The Barber Who Wanted to Pray by R.C. Sproul
Summary (from the Ligonier website)
This imaginative tale from the late R.C. Sproul, based on a true story, begins one evening with Mr. McFarland leading family devotions. When his daughter asks him how she should pray, Mr. McFarland shares a 500-year-old story about a barber and his famous customer.
Master Peter is a barber well-known to all in his village. One day, when Martin Luther the Reformer walks into his shop, the barber musters up the courage to ask the outlawed monk how to pray. Luther responds by writing a letter to the barber. The barber’s life and many others’ are changed as they encounter a model for prayer by using the Lord’s Prayer, the Ten Commandments, and the Apostles’ Creed.
Sproul’s beautifully illustrated story will delight children and help them learn to pray according to the Bible. The full text of the Lord’s Prayer, the Ten Commandments, and the Apostles’ Creed will make this a treasured book to be returned to time after time.
This book captivated my own attention as well as my five-year-old’s. At 30 pages with lots of illustrations, it’s the type of book you can read to your child in about ten to fifteen minutes. The story is great, but the illustrations make it worth the price, for sure. I was personally edified by the advice in the book that Martin Luther gives the barber. I think that is one mark of a good “children’s book” when the parents can not only enjoy the book, but also be blessed in the Lord as well.
The inclusion of the Ten Commandments, The Lord’s Prayer, and the Apostles Creed at the back of the book is another thing I sincerely appreciate about The Barber Who Wanted to Pray. Kids have more free time than we do as adults, and they’ll read every page of books you give them. I’m hopeful that this will be something my kids pore over in their own time for years to come.
I was surprised to see an illustration of the incarnate Christ in a book from a ministry and author so well-known for being Reformed. From a Reformed perspective, this is certainly a second commandment violation. Thankfully, for someone like I am who is sensitive to these things, the page with the violation can be easily removed or cut without removing any text.
With the above warning, I recommend this book to parents of children up to about teenage years. In a world of books for kids that ultimately teach lessons devoid of the God of Scripture being mentioned, it is refreshing to have a book my boys enjoy and also get a healthy dose of good theology from. The practical advice for prayer is applicable to any Christian’s life, and it is always a good thing to try to support Christian authors and ministries, if possible.
The fact that the book centers around a family doing devotions and praying reinforces for children of Christians the normalcy of a family worshiping the Lord together at home and praying and devoting time to scripture even when they aren’t “at church.”
Purchase the book here: https://www.ligonier.org/store/the-barber-who-wanted-to-pray-hardcover/