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Carson calls believers to revolt against superficiality and find again the deeper knowledge of God at Paul's school of prayer. Strong expositional study....

Title : A Call to Spiritual Reformation: Priorities from Paul and His Prayers
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ISBN : 9780851109763
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 230 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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A Call to Spiritual Reformation: Priorities from Paul and His Prayers Reviews

  • Becky Pliego
    2018-10-25 09:17

    Great book on prayer. A few of the many wonderful quotes that will always challenge me: "We do not drift into spiritual life; we do not drift into disciplined prayer. We will not grow in prayer unless we plan to pray." (p.1)"Our generation certainly needs to learn something more about persistence in prayer..." (p.18)"If you are serious about reforming your prayer life, you must begin with your heart. Unconfessed sin, nurtured sin, will always be a barrier between God and those he has made in his image." (p.57)"If you are too busy to pray, you are too busy. Cut something out." (p.94)"Wherever we stand in the spectrum of Christian maturation, we could do better than we do, and many of us could do much better. One of the most important steps we can take is to recognize where we are." (p.104)"[Christianity] invokes mystery now and then; it does not invoke nonsense." (p.135)

  • Michael Locklear
    2018-10-21 15:00

    When you read the title of this book, you may ask yourself, “Is this just another book on prayer?... And this one limited to the prayers of the Apostle Paul. Why should I take the time to read this book?” Just another book on prayer? No… and yes. First of all, it is not just another book on prayer. The author confesses on “how little… biblical material on prayer” this short book covers. As the book title reveals, the prayers of Paul are the focus, leaving out the majority of prayers preserved in God’s Word, such as those in the Psalms, those of our Lord Jesus and many others. This is not a “how to” manual on prayer. “Prayer is not like a good recipe,” states Dr. Carson, “simply follow a set of mechanical directions and everything turns out right in the end.” Yet, this is a book on prayer… a wonderful and insightful book on prayer. The author opens with a very thought-provoking question: What is the most urgent need of the church today? After looking at the various probabilities, he comes to the conclusion that the greatest need for churches today is “a deeper knowledge of God… [and] one of the fundamental steps in knowing God… is prayer.” Throughout the book the author stresses our relationship with God and that we nurture that relationship “as we pray.” An overview of the book is presented in the opening pages: This book is not a comprehensive theology of prayer… Here the aim is far simpler: to work through several of Paul’s prayers in such a way that we hear God speak to us today, and to find strength and direction to improve our praying, both for God’s glory and for our good. The author gives sound and heart-searching commentary on the prayers of the Apostle Paul and encourages us to compare the topics and themes of our prayers to his. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and highly recommend it (as I have with many of Dr. Carson’s books) and look forward to sharing many of the author’s thoughts and insights with my congregation during the coming years.

  • Paul,
    2018-11-05 16:19

    I have a lot of respect for D. A. Carson. He is a solid New Testament scholar who teaches at Trinity Evangelical, but he writes with a pastoral heart. It is a rare combination, believe me. His works in NT Greek, including Exegetical Fallacies and The Gospel According to John are excellent. His pastoral writing, including How Long, O Lord?: Reflections on Suffering and Evil is also really good. In Praying with Paul, Carson has written another good book. He analyzes several of the prayers of Paul and draws some nice lessons on prayer for believers today. As with most books based on a sermon series, this one is not as cohesive as it could have been. The quality does tail off a bit in the final chapters. But it is a good book, well worth reading. It is at its best where Carson is directly exegeting the Scripture. He does a great job explaining Paul's framework for prayer which is concerned with the present but keeps eternity in view. Paul consistently thanks God for things which He has done and then asks Him to do more of the same. Paul prays for people, even people he hasn't met. Paul prays regularly. These points and more are brought up in this excellent little book. I would be remiss if I didn't say that the chapters on the sovereignty of God are long-winded and deviate from Carson's normal style. Divine sovereignty may be something of a hobby-horse that Dr. Carson likes to ride, and who cares if this is a book on prayer? Anyway, lots to learn here. One of the best pieces of advice was to read all the prayers of Paul every day for a month! I'm 7 days in and loving it!Here are some of my favorite quotes:Even though he was praying in line with God’s promises, Elijah prayed for rain seven times before the first cloud appeared in the heavens. The Lord Jesus could tell parables urging persistence in prayer (Luke 11:5–13). If some generations need to learn that God is not particularly impressed by long-winded prayers, and is not more disposed to help us just because we are garrulous, our generation needs to learn that God is not impressed by the kind of brevity that is nothing other than culpable negligence. (p.33)If we follow Paul’s example, then, we will never overlook the monumental importance of praying for others. Prayer will never descend to the level where it is nothing more than a retreat house in which we find strength for ourselves, whether through the celebration of praise or through a mystic communion with God or through the relief of casting our cares upon the Almighty. Prayer may embrace all of these elements, and more; but if we learn to pray with Paul, we will learn to pray for others. (p. 75)He encourages Christians by thanking God for his grace in their lives. More precisely, he encourages Christians by telling them that he thanks God for his grace in their lives. Thus he has simultaneously drawn attention to the Thessalonians’ spiritual growth, thereby encouraging them, and insisted that God is the one to be thanked for it, thereby humbling them (p. 87)Doubtless Paul intercedes when there are barriers to be hurdled; the point here is that he also intercedes when there are signs of life and power and grace, for his concern is that such signs should be protected and increased. (p. 102)The psalmist does not here encourage us to find God’s will, for he assumes it is already known. Rather, he is concerned with performance of that will. When he says “Teach me,” he does not say, “Teach me your will,” but “Teach me to do your will.” (p. 103)Christians grow in the knowledge of God. Paul is never satisfied with the mere status quo: Christians are organisms that grow, not machines that simply perform a designated function for which they were designed (p. 109)It matters little whether you are the mother of active children who drain away your energy, an important executive in a major multinational corporation, a graduate student cramming for impending comprehensives, a plumber working overtime to put your children through college, or a pastor of a large church putting in ninety-hour weeks: at the end of the day, if you are too busy to pray, you are too busy. Cut something out. (p. 116)It is painfully easy for us to come to all kinds of critical points in ministry, service, family development, changes in vocation, and, precisely because we have enjoyed spiritual victories in the past, approach these matters with sophisticated criteria but without prayer. We love our independence. As a result we may repeatedly stumble and fall, because although we have exercised all our intellectual ingenuity we have not sought God’s face, we have not begged him for his wisdom (p. 121)

  • Eric Durso
    2018-10-28 14:05


  • Brian Daniel
    2018-11-09 10:07

    A Call to Spiritual Reformation -- now titled Praying with Paul -- is not a book that you read and put on the shelf, but a book to which you continuously return. Author DA Carson takes several prayers of Paul from Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Thessalonians, and Romans into a greater examination that isn't limited to theological nuances but expands the conversation into practical application. Although Carson is one of the foremost New Testament scholars today, this book doesn't read like it. In fact, at points Carson is amazingly transparent about his own prayer life which engenders a great deal of credibility with his readers. Peppered between chapters on the biblical prayers themselves are chapters on praying to a sovereign God, the nature of prayer, praying for others, and excuses for not praying. This book is challenging in the best ways and will contribute significantly to one's understanding and application of prayer while still managing to avoid rote, programmed, or systemic praying. I've not given it 5 stars because a reader is going to be best served coming into this with at least a passing familiarity with the Bible.

  • Amanda Smith
    2018-10-20 14:11

    Pretty good, but not my favorite Carson book. I felt like he spent more time than necessary on bunny trails which made it difficult to maintain my focus in some parts of the book. That said, there are some VERY good parts of the book and some really great opportunities for practical application - I felt very challenged to improve my prayer life, and would recommend it for sure, but with the caveat that you may occasionally be a little...bored...when he starts going on and on about a particular point.

  • Barry
    2018-11-02 17:07

    This book started its life as a series of sermons on the topic of prayer. Mr. Carson reworked the sermons into a series of chapters that examines the prayers of Paul and what lessons can be learned from Paul's prayers. There are many lessons to be learned from Pauline prayers, and Mr. Carson does a fine job of extracting them. However, the transition from spoken word to written causes some dryness to creep into the writing. There are many things to learn in this book, but I found myself dragging through the reading of it on account of the writing style.

  • Shay
    2018-11-10 17:10

    This book is life-changing, and that's not exaggeration. If truly applied, this study through Paul's prayers wouldn't just change your own prayer life, but I truly believe Christians would change the world by the power of the Spirit of God at work in them. D.A. Carson has written one of the finest books on prayer and I probably just need to start reading it again to be reminded of how much of my prayer life is being affected by the wrong things and not the Word of God. This book deserves more than 5 stars.

  • Megan
    2018-11-07 09:55

    This was a great book, but was so hard for me to comprehend. I am a college graduate and have always been a good reader, but I just didn't follow the line of thought very well, and I was just confused most of the time while I read it.That said, what I did understand was amazing. Very Biblical, but also applicable. It did not all read like a how-to manual, but it really helped me to understand the basics of God-centered prayer.I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to pray more Biblically and is willing to work hard at comprehension.

  • vittore paleni
    2018-10-26 15:03

    "the unvarnished truth is that what we most frequently give thanks for betrays what we most highly value. If a large percentage of our thanks-giving is for material prosperity, it is because we value material prosperity proportionately...[etc]""forgiveness is possible only because there has been a real offense, and a real sacrifice to offset that offense""As popularly stated that we must learn to love ourselves before we can love others, is quiet absurd. For in finding out and seeking out and thinking through God's love for us can we, in gratitude love god and our fellow man."

  • Dan
    2018-10-28 13:03

    A lifetime of help on prayer is contained in this book. Carson uses the recorded prayers of Paul to help us learn how we can pray more faithfully and biblically. If you only read one book on prayer in your life, this is the one.

  • John Brackbill
    2018-10-25 10:01

    A wonderful applicational exposition of Paul's prayers along with very practical advice for your prayer life. There is also a very fine section exposing or empty excuses. This is a choice book on prayer for the seasoned believer and the new born babe alike.

  • Cbarrett
    2018-10-22 11:54

    One of most insightful books on prayer; very encouraging and a great motivation to pray more earnestly according to Scripture.

  • Matt Wynne
    2018-10-19 13:54

    I really loved this book!!! I will say, for the sake of clarity, this is not an exhaustive book on prayer. It's not a how to guide. It's not even a book that covers prayer throughout the Bible, all of which the author readily admits. It is rather, a book that probes into the heart of the letters of Paul, bringing to the surface a spirit that strives, through prayer, after spiritual awakening and growth within the Church. It's a book that encourages a prayer life that seeks the furtherance of the Kingdom. If you're looking for a book that will enliven your prayer life this is this is the one. It's definitely a book that I will read again!

  • Matt Smart
    2018-10-28 10:18

    This is a fantastic discipleship opportunity in book form. Carsons studies not only helped me reprioritize my prayer life, but also reorient my whole life. If your looking for a book to read alongside a more mature believer, this is perfect choice! It even has study questions at the end of each chapter. Fantastic book!

  • Smitha
    2018-11-09 15:17

    In Depth study of Apostle Paul's Prayer, Life and Writings. Read this book in a group study. It contains Powerful messages on prayer. I also met D A Carson in person at UCCD Church of Dubai for a conference. His presentation is as clear like his book. The book starts off with helpful lessons on prayer (planning to pray, adopting strategies to stop drifting and daydreaming etc.). In a later chapter he looks at excuses we make when we’re not praying, which provides a great challenge for us to pray whether we feel like it or not. He shows that often there is a reason behind our lack of prayer. Carson writes so that anyone can pick up the book and reform their prayer life. He uses clear headings and explains things well and convincingly through Scripture, helping us understand the priority of prayer in Scripture and in our lives.

  • Mark Taylor
    2018-10-20 17:08

    Great study book for praying and especially good material on how Paul prayed through his letters. Dr. Carson is always solid.

  • Terry
    2018-11-05 10:03

    This was a great book and puts forth an easy to implement idea to enliven one's prayer life. If your prayers seem stale, I highly recommend this book.

  • Allen
    2018-10-22 16:22

    Highly recommended. This book will transform the content of your prayers. This is an insightful and theologically sound look at the major prayers if Paul.

  • Chris Wilder
    2018-11-03 08:56

    Carson draws out really great principles from the Apostle Paul prayers that I started to incorporating into my prayers

  • Zack
    2018-11-10 14:13 is that spiritual discipline in which most of us long to grow, but in which few of us feel adequate. It is the great (often-neglected) privilege of the Christian to communicate with the living God of the Universe. Why is it, then, that so many of us struggle in our prayer life? How can we grow in the depth, effectiveness, and spiritual vitality of our prayers?One book that is a GREAT help in this arena is by D.A. Carson, titled Praying with Paul: A Call to Spiritual Reformation. With the first edition of this book published over 20 years ago, Baker has recently released a new and updated second edition, reintroducing this wonderful book to a new generation of Christians.“Where is our delight in praying? Where is our sense that we are meeting with the living God, that we are undertaking work that he has assigned, that we are interceding with genuine unction before the throne of grace? When was the last time we came away from a period of intercession feeling that, like Jacob or Moses, we had prevailed with God? How much of our praying is largely formulaic?” (xiv).The book is a mixture of a little bit of practical advice combined with a much larger portion of meditations on some of Paul’s prayers. Carson says: “The chief purpose of this book, then, is to think through some of Paul’s prayers, so that we may align our prayer habits with his. We want to learn what to pray for, what arguments to use, what priorities we should adopt, what beliefs should shape our prayers, and much more” (xv).In the book, Carson has 4 chapters focused on practical advice and general principles/wisdom for prayer. These include the following:Chapter 1 – Lessons from the School of PrayerChapter 4 – Praying for OthersChapter 7 – Excuses for Not PrayingChapter 9 – A Sovereign and Personal GodBut the bulk of the book contains chapters consisting of meditations and principles drawn from Paul’s prayers recorded in Scripture. These include the following:Chapter 2 – The Framework of Prayer (2 Thessalonians 1:3-12)Chapter 3 – Worthy Petitions (2 Thessalonians 1:1-12)Chapter 5 – A Passion for People (1 Thessalonians 3:9-13)Chapter 6 – The Content of a Challenging Prayer (Colossians 1:9-14)Chapter 8 – Overcoming the Hurdles (Philippians 1:9-11)Chapter 10 – Praying to the Sovereign God (Ephesians 1:15-23)Chapter 11 – Praying for Power (Ephesians 3:14-21)Chapter 12 – Praying for Ministry (Romans 15:14-33)“Granted that most of us know some individuals who are remarkable prayer warriors, is it not nevertheless true that by and large we are better at organizing than agonizing? Better at administering than interceding? Better at fellowship than fasting? Better at entertainment than worship? Better at theological articulation than spiritual adoration? Better — God help us! — at preaching than praying?” (xiv).As a book focused on meditating on the prayers of Paul, this book stands on very solid, authoritative ground — The Word of God. Where there is practical, personal reflections and advice, that is just that — advice. And there is definitely plenty of very good advice. But the strength of this book is that Carson stands on the authority of the Word of God, the authority of Paul’s prayers as recorded in Scripture. And as he meditates on these prayers, and draws principles and practices that should be present in each believer’s prayers, it is much more than the advice from a man, but is the example given from God.As such, I would highly recommend this book to you. There are many very good books written on prayer, including 2 recent books that I have thoroughly enjoyed: Tim Keller – Prayer and Don Whitney – Praying the Bible. Each of those have their place and are very good in what they are trying to accomplish. Right there along with those, I would add this book by Carson to my top recommended books on the topic of prayer. Especially if you are looking for an in-depth look at the example that Scripture itself gives for prayer, you need look no further.Buy yourself a copy of this book today, meditate along with Carson on these passages, and you are sure to see an increase in the depth of your communication with the living God — in the depth of your prayers.If you are interested, there is also a study guide to accompany the book in a small group format. You can check that out by clicking here.In accordance with FTC regulations, I would like to thank Baker Publishers for providing me with a review copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

  • David Sarkies
    2018-10-20 12:09

    A dry and academic book on prayer25 August 2013 I first heard of this book when it was being promoted (read flogged) at youth group. The thing that sort of put me off the book was that at the time the title did not seem to be all the connected with the contents of the book. In fact, the title probably more suits a book like Francis Schaeffer's trilogy, which in sort challenges our modern mind set and tries to encourage us to return to a more spiritual and interventionist reality rather than our mechanical and disconnected modern society. However, when I think about it I can see where Carson is getting at in that prayer is the essential element to a true spiritual reformation. The problem with Carson though is that he tends to write in a way that is not really all that accessible. Don Carson is a very well known (and popular) evangelical theologian, however I have noted that he tends to use complex words and discusses complex theological topics as if we are already versed in these concepts. As such, it is not the type of book for new Christians, nor is it a book to those who are not academically inclined. Christianity (as with any subject) is full of jargon, and using the jargon to attempt to explain such complex theological concepts to those who are not familiar with the jargon will inevitably result in failure. The other issue is not so much with the book itself but rather how my former church responded to the book. Basically they thought that the content of the book was so good that it pretty much formed the basis of all of their talks on the subject of prayer. I remember once at youth group the leader decided to lead a number of talks on prayer, and in doing so, pretty much recited verbatim from the book so that when I went to read the book myself I suddenly realised that I had heard it all before. Now, Carson uses Paul's prayers as a model on how we should pray, and granted, while he is using that for the purpose of this book we must remember a few things (particularly since my former church did not take this into account at this time): 1) These prayers are written prayers, and while we can use them as an idea as to how Paul would pray, we cannot expect that this was the only way that he prayed, or that this was how he prayed when he vocalised his prayers. Also, being written prayers, they are enmeshed into the works of his letters, and while I don't actually see pastors use this technique in their sermons (they tend to open and close in prayer, but rarely, if ever, do they enmesh a prayer into the sermon), it still requires some work to pull them out, and we also can't pray them verbatim. 2) Paul's prayers aren't the only prayers in the Bible. While Paul's prayers are good and can work as a model, for quite a while my church seemed to forget that there is a much, much, better model prayer in the Bible, and that is the Lord's Prayer. First of all, when he was asked how one should pray, Jesus responded with the Lord's Prayer. Secondly, it is a vocal prayer, and many, many, churches will recite this prayer during their services. Finally, it is actually a very good model prayer, and for those of us who do not know how to pray, or struggle with prayer, the Lord's Prayer is a brilliant model to turn to. As such, while this book may be a good book, and also have some use, there are actually much better books out there. As such I would only recommend it to those long term Christians who are comfortable with academic works.

  • Mark Vivian
    2018-11-13 17:15

    I return to review & read this book often. Paul's prayer life is very instructional and helps me to think about what to & how to pray for others; especially my brothers & sisters in Christ.

  • Sonny
    2018-10-17 15:14

    D. A. Carson’s choice of a title for his book, A Call to Spiritual Reformation, can be somewhat misleading. It is actually a book on prayer. The book begins with this question: “What is the most urgent need in the church of the Western world today?” He concludes that the greatest need for churches today is “a deeper knowledge of God.” In writing about prayer, Carson addresses one small part of that challenge. Nevertheless, it is a vital, foundational step in knowing God, and a deserving subject given the prayerlessness that characterizes so much of the Western church. Prayer is a key to knowing God. As J.I. Packer wrote, “prayer is the measure of the man, spiritually, in a way that nothing else is.” Carson’s book is not a comprehensive study of the doctrine of prayer. He does not consider the prayers in the Psalms, or even the prayers of Christ. It is a study of Paul’s prayers. His aim is to “think through some of Paul’s prayers, so that we may align our prayer habits with his” and “to find strength and direction to improve our praying.” A worthy goal indeed! Carson examines eight of the intercessory prayers of Paul, teaching us how to pray with confidence by showing us how the apostle prayed. The real value of Carson’s book is not to just help us pray ‘more biblically’ but to show us the Lord’s heart and ambitions for His people.Aligning my own intercessory prayers with those of Paul is not new to me. It is something I have done for years, but Carson’s book opened my eyes to see new ways I might intercede for others. He demonstrates the remarkable amount of space that Paul devotes to praying for others. If nothing else, the book helps the reader get away from the clichéd prayers we so often pray. But this book is not a “how to” manual on prayer. Carson does not give us some pattern for praying that will guarantee success. It is a book that will help the church learn what to pray for and what priorities should shape our prayers.The only negative that I would offer is that the earliest chapters failed to keep my interest. Despite that, the book was worth reading just for the chapters on the relationship between God's sovereignty and our responsibility. They help us see that God is not an automaton or genie that pops out of a bottle at our command. God is not only sovereign, he is personal.

  • Jeff Short
    2018-11-02 09:10

    Very Good. Carson is a scholar who writes books with things like "Variegated Nomism" in the title, but don't let that intimidate you. This book is readable and quite practical. I believe he aims at the "normal" Christian and he hits the mark. Everyone will be able to identify and be helped.This is a book on prayer. More specifically, it is a book where the author looks at various prayers of Paul from the Scripture. The goal is examine the prayers to find out what Paul prayed for and why. Answering those questions is instructive and helpful for our own prayers.Everyone, if they're being honest, will admit that prayer is an area of their life where they need great improvement. There is no end to the number of books on prayer that have been published and many of them are no help to us. Books on prayer usually divide into one of two categories. Some books belong to the pietistic tradition. They present a view of prayer where the penitent sit or kneel with hands folded 25 hours a day. They are so immersed in prayer, they have no need of food or water or any necessities. In fact, the pious pray with seemingly no obligations or duties of life at all. So a mother with young children gets to the end of every day exhausted. She falls into bed and grabs a book on prayer to read a few pages before she falls asleep. However, the pious books only bring guilt on her and she cannot relate to the picture painted. She is not helped.Other books on prayer tend toward the higher life/deeper life view of Christianity that vary in degrees of charismatic influence. So here, prayer is not something you do, it's more something that happens to you. The victorious, best life is presented. This leaves people chasing after some loosely defined experience and they come up empty. These books do not help and they do hurt.We need a book on prayer that sticks close to the biblical text and makes practical application from that text. We need a book that will be convicting and challenging as well as informing and provoking in a good way. We need a book that will encourage us and ultimately help us in prayer. D. A. Carson has given us such a book. I highly recommend it. As always, there are things here and there to disagree with. Be discerning and stick with the main things and you will be helped.

  • Shelly
    2018-11-01 09:10

    If Phillip Yancey's book on Prayer was my first introduction to the subject in any real and serious format (Prayer 101), then A Call to Spiritual Reformation by D.A. Carson has taken me much deeper into Prayer 201.Examining the prayers of Paul, particularly my favorite in Ephesians 3, Carson takes us down a road of intimately looking at not only the prayers prayed by Paul, but his reasoning behind such prayers. With wit and charm combined with serious exegesis, he urges his readers to examine their own prayer lives up against scripture. What are we praying? Why are we praying? What should we be praying?I was concerned that I would find myself slogging through this book. That was the farthest thing from the truth. Instead, I found myself compelled to keep my Bible open and nearby so that I could check out what he was saying for myself, thus really engaging my mind in his written words.I definitely appreciated his chapters on God's sovereignty. In fact, I had to read both of them twice in order to even begin to grasp this truth--and I still can't wrap my mind around it. It's one of those things that I wish there were so much more information about in scripture, and yet I am coming to believe that there is a distinct reason why there is not--because we are not ready for such knowledge. And may never be.Now that I've tackled Carson's book on Paul's prayers, I look forward to reading his other works and gleaning what I can from what, like I mentioned before, is his serious yet witty engagement of the subject at hand.

  • Mike E.
    2018-10-23 09:15

    I have read this book, twice. The second time through was with the elders/pastors of my church. I am sure I will turn to it again.Carson will help you reshape your prayer life so that it is more in line with the prayers penned by the Apostle Paul & contained in the Word of God. On p. 37 he quotes Packer:I start with the truism that each Christian's prayer life, like every good marriage, has in it common factors about which one can generalize and also uniqueness which no other Christians prayer life will quite match. You are you, and I am I, and we must each find our own way with God, and there is no recipe for prayer that can work for us like a handyman's do-it-yourself manual or a cookery book, where the claim is that if you follow the instructions you can't go wrong. Praying is not like carpentry or cookery; it is the active exercise of a personal relationship, a kind of friendship, with the living God and his son Jesus Christ, and the way it goes is more under divine control than under ours. Books on praying, like marriage manuals, are not to be treated with slavish superstition, as if perfection of technique is the answer to all the difficulties; their purpose, rather, is to suggest things to try. But as in other close relationships, so in prayer: you have to find out by trial and error what is right for you, and you learn to pray by praying.

  • Alexis Neal
    2018-10-21 09:22

    Carson wins again. This is an excellent treatment of Paul's prayers. I sometimes felt like Carson argued a little too strongly and made some unsupported logical leaps (Paul's canonical prayers do not constitute the sum total of the prayers he uttered, so it's a little dangerous to assume that he didn't pray for certain things or in certain ways just because he didn't mention those prayers in the New Testament epistles.) Still, he's right in that overall our prayers are far too selfish and too focused on temporal and materialistic concerns. He also faces head on the tension between divine sovereignty and human responsibility, especially as involves prayer. His conclusion is unremarkable (though dead on, in my opinion), but his application of that conclusion is extremely helpful and more than a little challenging. Carson is a clear thinker and a solid writer, which is sadly rare today. Many modern theologians can preach up a storm, but their writing is sadly lackluster. Carson appears to be a notable exception to that rule. I look forward to reading more of him.

  • Dklondike3
    2018-11-01 12:52

    This book is a rare find when it comes to spiritual formation and Biblical studies. Often those who excell in spiritual formation fudge the text of Scripture to do so. On the other hand, those who are gifted exegetes often fail to extend their work to a helpful spiritual formation. Carson does both well. First, he speaks from what he knows, that is exegesis and personal experience. Second, he has a very focused goal, which is to help mature a Christian's prayer life through exploring Paul's prayers in his letters, so he does not get lost on tangents. I was able to use the texts he explored for a sermon series that I preached, and his insights cut my own research in half without having to rely too strongly on his material. This volume gave excellent help in maturing in one's prayer life.

  • Jacques Willems
    2018-10-27 13:06

    This book provides a wealth of practical guidance and encouragement in understanding and overcoming some of the stumbling blocks to prayer. Much of this comes through gaining a right view of the purpose of prayer before an utterly sovereign God who hears and answers prayer. Not surprisingly, much of this has to do with relationship. Also not surprising is the advice to center our praying on Scripture. In this he looks mainly at Paul's prayers while recognizing the book is not a complete treatise on the subject. A study of Paul's prayers reveals that much of his praying is for what is important to God to be done. Thinking of prayer in this way forces us to think about what is important to God and to conform our very wills to it. - Brian Hughes (Elder IBC Brussels)