Monday, 6 October 2008

A Call to Spiritual Reformation

I have been reading this book, by Don Carson, for a few weeks now. I am deliberately taking it very slow (only a chapter a week, and re-reading bits) because I want to let everything sink in and be able to apply what I am learning, rather than just thinking "that sounds like a nice idea" and then immediately forgetting it.

This book examines Paul's prayers, recorded in his letters, to see what we can learn about how we should pray and what we should pray about. I know that prayer is a most basic means of communicating with God, and as a Christian I am in a relationship with God. So why would I not want to improve my "prayer life"? Experience has taught me that I have much to learn in this area if I want to be able to talk to God as clearly and comfortably, diligently and delightedly as I desire. So I thought this book would be a great help to me.

Perhaps you might like to get a copy as well and try reading through it with me? I will try to post a comment each Monday, but it might be every second Monday. It would be great if you would respond in the comments, even if you haven't read the book.
Introduction: The Urgent need of the Church

Carson argues persuasively that the most urgent need of the church of the western world (and particularly so in the US, where Carson lives) is to know God better. He considers other issues confronting the church, such as purity in sexual and reproductive matters; integrity and generosity with finances; evangelism and church planting; disciplined, biblical thinking informed by more/better expository preaching; vital corporate worship and political action. However, Carson argues that each of these challenges would fall into place (or at least be dealt with better) if we just addressed the underlying issue: that Christians often do not know their God personally and profoundly. Carson concludes, "The one thing we most need in Western Christendom is a deeper knowledge of God. We need to know God better. ... In the biblical view of things, a deeper knowledge of God brings with it massive improvement in the other areas mentioned... and much more."

Part of the answer to this problem - a shallow knowledge of God - is found through prayer. Carson declares, "One of the foundational steps in knowing God, and one of the basic demonstrations that we do know God, is found in prayer - spiritual, persistent, biblically minded prayer." So Carson has written this book to examine the foundations of prayer, by examining the prayers of Paul, as he wrote them in his letters to the early churches and their pastors. It is his hope that we may therefore be able to learn from a master.

I'm looking forward to sharing more from this book with you. For comment: What connection do you see between prayer and the knowledge of God?

Next week: Lessons from the School of Prayer

[Cover image from koorong.]


argsmommy said...

I tried to find this book in a couple of local bookstores tonight, but it looks like I will have to order it online. I will just follow your posts for now. Thanks for writing about it!


Sharon said...

Hi kellie,

I hope you can find it easily - I just assumed since the author is American, there would be no problem finding this book in the US. It might have a different cover for you though. My copy is copyright 1992 from Baker Publishing. It has two ISBNs, strangely:
10:0-8010-2569-9 and 978-0-8010-2569-3. HTH!

~ Sharon