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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 ·  2,078 ratings  ·  138 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
2018: I had forgotten how much this book influenced my prayer life 3 years ago when I first read it.

2015: 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
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
Neil Richardson
Apr 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best books on prayer that I’ve read. Made me think just how many of my prayers are just ‘Christianised paganism’, really. Like, asking God for stuff I want and saying ‘In Jesus’ Name’ like it’s abracadabra.

Paul’s Holy Spirit inspired prayers are straight from the heart of God, so when the apostle prays, he’s reflecting God’s thoughts back to him, and so answers and blessings are certain. I’m dwelling more and more on the prayers of Ephesians that ask God to open our eyes as saints
Dec 24, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: recommend, christian
This is an excellent book if you are interested in understanding how to pray. Carson uses Paul’s prayers in the New Testament as a guide to show what we as believers should be praying for. This book is classic Carson, so if you are not up for deep thinking I would give it a pass. I recommend it to more mature readers who enjoy Carson’s style.
Brian Daniel
Feb 08, 2014 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 ...more
Jun 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is life-changing, and that's not exaggeration. If truly applied, this study through Paul's prayers wouldn't just change your own prayer life, but I truly believe Christians would change the world by the power of the Spirit of God at work in them. D.A. Carson has written one of the finest books on prayer and I probably just need to start reading it again to be reminded of how much of my prayer life is being affected by the wrong things and not the Word of God. This book deserves more ...more
Wes Van Fleet
Sep 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I first read this book in 2010 and just reread it. I am so thankful I did. As Carson observes and exegetes some of Paul’s prayers, it both encourages us to pray biblically, while warning us of habits of empty prayers. My time of prayer was richly benefited because of this book and I will highly recommend it to others.
Nick Abraham
Oct 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Simply one of the best books on prayer. The paradigm shift of looking to prayers in the New Testament for guidance on how to pray is startling (but one would think an obvious thing we shouldn’t have missed).
I suspect this book really deserves four stars from me, but I don't think I read it under ideal conditions. I started reading this with someone else, but our meetings were so spaced out that I never really could 'get into' it. Mr. Carson has quite a bit to say on just a few verses; many of the chapters are two or three times as long as I expected them to be considering the material. That isn't a bad thing; in fact, it is probably to his great credit. I'm thankful for a godly man willing to slow ...more
Zach Barnhart
Nov 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: church-life
A fantastic resource on prayer. Specifically addressing how we model and shape our prayers by gaining wisdom from the Word. Carson is very sharp here. Used this in a study group with some other men and it has led to great discussion.
Jan 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The apostle Paul often spoke of prayer. In the openings of his letters, Paul told his readers how he prayed for them, and asked for prayers in return. Paul's focus on prayer should draw our attention.

D. A. Carson lays out several prayers from Paul's letters. He breaks them down to reveal what Paul is praying for and why. He reveals, most importantly, that the prayers of Paul are God-centered.

This book turned out to be a lot more theologically rich than I was expecting, but after reading it I can
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 ...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
Feb 01, 2015 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
vittore paleni
Aug 04, 2011 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
Feb 14, 2011 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.
John Brackbill
A wonderful applicational exposition of Paul's prayers along with very practical advice for your prayer life. There is also a very fine section exposing or empty excuses. This is a choice book on prayer for the seasoned believer and the new born babe alike.
Melody Clauser
Apr 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book on prayer, very deep but that is to be expected from Carson.
Jan 09, 2011 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.
Cassandra Chung
Unfortunately, I can't recall the specifics of my prayer life when I first became a Christian 11 years ago. However, I do recall that as I matured and began discipling and teaching others the Bible, one of the most common questions that new believers would ask is/ say is "How do I pray?" or "I don't know how to pray". As I reflect more on these moments, I realise that to a certain extent, more mature Christians are asking themselves these questions as well. Am I praying for the right things? ...more
Sarah Norton
Mar 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you are looking for a book on prayer that's not just a book on prayer this one is for you.

Carson begins with talking about prayer, he gives practical tips on how to pray more regularly and effectively like saying prayers aloud, pacing while you pray, writing prayers down, and keeping a list of short-term and long-term prayer requests. He then goes deeper into how to pray within the will of God which involves studying the Bible to find God's will, to see what things God cares about. He delves
May 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2019
A call to be more biblical in our prayers by looking to examples of Paul's prayers recorded in Scripture. How often our prayers are vain and superficial and miss the mark of what true prayer is meant to be. This focuses us back to our Almighty Sovereign Father, to his will and for his glory.
I especially enjoyed chapter 9, "A Sovereign and Personal God" as I feel like this mystery is where many (including myself) have misguided thoughts which undermine not only our prayer life but our faith life.
Matt Wynne
Feb 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really loved this book!!! I will say, for the sake of clarity, this is not an exhaustive book on prayer. It's not a how to guide. It's not even a book that covers prayer throughout the Bible, all of which the author readily admits. It is rather, a book that probes into the heart of the letters of Paul, bringing to the surface a spirit that strives, through prayer, after spiritual awakening and growth within the Church. It's a book that encourages a prayer life that seeks the furtherance of the ...more
Paul Kurtz
I really enjoyed this book on prayer. Carson used several of Paul's prayers, as recorded in his epistles, to model what we ought to be praying for.

Some things in particular that I remember are that Paul was passionate about praying for other people, Paul frequently prayed in accordance with God's revealed will, and he asked those to whom he wrote to join him in praying for fruitful ministry.

A quote toward the end of the book that I found personally convicting was, "Prayerlessness is often an
Aug 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thorough exegesis and thoughtful application characterises this examination of the prayers of Paul. Whilst each chapter is somewhat self-contained in its exploration of an individual prayer, each is used to contribute new insights into the priorities and theological truths that underpin Paul's prayer - and that should guide ours.
This book is both profound and practical, and I think for me bears further reflection as I seek to appropriate its wisdom. I expect this will mean reading through the
Richard Roodt
Sep 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Practical and Instructional

One of the best books I have read on prayer - it is both theologically instructive from the text of Scripture, and practically instructive to help the Christian believer to get to know God better, personally, by following the example of the content of the Apostle Paul's prayers. I found Chapter 4 (Praying for others) and chapter 9 (dealing with the Sovereignty of God and human responsibility) particularly helpful. Solid Deo Gloria for Dr. D.A. Carson and his
A fabulous book on prayer that examines the prayers of Paul. Carson encourages readers to compare Paul's priorities in prayer with their own--not to treat them as "how to" manuals or magic incantations, but to be inspired by the way Paul seeks after God, and desperately desires that for others. Now that I've finished it, I want to read it again with pen and paper in hand to take notes. Highly recommended.
Connor Longaphie
As much as I love and respect Carson this is the church basement coffee of books on prayer. Nothing in this book is wrong. But it seems to be aiming at accessibility and an introductory depth of understanding. A lot of time is also wasted trying to relate information with comparisons and illustrations as is the common plague of modern theology books. Go old or go home as I always say. Might I suggest instead Joel Beeke's taking hold of God: Reformed and Puritan perspectives on prayer.
Mar 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great book about prayer that was educational and convicting. I wasn't a fan of his writing style. There was a lack of emotion and he writes like it is an exegetical paper. But I know some people love that, and the content is worth powering through. This book was less about the practicalities of prayer (though it had a little of that) but more of a theology of prayer, which was disappointing at first, but I think overall was better.
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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 ...more
“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. ” 85 likes
“... the worst possible heritage to leave with children: high spiritual pretensions and low performance.” 73 likes
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