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Customer Reviews for Crossway Books & Bibles The Barber Who Wanted to Pray

Crossway Books & Bibles The Barber Who Wanted to Pray

An excellent gift for children of all ages and a wonderful addition to any family's library, this new story by R.C. Sproul will help open you and your children's minds to prayer. Follow this story as you meet a Barber who discovers that his last customer for the day is the outlaw Martin Luther. Rather than turning him in, he asks him a simple question, "How can I pray better?" Discover, along with the Barber, the simple ways that you can prayer better through The Lord's Prayer, The Apostle's Creed, and The Ten Commandments. All three prayers are listed in the back for reference.
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8 out of 8100%customers would recommend this product to a friend.
Customer Reviews for The Barber Who Wanted to Pray
Review 1 for The Barber Who Wanted to Pray
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Practical Church History for older kids

Date:March 6, 2012
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Karl
Location:Thailand
Age:35-44
Gender:male
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
How do you put church history, theology, and practical instruction on prayer all together into a children’s book? You write about Martin Luther getting a haircut, of course!
In “The Barber Who Wanted to Pray”, R.C. Sproul has come up with a clever way to bring down to a children’s level Martin Luther’s occasional tract, “A Simple Way to Pray”. As one would expect from Sproul, the text is weighty and informative, yet written in a clear and simple style. And to further hold the attention of children (and adults), each page of Sproul’s text is complemented by a beautiful full-page illustration from T. Lively Fluharty.
The Storyline
The book starts out with fictional Mr. McFarland leading his children in family devotions. His daughter asks how to pray like her Dad, which launches Mr. McFarland into the true (but obviously embellished) story of Martin Luther’s barber, Master Peter, asking Dr. Luther how to pray. Luther is cheered that Peter wants to grow as a Christian so he goes home and writes “A Simple Way to Pray”, and then comes back and talks with him about praying through the Lord’s Prayer, Ten Commandments, and the Apostle’s Creed (which can be found at the back of the book). Peter thinks that this means just repeating the Lord’s Prayer a lot, but Luther explains that it means to take each line of the prayer as a launching point to pray about what it means that God is Father, gives us our daily bread, etc. Master Peter is glad for this helpful instruction in prayer from the great Reformer, as is Mr. McFarland’s daughter who requests another round of family devotions so that she can try out this new way to pray.
Practical History for Kids
Most of the Christian children’s books available are either Bible stories or simple devotional tales, some very fluffy. For that reason, “The Barber Who Wanted to Pray” is a unique children’s book, as it draws from the well of church history for its teaching. Most people, including adults, don’t know a lot about history, especially church history, so this book is a great way to introduce kids to a very significant bit of Protestant history. And because it is a practical book about prayer, there is the added benefit of showing kids that history is not just about boring names and dates, but offers us valuable resources for the Christian life.
For Older Kids
As soon as I got the book in the mail, I sat down to read it with my 5 year old. He sat fairly attentively, but when I got to the end, he said, “Never read that to me again.” I thought, “Oh no, how am I going to write a book review about this?!” A few days later, however, when I was out, my wife reported that he requested the book specifically and really enjoyed it. And he has started to spontaneously integrate paraphrases of the Lord’s Prayer into his own prayers. With that said, I got the feeling that as good as it is, Sproul’s book is aimed at kids who are bit older than mine, maybe in the 8-10 year old range and above.
The Family Context - Ideal and Otherwise
One of the nice features of Sproul’s telling of the Luther and Master Peter story is that he bookends it with the tale of a family doing their evening devotions. I appreciated this context to the rest of the book because it models how fathers should be leading their families spiritually and instructing their children. As a model of how devotions can be done, I thought it was great -- albeit a bit idealized. After family prayers, Mr. McFarland’s daughter asks, “Daddy, can you teach me how to pray in a way that will make Jesus happy and make me feel more comfortable?” On occasion, my kids have a good question like the girl in the story, but usually they just ask, “Can I get down now?” or “Can I have cookie?”
Concluding Thoughts
Overall, I really enjoyed Sproul’s story of Luther and the instruction on prayer that was brought out in a practical way.... though I may need to wait a few years before my own kids are old enough to appreciate it. “The Barber Who Wanted to Pray” is a brilliant little nugget of church history for kids, and I hope more books like it are produced so that the younger generation will know the blessings to be had from our the rich heritage of faith.
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Review 2 for The Barber Who Wanted to Pray
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Excellent for elementary and middle school levels

Date:February 17, 2012
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Lori J
Location:Oshkosh, WI
Age:45-54
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Written by R.C. Sproul, I knew when I ordered it that I had a very good chance of being quite pleased - and I am! I teach 4th, 5th and 6th grade Sunday School and it was an excellent story and opportunity to introduce the Apostle's Creed and the Lord's Prayer. You will not be disappointed.
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Review 3 for The Barber Who Wanted to Pray
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

teach your kids how to pray

Date:January 24, 2012
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apple blossom
Location:Grand Forks, ND
Age:45-54
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
This book is an excellent book if you want to teach your child how to pray. They learn how easy it is to pray according to the Bible from author, R. C. Sproul, and Martin Luther. This book is based on a true tale. The author uses the Lord's Prayer, 10 commandments and the Apostles' Creed as the model to praying. This book is just a wonderful tool to have and will be referred to often I'm sure. The illustrations will delight both adults and children. They are just as beautiful as the story itself. They are painting by accomplished artist, T. Lively Fluharty.
a copy of this book was provided by crossway in exchange for my honest review.
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Review 4 for The Barber Who Wanted to Pray
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Wonderful Teaching Tool

Date:January 23, 2012
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Bookmoms
Location:Middlefield, OH
Age:35-44
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
In the storyteller fashion that has become his trademark R.C. Sproul once again delivers an engaging story that brings history, theology and practical religious training to life for children. As the story opens Mr. McFarland is leading family devotions. When one of his children wants to learn how to pray better he tells them the story of The Barber Who Wanted to Pray. Master Peter is the town barber and one day an outlaw walks into his shop for a cut and shave. Master Peter feels privileged that this outlaw would come and visit his shop, for the outlaw is none other than Martin Luther. While he is working Master Peter asks Dr. Luther a question that he has been struggling with - how to deepen his prayer life. Dr. Luther is happy to help and promises to return with help. The letter he writes is a book we know today as A Simple Way to Pray. Dr. Luther teaches us to pray through the Lord's Prayer, the Ten Commandments and The Apostle's Creed as a model to deepen our prayer life.
Positives: Children will love the storytelling abilities of R.C. Sproul! He has proven once again that he can weave a masterful tale. I loved the history that was incorporated into this story as well. This is a great introduction to young children of who Martin Luther is and gives them a glimpse of his passion for the gospel. I also enjoyed the end of the book when the father, Mr. McFarland encouraged his children to practice praying. Children should be encouraged that prayer is a discipline and that, while God always hears the prayers of His children, we can become better at prayer as we grow spiritually. The artwork is exquisite as well.
Negatives: Just a word of caution for those with young children, there is a part of the story that may cause concern. As Master Peter is using a razor it speaks of the idea of pressing hard on the razor on the mans neck and killing him. Use your best judgment with your children as to if this is appropriate.
Talking Points: Continue to talk to your children and teach them about the Lord's Prayer (Matt. 6:9-13) and the Ten Commandments (Ex. 20:3-17). While the story begins the explanation and gives wonderful examples of how to pray through these Scriptures children may need continued instruction. It is important that you teach them what these Scriptures are teaching. Instruct them on the meaning of these passages so that they can learn to pray in the truth. Take the Apostles' Creed (written in the back of the book) and find Scripture verses that correspond with the truths written in it. HERE is a link that may be helpful. Encourage your children to talk to God often and give them an example to follow by praying with them regularly as well. This is a discipline so many of us want to grow in, why not give your children all the help you can when they are young!
Age Level: 3-10 years of age
I received a free copy of this book from Crossway Publishers for this review.
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Review 5 for The Barber Who Wanted to Pray
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

An Excellent Resource for Parents

Date:November 23, 2011
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Anna Wood
Location:Mobile, AL
Age:45-54
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
When we read a book that is theological in nature, we ought to be asking ourselves “Does this present truth? Is this glorifying to God?”. When we are reading a theologically based book to our children, we need to be doubly sure of the firm standing of the author and of his work. In these days of weak, me-centered, man-exalting, theological quagmire, this is a very difficult assignment for parents. However, where difficulties for godly parents arise, God comes and gives more grace. He has granted us a bit of grace in the books written for children by Dr. R. C. Sproul. Beautiful pictures, deep theological truths, exceptional writing: these are the ingredients that make up most of the books for children that he has written. The Barber Who Wanted to Pray is no exception.
One of the weaknesses in modern Christianity is that most Christians either don’t understand how to pray or simply rarely take the time to pray deep and hard. Dr. Sproul is obviously aware of this need and, like the theologian, teacher, father and grandfather that he is, he has responded to it. The Barber Who Wanted to Pray is an excellent resource for parents and is based upon Martin Luther’s book on prayer, A Simple Way to Pray, that he wrote in answer to a request by his barber.
This book, like Martin Luther’s, shows us how to exalt the name of the Lord in prayer, how to go deeper in prayer, how to pray in such a way that, not only are our needs met, but that, more importantly, we learn to know God in a deeper, more intimate, way.
My children thoroughly enjoyed this book and I cannot recommend it highly enough. It has earned a permanent place on our shelves and in our hearts.
DISCLAIMER: I received a free copy of this book from Crossway as part of their blogger review program. I was not required to give a positive review, only a fair and honest one. My opinions are my own.
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Review 6 for The Barber Who Wanted to Pray
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Good book on prayer...

Date:November 7, 2011
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The Lorax
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
This is a short book recounting a true story (though told in dramatized fashion) of Martin Luther and his barber. The essence of the story is one that many – if not all – of us can relate to: how can we have a more robust and faithful prayer life? And that question is exactly what the barber asks Luther. You know what amazes me about this? Luther doesn’t simply reply with “you need to try harder” or “here’s three steps to getting what you want in prayer,” but instead he says that he will go back to his study and think about it.
Think about it he does! Luther ended up writing a short pamphlet on exactly this topic (entitled A Simple Way to Pray) just for his barber. The seed of what Luther says is that he believes it is important to remember the Lord’s Prayer, the Ten Commandments, and the Apostles’ Creed. Then, when you pray, think through a part of any of these statements of Christian faith and pray accordingly. By saying this, Luther means that we should not simply recite what any of these statements says, but that we should apply these statements to ourselves, our temptations, our troubles – our very lives – and pray them back to God.
One particular example of this would be to take the first of the Ten Commandments: “you shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3) and then pray with an understanding that one of our largest temptations is to place something or somebody – oftentimes ourselves – into the place of God. Thus, the resulting prayer might be something along the lines of: “Lord, keep my heart from wandering from the truth that you and you alone are God. Let me not be swayed towards worshiping anyone else. I know that my heart is an idol factory and yet I desire that it remain solely devoted to you…” In this manner, Luther notes that you will never run out of things to pray about.
This is an excellent and well illustrated book which will be engaging to elementary-aged children. While I would personally zero in on praying in light of the Lord’s Prayer and the Ten Commandments (as opposed to the Apostles’ Creed) directly from the Scriptures, I found the story to be interesting, faith-building, and solidly Biblical in it’s application. I also appreciate the little bit of history that forms the background of this book which serves as a good example to us of those who aren’t afraid to ask questions and as an example of those who are willing to make the time to answer well. Let us learn from this servant of the Lord and be directed to how the Lord taught us to pray.
(In the interest of full disclosure, I want to note that the publisher of this book, Crossway, provided it at no cost to me as a review sample. That said, my review is in no way influenced or controlled by them and thus I give my recommendation of this book with honesty and integrity and have received no compensation for this review)
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Review 7 for The Barber Who Wanted to Pray
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

A beautiful read and a great family resource.

Date:October 24, 2011
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Katie Orr
Age:25-34
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
The Barber Who Wanted to Pray is a delight to read and it is beautifully illustrated. As a family, we have enjoyed reading it over and over.
This children's book, written by R.C. Sproul hits on an area that both children and adults need development in--prayer. The Barber Who Wanted to Pray tells an engaging tale of Martin Luther and how he came to write the classic little booklet A Simple Way to Pray; leaving children and adults with a practical guide to prayer.
I love the discussion this book has provided about prayer, church history, and family devotion time.
The Barber Who Wanted to Pray book is a beautiful read and a great family resource.
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Review 8 for The Barber Who Wanted to Pray
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Okay for Kids, Great for Adults

Date:September 27, 2011
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mfuller
Location:Beaverton, OR
Age:25-34
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
I am a huge R.C. Sproul fan. He has written a handful of children’s books that I simply adore (including the Lightlings and the King without a Shadow) so when I heard that he was having a new book published, I actually emailed the publishing house and begged them to send me a review copy of this book- to which they wonderfully agreed. I have to say that I am a little disappointed in the storyline of The Barber Who Wanted to Pray.
Like many of Dr. Sproul’s books, this one is a story within a story. It opens with the McFarlan family during their nightly devotions time. One of the children asks their father how to pray and he begins to tell the story about Martin Luther, a wanted man for starting the Protestant Reformation. While Master Peter, the Barber, is finishing up shaving his last customer He recognizes the wanted man who walks in his door as Martin Luther. Instead of turning him in for a large reward, the Barber asks him a question, which is how to pray better. Martin Luther agrees to answer his question but asks to write down the answer with some hints and bring it back to the barber at another time (A Simple Way to Pray). He then teaches the Barber how to pray through the Lord’s Prayer, the Ten Commandments, and the Apostle’s Creed.
As far as a Children’s story, I would recommend this for ages 7+ I think. The pictures are beautiful, but they are mostly head shots, dark, with not a ton of items or action happening to hold a younger person’s attention for long. Also, the story just wasn’t very captivating either. With that said, I do think it is helpful that the three prayers to pray through are written in the back of the book, and I myself and starting to memorize them and work through it. This book is not the keepsake beautiful allegory as seen in other works from Dr. Sproul and I would give it about a 3-star rating for kids. For myself, I would give it a 5-star rating, as I haven’t thought about praying through the ten commandments or Apostle’s Creed before. Overall, I will meet in the middle and rate this book a 4. It would be the perfect present to a child who actually asks their parents how to pray.
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