Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Top Ten Books of 2013--#3 - A Call To Spiritual Reformation - D. A. Carson



I am continuing to count down the best books that I read in 2013 and now approach the third place.  This book could have very easily been tied for the 2nd place but we will put it in this slot.  I noticed something about my reading trends in 2013 and that mostly I read things about revival and spiritual renewal.  That was not my plan to get necessarily do so, it just sort of unfolded in that way.  This book by D. A. Carson is an older book having been published in 1992.  However except for a few dated references that Carson makes to the ’80’s and ‘90’s its message is still just as relevant now as it was then.   

Author:  D. A. Carson
Publisher:  Baker Book House, 1992

He mentions in his introduction that the urgent need of the hour for all ministers and churches is a commitment to prayer.  Prayer that is willing to push beyond the difficult and the distractions of our time.  He notes that prayerlessness is one of the great sins of the western church.  One of the interesting matters you will read about is how that Carson points to the widespread media influence that has prevailed on the church.  He was writing in 1992 and what he has written about is even more prevalent than what it was then. 

His first chapter on the lessons from the school of prayer are noteworthy.  He gives eight very thought provoking matters that are designed to both help and convict us to go to our knees to a place of prayer:

·        There is a need to plan for prayer.
·        Adopt ways to prevent mental drift while you are praying.
·        Develop a prayer partner relationship if you can.
·        Choose models—but choose them well.
·        Develop a system for your prayer lists.
·        Mix praise, confession and intercession but tie as much of your prayer to Scripture as you can.
·        If you are in a position of spiritual leadership, work on your public prayers!
·        Pray until you pray. 

Then Carson takes eight specific prayers of Paul that he finds in Scripture and works through them in a very effective way.  One of the outstanding features of this book how Carson ties in the Word with our praying.  I have discovered that if you ever make a commitment to pray Scripture, there are great vistas and horizons that await you on the pages of Scripture.  This book by Carson will reinforce the aspect of bringing more feeling and depth into your prayers. 

One of his chapters, “Praying for Others,” has a majority of Scriptures that are laid out for the diligent person to incorporate into their prayer time.  I have often discovered that if you can start on this platform of prayer, spontaneity and passion soon will follow as you give yourself to the hard but very effective work of prayer. 

There is another chapter that Carson spends dealing with the excuses that we often take solace in for our prayerlessness.  He answers them by allowing Scripture to bring an answer for us.  The excuses?

·        I am too busy to pray.
·        I feel too spiritually dry to pray.
·        I feel no need to pray.
·        I am too bitter to pray.
·        I am too ashamed to pray.
·        I am content with mediocrity.

I believe you would be well-served to read this book on prayer.      

Thanks for reading. . .       

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