Praying with Paul: A Call to Spiritual Reformation
by D.A. Carson
Prayer is something that most Christians struggle with at some point in their lives. It comes so naturally to us, because it is as simple as talking to our Father in heaven. However, ask anyone who have been following Christ for a while, and most will admit that even such a simple activity is found difficult to do at times.
Carson aims to help us in those areas – areas whereby he freely admits that he himself struggles with. His aim, as stated in his preface, is to “work through several of Paul’s prayers in such a way that we hear God speak to us, and to find strength and direction to improve our praying, both for God’s glory and for our good.”
He works through several of Paul’s prayers in his letters and brings out biblical principles for us to apply. These principles include why we pray, how we pray, what we pray for and also who we pray to/for. This is extremely helpful as he carefully asks us to reflect on our own prayer lives, and reform them in light of the prayers of the great apostle Paul.
Without these reflections, we can easily be tempted in making our prayers all about our own needs and requests. Carson helps to focus our minds and our motivations when we pray, to reflect the priorities that we see in Paul’s prayers. He also explores some deeper aspects of the theology of prayer that Christians may have questions about. These questions include “why pray when God is sovereign?” or “does prayer actually make any difference?” He also delves into the more practical aspects of praying, such as dealing with our excuses for not praying and also providing us with practical examples of how we can improve our own prayer lives.
Because of his relentless reliance on biblical passages, he manages to avoid the trap of being endlessly subjective or purely emotional when it comes to prayer. What we as readers will get from this book comes straight out of the Scriptures to encourage, exhort, and motivate us to pray more frequently and also biblically.
This book is saturated with biblical principles. Reading this book has made me more aware of the prayers of Paul when I read Paul’s letters and as a result, caused me to reflect on my own prayer practices. It is my prayer that it will do the same for anyone who reads this book, both for God’s glory and for our good. In Carson’s words, this book is a “call to spiritual reformation” for all of us, particularly in the area of prayer. This book is available from our bookstall over the next few weeks.