What is prayer? How does it work? And does it even help at all? Where do we start and where will it lead? These are questions that Johannes Hartl has spent his life exploring. Questions that have found their answers through encounter, experience and often through travel – a journey of discovery that has taken Hartl into the very heart of true prayer.
Weaving together stories of individuals, movements and moments he has encountered across the world, Hartl invites you to join him on an incredible adventure. Exploring different approaches to prayer, such as contemplative, intercessory, creative, powerful and revelatory prayer, Hartl encourages us to rediscover the true heart of prayer – a God who hears us and wants to speak to us.
For those who want to experience the power of prayer or who are struggling to pray, this book is full of thoughtful insights and wisdom, combined with reflective applications which will inspire and challenge readers to catch the fire for a life of prayer themselves.
What people are saying
“It has been said: ‘To an idea you can always oppose another idea and to a theory, a different theory, but what can we oppose to a life?’ Read this book of Johannes Hartl on his journey with Jesus and try to see if you can resist the evidence radiating from it. I could not. This book tells us, better than many treatises on Christology, that Jesus Christ is alive.”P. Raniero Cantalamessa O.F.M. Cap.Preacher to the Papal Household
“One of my favourite worship songs of all time is Misty Edwards ‘I Will Waste my Life’. I had a radical encounter with Jesus when I was sixteen years old, and since that day, Jesus has fully captured my heart. I gladly give every moment of my life for God, and I will go anywhere and do anything with him. In his book Heart Fire, Johannes Hartl captures a heart of love for Jesus that led him to birth the Augsburg House of Prayer. Johannes opens his very personal journey searching to know God intimately in this beautiful book about the pursuit of God through prayer. We can all learn from his devotion and passion for the One who is worthy of it all.”Heidi G. Baker PhDCo-Founder and CEO of Iris Global
“Johannes Hartl calls to the deep in us that longs to know the fire within – inspiring us to pursue prayer more passionately, and therefore know God more intimately and to see his power more fully. His book gives us vision to encounter Jesus more consistently and to live in wonder of a life dedicated to prayer.”Mike BickleDirector, International House of Prayer of Kansas City
“An exhilarating and poetic immersion into the eternal call of God to the heart of every person. Intimacy with God is where we truly discover who we are and from which all fruitfulness comes. Johannes Hartl knows who he is and I have witnessed, first hand, the fruit that has flowed from his and his community’s answer to the call of prayer.”Father James MallonPriest and Author
“Absolutely brilliant book! I love the radical and authentic journey Johannes has been on and it is still unfolding! The stories in this book will inspire many to wholly pursue the Lord on an entirely new level as well as seek greater depths in prayer. He and the Augsburg House of Prayer are bright and shining lamps in Europe that are also visible here in America. His work is a much-needed prototype establishing ecumenical centers of prayer and worship, ushering in renewal and revival, breaking dividing walls, and equipping and training the next generation to lead Book of Acts lifestyles.”Keith MajorCo-Founder and President of MajorChange and ‘Stone to Flesh’ School of the Heart in Los Angeles
“Johannes Hartl welcomes us into the radical ride of a life dedicated to prayer. His honesty and creativity has illuminated my vision to what prayer can be and his thirst for beauty and brilliance draws up a new yearning in the heart of the reader. Heart Fire has convinced me not only of the power and splendour of living in God’s gaze, but the very necessity of it. Our lives make very little sense without it. This book will challenge you to live more courageously, risk your reputation for something that’s greater and bigger, and equip you with tools to keep the fire burning. I regularly found myself shouting ‘wow’ out loud.”Pippa BakerOne Hope Project
“Dr Johannes Hartl, theologian and mystic, is a man ablaze with the love of God – reading this book rekindled the fire in my heart with desire for Jesus.”Simon PonsonbyInternational Author, Speaker, and Theologian at St. Aldate's Oxford, UK
“This book has truly stirred my heart to pray, and I know it will yours too. Johannes paints the most beautiful picture of prayer, describing different facets through charming personal stories and remarkable testimonies. He takes you on a journey into the richness of prayer, opening up hidden gems of contemplation, silence and learning to ‘see’ as well as bringing alive the theology of night and day worship and the importance of unity. He draws on the incredible examples of ancient mystics as well as what God is stirring in the earth today, all interweaved with his personal journey with Jesus that challenges and inspires. This book will both soften your heart for the beauty of Jesus and spur you to seek him more.”JJ WatersDirector of Burn 24-7 UK
“I so enjoyed reading this rich book – it stirred my soul. This is no ordinary book about prayer. Heart Fire takes you on a journey visiting different cultures and places, and exploring Christian traditions where God is to be found. The stories are colourful, the insight profound and Johannes’ transparency invites us to keep searching for the more of God to be found in our broken world. A book to own, learn from and give away.”Jane HollowayNational Prayer Director, World Prayer Centre
“‘What's it all about? It's about prayer, as always. What is prayer?’ So begins Johannes in the introduction to his story – a love story that on one level is a refreshingly 'easy read' yet at the same time is deeply profound. Wherever you are on your journey in prayer, this book will refresh, encourage, excite and yes, will challenge you to 'go deeper'. He goes on to say: ‘I am convinced that the return to prayer, the rediscovery of prayer, is the most urgent and important concern in our twenty-first century world.’ There are many signs that the western Church is rediscovering a hunger for prayer, and God will use this book to accelerate that process – and impact the destinies our nations!”Alistair BartonDirector, Pray for Scotland
“Johannes has had many adventures in faith on his journey of establishing a vibrant house of prayer in the heart of Europe. He is living a life of prayer and is a man of vision and passion. He has also been a blessing to many as he has travelled and preached, including here in the UK. You will enjoy the teaching and stories in this book and find your faith in God stretched and encouraged.”Rev Dr William PorterBeacon House of Prayer, Stoke-on-Trent, England
A note from Muddy Pearl
January 2020. Ladies desert camp, somewhere in the Middle East. As we queue in the shade of the tea tent, the wind brushes soft sand down the dunes and the sun paints the sea a brilliant turquoise. Strains of South African and Indian accents mingle over the shush of the waves. A friend offers me a slug of some realmilk she has begged from the kitchen caravan. Just then, a woman from Nigeria takes my elbow, ‘I have to talk to you’. I brace slightly: will this be enthusiastic author or critical reader? ‘It’s about that book I bought from you last year’ Ah, what might have offended? What context should I explain? It is never easy to communicate spiritual writing across cultures. But her sincere expression breaks into a broad smile, her intelligent eyes shining behind rather trendy glasses, ‘It is really amazing. I have loved it. The writing is so creative, so different, so inspiring. And to think that this, all this prayer, is going on in Germany, right now. It is just about the best book I have ever read.’I breath relief and we begin to share our favourite passages, as my bemused friend stands by, plastic cup of milk patiently poised to pour into my tea.
A few months earlier, I spotted an old friend at a conference, who literally bounded over saying ‘That book! I have savoured, absolutely devoured it, page by page, word by word. It is wonderful. Thank you, thank you.’As an academic, someone who reads for work, I value this opinion even more.
All good comments, nice to hear, you might think. But most publishers will tell you, the number of times we receive unsolicited feedback for any book, no matter how good – well they are like gold dust. And we love them because it’s these that help to confirm, no, it’s not just me, not just wishful thinking or my imagination, as I send this book hopefully out into the world, it really is thatgood.
If you haven’t yet discovered the creative and inspiring work of this stunning new – well, new in English – writer, then may I commend him to you. I have been living, breathing and working with the words and ideas of Johannes Hartl for the three years or so, since I stumbled upon it at the Frankfurt bookfair, when the German rights manager, surprised to be asked about English language rights (‘But everyone knows, the British never translate…) said, O, well, if you like prayer then you should really look at Johannes Hartl’) and then heard him speak at the 24-7 Prayer gathering in Geneva (I can still remember the talk he gave, ‘A beautiful waste’.) And it has been a huge privilege. It has been a spiritual retreat, an inspiration, and I would count his works among my favourites of all I have worked on.
And Heart Fire is a gem of a book. It’s a spiritual travelog, a memoir, an adventure in prayer and around the world. Each story, like the beads on a rosary, tells of an encounter around the world and a discovery of prayer. And it communicates beautifully across cultures and time zones. Two of my favourites, ones I come back to again and again are : ‘Bomber in Paradise, the story of the bus queue in a village in Crete, the last will be first, and ‘Kabbalat Shabbat’, of the wailing wall and being accidentally included in a group of men at prayer.