A Call to Spiritual Reformation: Priorities from Paul and His Prayers
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A Call to Spiritual Reformation: Priorities from Paul and His Prayers

4.35 of 5 stars 4.35  ·  rating details  ·  634 ratings  ·  59 reviews
Carson calls believers to revolt against superficiality and find again the deeper knowledge of God at Paul's school of prayer. Strong expositional study.
Kindle Edition
Published (first published June 1st 1992)
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Michael Locklear
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...more
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 th...more
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 pray...more
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.
One of most insightful books on prayer; very encouraging and a great motivation to pray more earnestly according to Scripture.
Jeff Short
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. Answeri...more
David Sarkies
Apr 22, 2014 David Sarkies rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Long Term Academically Inclined Christians
Recommended to David by: My former church
Shelves: christian
A dry and academic book on prayer
25 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...more
Alexis Neal
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 fo...more
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...more
Mike E.
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 pray...more
Apr 09, 2012 Andrew rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Andrew by: Tom Castor
As the title might suggest, this book is a study on the prayers of Paul. Carson makes it clear that though Paul's prayers are not the only models given to us they are worthy of in-depth study. And believe me when I say 'in-depth' study. Some parts of this book were a little too heady and I admit I skimmed a chapter or two. But there were other sections of the book that really hit home. The examination of some of Paul's specific prayers in Ephesians, dissection of common reasons we don't pray, an...more
Jon Anderson
Solid biblical/theological treatment on priority of prayer focusing on prayers found in Paul's writings. Good but not great.
Todd Miles
This is a remarkable book - must reading for any Christian. If it does not challenge you to pray more biblically, then you need to read it again - this time with your eyes open.
Carson looks at the prayers of the Apostle Paul recorded in his letters, exposing the depth and content of his prayers. I found the book to be simultaneously convicting and challenging. Read this book with a notebook in hand, taking notes to incorporate into your own prayerlife. At a minimum every pastor, elder, and min...more
Sep 04, 2008 Kyle rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who pray
I'm a huge Carson fan and I suggest everyone should be too. This was one of the few "practical" Christian books I've read in a while. Carson goes through Paul's various prayers in his letters and observes the things Paul prays for and why he prays for them. Carson then argues that we too should pray for those things for those reasons. Sprinkled in are more topical chapters (e.g. "Praying for Others," "Excuses for Not Praying"). A great book: extraordinarily challenging to my own prayer habits. W...more
viktor palenyy
"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 th...more
If you noticed this is a 5 star book. This is as high as the rating goes for me. This is by far the best book I have ever read on prayer.

For christians that have trouble with either: sovereignty of God and prayer or with praying this is THE book on prayer.

This book helped me greatly understand the sovereignty of god and prayer. This book is well worth reading multiple times.

This book single-handedly propelled D.A. Carson to being my favorite author of all time. I can not think of enough adjectiv...more
Definitely not a page turner but you get some good meat and different ideas for your prayer life from a brilliant bible scholars take on Paul's prayers.
J.E. Jr.
Nov 29, 2010 J.E. Jr. rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: pastors, church leaders, church members
This book is a very helpful guide on prayer by a hero of our times. It looks at Paul’s letters and gleans what we might learn about how to pray in a more biblical manner-- something we all could benefit from. I love Carson’s style and biblical insight, and I always find his engagement with such practical material to be worth my time. This one took some time-- I soaked it up over about six weeks, putting it down for a bit to consider a chapter or so. It isn’t light reading; still, I highly recomm...more
Dennis Henn
Carson's consideration of Paul's prayers would be excellent fare for new Christians. Steeped in solid theology and the Scriptures, Carson uses Paul's prayers as a model for our own. By most standards we pray in very weak, and quite limited fashion, to a God of our own devices. The reason I gave this two stars is because at this point I have studied Paul's prayer and used them as models. I really didn't get much out of the book and found myself frequently skimming.
One of the best books I've read on prayer.
Mik Ferguson
This book focuses on Paul's prayers an what we can learn from them. I love Carson's faithfulness to the text and his insightful application. I appreciated his opening chapter on the lessons that he has learned on prayer.

I felt it got a bit repetitive at times. In future it may be better (for me anyway) to read one of the chapters then leave it for a while.

I'm glad I read it as it helps me to pray with more focus on God rather than myself!
Mark A Powell
Carson works through the prayers of Paul, paying careful attention to both the tone and content of what he prays. Thankfully, he does not feel the need to rush through these prayers or avoid thorny areas that require further discussion. The result is profoundly exhortational. Simply put, this is one of the most helpful books on prayer I have read—in both its encouragement to pray and its instruction on how to do it. Highly recommended.
If you only read one book on prayer in your life, this is it. From the writings of Paul, Carson demonstrates how the words of Scripture should inform our words in prayer. He also addresses age-old struggles when it comes to prayer, like reconciling prayer with God’s sovereignty. It's simple enough to take a new Christian through, thorough enough to warrant several readings, and important enough not to ignore.
exegetical insight and a strong encouragement to pray from Paul's prayers in the epistles! reviving!
The best book on prayer I've read. The chapter on man's free will in light of God's sovreignty was really, really insightful. Good mix of theology and practicality.

The one drawback is that it's very dense. I tend to have a short attention span, so sometimes it was difficult to keep going. Well worth it, however. Just prepare yourself for some concentration.
Dan Sudfeld
Another good book by Carson. Once again, his exegetical skills served to walk me through the prayers of the Apostle Paul. But perhaps the greatest value of this book for me was the very first chapter, where Carson describes some of his own practices of prayer. In short order, I will go back there to try and put some much-needed structure to my own prayer life.
Demetrius Rogers
Gained some valuable insight into how large our prayers can be. But I came away from the book with the impression that small and "petty" prayers were not acceptable, a notion I find troubling. The range of our prayers, in my opinion, should encompass it all - the good, the bad, and the ugly. The academic and formulaic approach to prayer left me feeling dry.
This book is winsome and deep, compelling and transforming. Why? It is Word centered and I found I yearned for spiritual reformation to begin with me - but not out of compulsion, bit out of joy. So many bits and parts of truths seemed to collide as I read this book. I thank God Mr. Carson and the writing of this book. It is a wonderful encouragement.
A great book on prayer that examines the prayers of Paul recorded in the New Testament and encourages readers to model their prayers on the things that Paul prays for. I found it very helpful. Also, contains chapters on reasons (excuses) why Christians don't prayer and how prayer fits with the sovereignty of God.
What a challenge to my prayer life. Carson looks at the beginning of Paul's letters to churches in the New Testament and challenges us on every page. I have to wonder -- Do I really pray the deep spiritually meaningful prayers and petitions for people like Paul, or do I remain on the surface?
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Don (D. A.) Carson (b. 1946) - Reformed evangelical at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. His theology is similar to that of Wayne Grudem except on charismatic issues, where his view may be described as "open but cautious." Carson's tendency is to strive for balance and amicability in disputes but is uncompromising on the essentials of the faith. He is a complementarian but supports gender-neutr...more
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“If God had perceived that our greatest need was economic, he would have sent an economist. If he had perceived that our greatest need was entertainment, he would have sent us a comedian or an artist. If God had perceived that our greatest need was political stability, he would have sent us a politician. If he had perceived that our greatest need was health, he would have sent us a doctor. But he perceived that our greatest need involved our sin, our alienation from him, our profound rebellion, our death; and he sent us a Savior. ” 52 likes
“... the worst possible heritage to leave with children: high spiritual pretensions and low performance.” 52 likes
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