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A Call to Spiritual Reformation: Priorities from Paul and His Prayers Paperback – June 1, 1992
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From the Back Cover
God doesn't demand hectic church programs and frenetic schedules; he only wants his people to know him more intimately, says D. A. Carson. The apostle Paul found that spiritual closeness in his own fellowship with the Father. A Call to Spiritual Reformation investigates the Epistles to see what lessons Paul taught in his "school of prayer."
Christians today can still achieve the confidence Paul enjoyed by following his life-shaping principles and searching for a deeper devotional experience.
"[This book] provides a . . . pointed argument that the greatest need for churches today is not education, evangelism, or programs, but a deeper knowledge of God. It contributes to filling that need by assisting those who read it to a fuller life of prayer."
Review and Expositor
"The reader is guided, gently yet persuasively, towards a reformation in personal dealings with God. This excellent and timely book can be heartily commended."
The Banner of Truth
D. A. Carson is professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Deerfield, Illinois. He is the author of How Long, O Lord? and editor of Teach Us to Pray and Right with God.
About the Author
D. A. Carson is Research Professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Deerfield, Illinois. He is the author of How Long, O Lord? and editor of Teach Us to Pray and Right with God.
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I think he could simplify what he is saying and make it a lot "user-friendly" than it is. Sometimes we have to get out our Oxford Unabridged Dictionary to find out what he is saying. Such words as "jingoism"...who on earth has ever heard of that? None of us, and I have a theological education myself.
It's a good book. should be revised.
Carson does not set out in A Call to Spiritual Reformation to give readers a complete biblical theology of prayer. Instead, he goes to Paul’s prayers and holds them up as a good model for believers to follow. The reason he goes to Paul is because he sees Paul in prayer consistently addressing what Carson sees as the Church’s greatest need: a deeper knowledge of God.
The book is organized into twelve chapters and runs 225 pages in my edition. Each chapter is either an exposition of one of Paul’s prayers or a topical presentation from Carson on key aspects of prayer. I found this format helpful because the topical chapters tended to show how the principles of exposition in the other chapters could be applied in every day ways.
Following an introduction which compellingly lays out Carson’s thesis that the greatest need of the church is a deeper knowledge of God, the opening chapter of the book contains many practical tips from what Carson calls the “school of prayer.” The book then launches into two chapters which are expositions of prayers from 2 Thessalonians. Chapter four covers the topic of praying for others, using the example of Paul to show that intercession for others is a primary task of Christians in prayer. Chapters five and six contain expositions of prayers from 1 Thessalonians and Colossians. Chapter seven is an outstanding and challenging chapter on excuses for not praying. Chapter eight is a lengthy chapter on one of my favorite prayers of Paul, Philippians 1:9-11. In chapter nine, Carson deals with the issue of prayer and the sovereignty of God, showing how they fit together. In chapter ten, Carson uses an exposition of Ephesians 1 to show that Paul is a model of fervent prayer and deep belief in God’s sovereignty. Chapters eleven and twelve center on ministry as Carson expounds on two Pauline prayers in Ephesians 3 and Romans 15 respectively. The book closes on a pastoral note as Carson prays for his readers in a short Afterword.
I was helped by Carson’s book to see themes in Paul’s prayers that I hadn’t considered as carefully in the past. The topical chapters also effectively addressed some hurdles to prayer in my life and gave me a better perspective. This is neither a light book nor a work of scholarship with extensive footnotes and the like. But for believers who desire to grow in prayer, few books will be as helpful as Carson’s study of Paul’s prayers in A Call to Spiritual Reformation.
At its core, this book is exegetical. This Carson's particular expertise, and it is extremely helpful here. These chapters were originally messages that he preached in Wales in 1990, and they are thoroughly biblical. Each chapter begins with scripture, and then expounded at length. When a passage touches on larger theological issues (the sovereignty of God for example), Carson explains them, especially as they relate to prayer. Throughout, he is extremely practical in application to our praying, and often painfully piercing as he puts our typical ways of thinking under the ray of biblical light.
This is very different than E. M. Bounds on Prayer. Where Bounds offers short pointed bursts of insight, Carson offers extended exposition of Biblical text. Where Bounds often uses Scripture to punctuate his point, Carson develops everything he says directly from the text he is using. Carson is somewhat akin to Pink's A Guide to Fervent Prayer, but where Pink is, well, Pink in his extended expositions, Carson is thoroughly exegetical.
This stands as one of the best books on prayer I have ever read. I commend it for developing a more biblically structured framework for your praying. I've heard also, that for the granddaddy of them all on prayer, see Carson's Teach Us to Pray: Prayer in the Bible and the World
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In Praying with Paul, A Call to Spiritual Reformation (2nd Ed.Read more