[ 2 minutes to read ]
A Call to Spiritual Reformation: Priorities from Paul and His Prayers by D.A. Carson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
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.