Skip to main content

Review of the Book: "Praying Backwards"

Rev. Margaret Minnicks is an ordained Bible teacher. She writes many articles that are Bible lessons.


The Bible tells us to "pray without ceasing" (1 Thessalonians 5:17). From the pulpit, preachers tell us to pray. Bible teachers tell us to pray. There are hundreds of books on the market that tell us to pray, when to pray, where to pray, why we should pray, and how to pray.

There is a book that tells us that we have been praying the wrong way. It gives us reasons to pray backwards instead of the way we have been praying for generations. Let's explore that concept.

'Praying Backwards"

The complete title of Pastor Bryan Chapell's book is Praying Backwards: Transform Your Prayer Life by Beginning in Jesus’ Name. The pastor writes that it is more effective and we get better results from our prayers if we stop saying what we usually say at the end of our prayers and say those words at the beginning of our prayers.

The pastor notes that many Christians use the words “in Jesus' name, amen!” at the end of their prayers when those words should be used at the beginning of the prayer instead of being tacked on at the end like the credit to a movie or an afterthought.

Chapell emphasizes that when we pray in the name of Jesus, those words should come at the beginning of the prayer and not at the end. Therefore, he encourages everyone to change the way they have been praying and use those words at the beginning rather than at the end. In other words, Chapell encourages people to pray backwards.

The author of the book adds that people need to test the motives of their hearts and ensure that they are praying prayers that honor God and not themselves before they begin to make personal petitions to God.

Other Topics

Praying Backwards has ten chapters based on various topics about praying.

  1. Praying in Jesus’ Name: In Jesus’ Name, Amen Begin
  2. Praying in Jesus’ Way: Not My Will but Yours
  3. Praying without Doubting: Trusting Our Father, the King
  4. Praying in the Spirit: Power Beyond Our Power
  5. Praying Boldly: As a Child of God
  6. Praying Expectantly: For All Things Always
  7. Praying Persistently: Never, Never Give Up
  8. Praying in God’s Will: Within the Fence of Righteousness
  9. Praying in God’s Wisdom: Within the Fence of Prudence
  10. Praying Forward: Paddle and Pray

Format and Features of the Book

The 208-page book was published by Baker Books on July 1, 2005. It is easy to read. At the end of each chapter, there is a Key Thought that summarizes the content of that particular chapter in a few helpful sentences.

Scroll to Continue

A prayer follows each Key Thought that helps the reader put into practice the teachings of that chapter.

Dr. Bryan Chapell, Author of "Praying Backwards"

Dr. Bryan Chapell, Author of "Praying Backwards"

About the Author

Dr. Bryan Chapell, Ph.D. is the former Senior Pastor of Grace Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Peoria, Illinois. He is President Emeritus of Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri after serving eighteen years. The pastor, theologian, author, lecturer, and conference speaker is now in the position of the Stated Clerk of the Presbyterian Church in America.

Some of his books:

  1. Unlimited Grace
  2. Each for the Other
  3. Holiness by Grace
  4. The Gospel According to Daniel
  5. The Hardest Sermons You’ll Ever Have to Preach
  6. Christ-Centered Preaching

Christ-Centered Preaching is a preaching textbook that has established Chapell as a great teacher of homiletics. The book has been published in many languages.

Bryan Chapell and his wife, Kathy, have four adult children as well as a growing number of grandchildren.

Final Words

Pastor Chapell makes some valid points in his book, but there are at least two points he makes that are questionable. Prayer warriors and Christians who have been praying most of their lives find Chapell's concept of praying backwards a little strange because when the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, Jesus did not teach them to pray backwards. Many other prayers in the Bible end with "Amen." None of them start with that particular word.

The other concern is that most people address their prayers to God at the beginning with a greeting or salutation. After they pray to God, they close the prayer in the name of Jesus and before saying "Amen" which means "It is so."

Since people have been ending their prayers a certain way for many years, it is going to be challenging to change, especially when they are not convinced that Chapell's way is the best way.

Even with those concerns, Praying Backwards has positive reviews on Amazon where the book can be purchased in paperback for $16 and in the Kindle format for only $4.99. You may read 22 pages of the book before deciding whether to purchase it.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

Related Articles