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Spring 1993 · Vol. 22 No. 1 · pp. 92–93 

Book Review

Working with God Through Intercessory Prayer

D. Edmond Hiebert. Greenville, SC: Bob Jones University Press, 1991. 142 pages.

Reviewed by Jerry D. Truex

Prayer is “the Christian’s vital breath,” writes D. Edmond Hiebert. Indeed, prayer is cooperation with God, “the most important service in which the Church of Christ can engage.”

That thesis—and particularly the words “most important”—should cause readers to pause and think, for it comes from one who has served the church in a variety of capacities for many decades. As a teacher, Hiebert has served at Tabor College (Kansas) and for thirty years at the Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary (California). As an author, he is most noted for his three-volume Introduction to the New Testament and his commentaries on various New Testament epistles.

In this latest work, Hiebert’s portrait of intercessory prayer is not comprehensive and systematic. Rather, it is selective and appropriately devotional, a mixture of Biblical exegesis, stories, poetry, and exhortative reflections. Four chapters deal with the nature and ministry of prayer, three present men of prayer, two concentrate on failure to practice intercession, and the last presents Daniel as a model for working with God in prayer.

Chapters tend to focus on either a single Biblical text or a series of thematically linked verses. For example, the chapter entitled, “Empowerment Through Intercession,” focuses solely on Exodus 17:8-16. Here Israel’s victory over Amalek is not due to Joshua’s military prowess, but Moses’ endurance in intercessory prayer. Prayer is at the front line of battle; it is “where the action is.” Hiebert is adamant—the “pray-ers” are the “doers.”

The chapter entitled, “The Power of Prayer,” examines and reflects upon nine thematically linked passages, each emphasizing the results of prayer. Through prayer, workers are raised up (Matt. 9:37-38), opportunities for preaching are opened (Col. 4:3-4), the word is spread (2 Thess. 3:1), and the powers are subjugated to God ( 2 Thess. 3:1-2). To illustrate the objective power of prayer, Hiebert provides dramatic stories about R. A. {93} Torrey, Hudson Taylor, D. L. Moody, and others.

Hiebert’s sources tend to be a bit dated (primarily from the 19th and early 20th centuries). He occasionally spiritualizes the text (e.g., Amalek’s conflict with Joshua is “representative of the Satan-inspired persecution of God’s people by the world”), and he knows too well the thoughts and motives of others (e.g., from two verses in 1 Chron. 4, Hiebert knows the fears, hopes, and desires of Jabez with crystal clarity). Still, I believe Hiebert is to be commended for his biblical commitment, skillful storytelling, and challenge to Christians who may have neglected “the most important service.”

Jerry Truex
Instructor of Biblical Studies
Tabor College
Hillsboro, Kansas

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