jesus, whom we have no received.

What do you think?