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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

4.34  ·  Rating Details ·  1,409 Ratings  ·  97 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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Becky Pliego
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
Michael Locklear
Jan 06, 2014 Michael Locklear rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-office
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
Josh Meares
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
Brian Daniel
Sep 05, 2016 Brian Daniel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 i ...more
Amanda Smith
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 p ...more
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 ...more
Jun 20, 2015 Megan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 Biblicall
vittore paleni
Oct 28, 2011 vittore paleni rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"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
Feb 23, 2011 Dan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jan 09, 2011 Cbarrett rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of most insightful books on prayer; very encouraging and a great motivation to pray more earnestly according to Scripture.
2nd Time: Worth reading slowly while using principles in prayer time. Good for getting "big picture" of prayer rather than simple "to-do" list. Learned more second time through. Title of the new version (Praying with Paul) probably more helpful for someone picking it up "off the shelf" but the idea of spiritual reformation is the real key to understanding the paradigm of this book.
Carlyn Cole
Dec 15, 2016 Carlyn Cole rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent, challenging and balanced.

Prayer 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
David Sarkies
Apr 22, 2014 David Sarkies rated it did not like it  ·  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
Sep 06, 2013 Sonny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jeff Short
Nov 05, 2013 Jeff Short rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 12, 2014 Shelly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
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
Mike E.
Nov 12, 2013 Mike E. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Alexis Neal
May 23, 2011 Alexis Neal rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 28, 2014 Dklondike3 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jacques Willems
Jul 04, 2015 Jacques Willems rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jacques by: Brian Hughes & Pastor Roland Eskinazi - IBC Brussels
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 ...more
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
Apr 09, 2012 Andrew rated it really liked it  ·  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
Sep 04, 2008 Kyle rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Apr 26, 2016 Aaron rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christian-living
This was an eye-opening study for me in regard to my own prayers. By examining the prayers of Paul, Carson exposes to us where our priorities lie in our approach to God. Are we more concerned with our health and circumstances or with our growth in Christlikeness? Similarly, what are we motivated by in our prayers to others? I have read other Carson books and found his seminarian vocabulary at times a hindrance, but this book seemed to be more straightforward and approachable. Definitely a worthw ...more
Sep 28, 2008 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Blake Chenoweth
A great read on Paul and his prayers throughout his letters. It is based around getting a Christian to grow in their prayer life and relationship with Christ. This is not a "how to" pray book although there are some of those elements, but a call for the church today to have a deeper knowledge of God. We form and grow by spending time with God in prayer. Looking at the prayers of Paul helped me to examine my own prayer life, and how much I miss when communing with God.

A wonderful book that takes
J.E. Jr.
Nov 29, 2010 J.E. Jr. rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Jason Suydam
exploring how Paul leads us to pray biblically. The only down side is people may not identify Paul as praying for normal needs of the church but hopefully they can see this. It has actually helped me realize that Paul's concerns were, or should be, the normal prayers of the church. Carson is my favorite as he is theologically adept and inspiringly pastoral so that he sets a high bar for theologians. Still, I think anyone who doesn't get this needs to humbly accept that they are asking the wrong ...more
Jan 11, 2011 Brad rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
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D.A. Carson is research professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois. He has been at Trinity since 1978. Carson came to Trinity from the faculty of Northwest Baptist Theological Seminary in Vancouver, British Columbia, where he also served for two years as academic dean. He has served as assistant pastor and pastor and has done itinerant ministry in Cana ...more
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“... the worst possible heritage to leave with children: high spiritual pretensions and low performance.” 69 likes
“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. ” 67 likes
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