Bounds classic work on prayer is more than I could have hoped it would be. There has never been a book which has so immediately had such a large effect in my life. The number of books which I can point to and say, "That book largely affected who I am as a Christian today," are few. But even so, the number of books that I can point to and say, "After reading only a few pages, my entire Christianity shifted for the better, and the next day, I was a different man," are singular. This book is that book. I do not know if it is that way for many people, or if God simply decided to use this work to affect me greatly, nonetheless, I think this book would be exceeding beneficial for any believer to read.
Book thesis: Prayer is the keynote of the most sanctified life, of the holiest ministry; he does the most for God who is the highest skilled in prayer.
The thesis is supported, but not in argumentative, syllogistic fashion. Rather Bounds' writing emerges from one whose life has been profoundly affected by prayer and has seen its effects elsewhere. Anyone who has the Spirit residing within him will resonate with the words in this book, knowing that they are true even with the lack of researched deliberation. Bounds' "research," so to speak, is his life. Although, it should not be thought that Bounds does not appeal to Scripture. Nor that he is solitary and unique in his consideration of prayer. At the beginning of each chapter, Bounds includes quotations from notable men of Christian history and some remarks they make concerning prayer--such men as Spurgeon, A.J. Gordon, and D.L. Moody. He also interlaces accounts throughout his chapters, showing the importance prayer has played in such men's (and women's) lives. Furthermore, Bounds does frequently refer to Scripture and its contents--whether it be the teachings of Jesus, the life of Jesus, the prayers of Paul, or the wrestling of Jacob.
The chapters are brief, thirteen in all, and adding to a total of 160 pages (in my old edition). But if you are anything like me, they will be some of the most life-changing words you ever read. I recommend this book to all Christians, young and old, mature and immature, and I pray (literally) that the words of Bounds come into the lives of countless other Christians, and that the subsequent prayers of those Christians bring the kingdom of God to bear upon the earth in a way not yet seen.