Book on Prayer

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Step by step into a more fruitful prayer life


The author takes us on his own life-long journey of discovering different ways of developing his prayer life. He explains how the well-known advice to "pray as you can" is generally misunderstood and he encourages us to move, step by step, outside our comfort zone, trying different prayer styles. Underpinning all of this is the assurance that prayer is not so much about what we can do, but about what God can do in us and through us - if we let His Holy Spirit help us.

Includes the following important topics:

  • Discovering different types of prayer.
  • The importance of prayer and faith being rooted in love, not fear.
  • Why and how prayer should come from the heart. 
  • Spirituality and getting to know the Holy Spirit
  • Discovering praise, healing and prophecy.
  • Insights into Christian and Catholic teaching.
  • Relevant quotations from the Bible and the Catholic Catechism.
  • Helpful prayer suggestions at the end of each chapter.
  • An appendix of testimonies of answered prayers.


Alastair Emblem has led a Parish Prayer Group for thirty years as well as being actively involved in many areas of voluntary ministry in the Catholic Church. He is also Core Group Leader, Host and Worship Leader for "ADoRE" a monthly online mini-retreat morning of spiritual renewal which attracts hundreds of followers from all over the UK and abroad.

Available from Amazon in Paperback and Kindle formats.


"Couldn't put it down! Easy to read, challenging, and stimulating. It really is excellent and covers everything we need to know to help us with our prayer life. Your book will be a great resource to help Catholics in particular understand how to pray - thank you!!" - Charles Whitehead KSG, former Chairman of International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services.

"Highly recommended. Alastair Emblem’s Book, 'Pray As You Can’t,' has helped me explore and share with others the gifts of the Holy Spirit and to understand better how varied and wonderful are those ‘charisms’. The Book brings home to me that, if we are to ‘hallow God’s name’ to the best of our ability, we must beg the Holy Spirit to pour out those gifts upon others as well as our ourselves, so that God’s name may truly be held holy. The Book is easy to read, free from theological jargon. Any specific terminology used is simply explained. The Author makes no secret that he writes as a committed Catholic, yet respects that the Holy Spirit inspires people of different Christian denominations as well as those of others convictions. Many of the lessons are backed by quotations from respected authorities and easily verified. Several of these quotes are from Pope Francis or other Papal sources. I highly recommend 'Pray As You Can’t' to anyone seeking a deeper understanding of prayer and help to pray with more focus and confidence." - Peter Codd, Priest (Retired) of Portsmouth Roman Catholic Diocese.

"There are many reasons to recommend this book. Firstly, it will resonate with many who read it, as people will see their own lives echoed within. Secondly, I would recommend every Catholic to have this on their bookshelves as, woven into this story, is the fruit of a lifetime of research - of learning about the Catholic Faith - a lifetime of profuse reading. Alastair shows he has read far and wide, from Popes to Saints to great theologians and, as such, this is a massively helpful resource for all Catholics. However, this book is not scholarly and inaccessible. As it follows someone’s story, it is extremely easy to read and to take in. This is the sort of book, over a lifetime, you could refer to again and again, if not read it periodically, as it is so useful to the Faithful. I believe it should be given to every Confirmand who enters the Catholic Church to show them how the Faith works in practice and how to foster a life lived in God’s Holy Spirit, cultivating a living three-dimensional Faith that is full of colour, lived in the prism of Holy Church. I can’t recommend this book enough."
- Reviewed By Kathy Bishop OPL for The Faith Companion Magazine

"A wonderful book. Only a writer at home with prayer could have written about it with Alastair’s understanding and authority. 'Pray as you can’t' is an invitation into an adventure by presenting the reader with the veritable kaleidoscope of ways to approach the Lord: he widens our spiritual horizons, quickens our interest and enthuses us to pray, with ever greater joy. Prayer, as revealed through his words, is what we always knew it was, an exploration into God. Alastair encourages us into a wide variety of praying and enables us to continue the journey, led by the Holy Spirit, who for many years has been his own master and guide. - DW

"An in-depth look at Prayer .An extremely well-researched volume, with the author using an accessible style of writing. He is in favour of personal prayer, i.e. using one’s own words to pray, rather than praying by rote (reciting traditional prayers) but he hastens to assert that the Mass, established prayers and, for example, the Rosary, are core to Catholic adoration. The author covers many of his personal experiences with prayer and this brings the writing alive. The book contains a wealth of references to the Bible and other sources. I was particularly taken when reminded of a familiar quote from Jesus: ‘Whoever is not with me is against me’. This was just one of many thought-provoking references throughout the book. It is to be commended to anyone who wishes to bring regular prayer back into their lives. - CW

"The author offers a treasure trove of ideas and practical suggestions to help us take our first steps on an exciting prayer journey...There is something for everyone in this book. Whether they are a seasoned Christian, or a newcomer to the faith, the reader will be provided with sound theology, creative ideas and a window in to the author's own personal experience of life and faith. Each chapter is concluded with a 'Pause For Prayer' section, which offers the opportunity to pray and reflect on what has been written....This book can be read in a number of ways: cover to cover, as a reference book, with a prayer partner or group, or as a prayerful resource for Advent or Lent."

- Marie Drozdziak in Catholic Charismatic Renewal New Life Newsletter

"An excellent resource book on Prayer This is a very comprehensive resource book on prayer. The author must be congratulated for the way in which he has tackled this huge subject and made it an easy read. I particularly appreciated the humble way he has shared his own experiences of prayer. This is a useful book to dip into for those times when prayer feels stagnant, or the distractions of life are crowding in. I am sure there is something for everyone who wants to improve their prayer life. The suggestions after each chapter are especially helpful. Personally, I found the chapters on Worship and Praise particularly interesting. I also found it affirming to read the occasions when his own struggles in prayer have mirrored my own." - JO

Beautiful and Practical. "This is a beautiful and practical book. It keeps the promise, made on the cover, to provide step by step encouragement to establishing a more fruitful prayer life. When I finished the book I returned to the beginning and read it more slowly a second time. I am certain that I will dip into it again in future. The author gives an account of his own faith journey from traditional Catholicism to an enriched faith and closer relationship with Jesus. He deals respectfully with traditional catholic worship and charts his development of more charismatic ways of prayer. The book is sincere, deeply personal, well researched, clearly written and well organized. It would be a good resource for anyone leading or attending a prayer group or for anyone wishing to deepen their prayer life. The practical sessions at the end of each chapter are particularly useful. Thoroughly recommended." - PR

"Thought-provoking. This is a well-written, engaging, interesting and insightful book about prayer. I found many thought-provoking ideas I'd never thought of, as well as fresh insights on things I thought I already knew. Alastair is obviously a veteran prayer warrior, and this rookie is privileged to be learning from someone so well-versed in the battle. The book combines autobiographical anecdotes with doctrinal and biblical analysis in a style that never becomes dull, and offers practical suggestions for engaging more fully and fruitfully in daily prayer. This is a very helpful book indeed, one I will read again." - ND

"Thank you a million times.... So much of your book mirrored my own experiences. It is so easy to read,....Reading it has been such a joy... There have been times of quite deep prayer and others of laughing out loud. Not that these need be opposites of course. Our God is a happy and joyous spirit." - EB

"Very deep, spiritual and prayerful... I have bought more copies and given them to friends whom I know appreciate it." - NT

"Lovely Book. I liked the way that Alastair encouraged us not to just read about different forms of prayer, but to put them into practice for ourselves. Beautifully written in easy language." - Review by Kindle customer on Amazon

Truly wonderful book. "I have greatly valued reading your book, Pray as you can’t. Thank you Alastair - for writing a truly wonderful book." - ML