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A Prayer Journey with the Apostle Paul: Sixty Devotions

15th June 2013 Christian Books 16 Comments

Few of us have the ease or intimacy in prayer that you would expect to find in family conversation between children and parents. We need help in this area above almost anything else in the spiritual life—and God in his generosity has provided it through the Apostle Paul. A Prayer Journey with the Apostle Paul is a beautifully written devotional that takes us to the heart of this man of God. Through daily readings from Acts and the Epistles we discover the essence of Paul’s prayers in meditation, petition, and praise—earnestly seeking God’s guidance, confident in the Spirit, unremitting in requests for the spiritual growth of others, and overflowing with thankfulness. As we overhear the Apostle in communion with his God, we discover how our own prayer lives can be transformed.

A Prayer Journey with the Apostle Paul: Sixty Devotions

  • 16 responses to "A Prayer Journey with the Apostle Paul: Sixty Devotions"

  • Andy Mcmillan
    3:50 on June 15th, 2013
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    This is quite simply one of the best Christian books I have ever read, short of the Bible itself, and is one of the books I find that I keep coming back to time and time again, for new insight and for its continuing challenge and reminder to think about the way I pray.

    In this book, Carson systematically works through all of Paul’s prayers in the New Testament. For each one, he presents a careful exegesis – working carefully through the passage and explaining its meaning. He then goes on to show Paul’s priorities in his prayer – which are inevitably caught up with Paul’s focus on trusting God intimately and on his other-person centredness. Finally, for each prayer, Carson presents some background theology on surrounding issues and shows how this relates to our lives today.

    In addition, Carson is extremely practical in the way he provides practical advice and pointers for the way we should be praying. He gives useful advice on what and how we should be praying, based on the passages he works through, but also on how to manage a daily prayer time.

    If you are a Christian, you should definitely read this book, particularly if you are keen to think more about the way you should be praying or if you are looking for pointers on how to pray in a Biblical way. If you are not a Christian, this book will still give you a useful insight into what Christians are doing when they pray and why they do it. And you never know – you might even find it challenging and realise that there is something in this Christianity ‘thing’ after all…

  • Deanne Nezas
    10:49 on June 15th, 2013
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    I taught this book to a class of thirty on saturday mornings and we were riveted by its depth. So often books fall into the shallow “how to” trap. This book moves way beyond the popular craze of “The Prayer of Jabez”, to challenge the believer to stretch their prayers to reflect the mind of Christ. Rather than praying about what we want, Carson shows us Paul’s New Testament Prayers and leads us to ask for what God wants in our lives. You will be glad you studied this book.

  • Bill Lee
    11:46 on June 15th, 2013
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    One would think that if something was important to God and he required his people to do it then he would provide adequate instruction as to how to accomplish it. Right? Why is it then that prayer is often the most over complicated and administered while also being the most neglected Christian practice?

    There are myriads of possible answers to this question and instead of trying to answer them, D.A. Carson has chosen to write a most helpful and instructive book dealing with how to pray.

    A Call to Spiritual Reformation is a book that walks through each of the Apostle Paul’s prayers in the New Testament. Carson provides the careful, clear and thorough biblical treatment that we have come to accept and appreciate from him, while at the same time he provides intensely practical (and convicting!) habits from his own prayer life to serve as an example.

    One of the great lessons that this book teaches is the priority of praying biblically. Carson shows throughout the need to calibrate our hearts and our requests with the types of petitions outlined in Scripture. This is to include petitions, thanksgiving, laments, etc.

    In so far as this book is biblical it is reforming, therefore it is among the `must reads’ for Christians. Don’t let the weightiness of Dr Carson’s other books intimidate you, this book is easily understood and tremendously practical.

  • Avitar
    16:42 on June 15th, 2013
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    Most everything I can think to say has already been said in the other reviews. I just wanted to add my .02 as I have really enjoyed this book. It truly has been a life altering experience to read this. It has changed my view of prayer, of others, of God. I now have (at least I hope I have) a deeper respect for the Creator of all things.

    Rom 11:36 For of him, and through him, and unto him, are all things. To him be the glory for ever. Amen.

  • Billy Heywood
    22:35 on June 15th, 2013
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    Want to increase the effectiveness of your prayer life? Try praying for the things Paul prays. This marvelous book will shape the content of your prayer life. His treatment of God’s sovereignty and the exercise of prayer is a must read.

  • Lucille Green
    1:20 on June 16th, 2013
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    This book is by far the best book on prayer that I have read. It doesn’t seek to present a systematic view of prayer like many other books as much as present clear, helpful exposition of Paul’s prayers. I found it very insightful and challenging to the way I typically pray.

  • John Jelacic
    7:51 on June 16th, 2013
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  • Best Author
    14:00 on June 16th, 2013
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    This book changed my thinking on Prayer. Some people say that prayer is merely talking to God and anyone can do so. You don’t need to learn how to pray – but just talk to God like a friend. This view is no doubt true in a sense. Yet, as we mature as Christians, we need to go beyond that and let our prayers be shaped by how biblical authors prayed! This is something that is missing in many Christian’s lives and even as i start to notice how people pray, i see how so UNLIKE Paul many Christians pray!

    Carson writes in the preface about, “…enthusiastic praying in some circles that overflows with emotional release but is utterly uncontrolled by any thoughtful reflection on the prayers of Scripture.”

    He said it all right! We need to pray more like how Paul prays. And this is a wonderful book that expounds Paul’s prayer. A great resource to improve one’s prayer contents and prayer life. As we reflect biblically on Paul’s prayers, our prayers become more biblical and Paul’s (as well as God’s priorities) in prayer, becomes ours too! Now that is exciting and can do wonders to our prayer life!

  • idonotdonot
    15:44 on June 16th, 2013
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    This book is a selective primer on biblical praying, examining the prayers of Paul. Each chapter studies a particular prayer from his letters, exploring what Paul prays for and why. For example-in his analysis of 2 Thessalonians 1:3-12, Dr. Carson illustrates how Paul’s anticipation of Jesus’ return shapes what he prays for the people.

    This book was inspirational to me in at least two ways: I find I am praying for people and needs in a more Christ-centered way. I have also grown in my understanding of what it means to pray to a sovereign God.

    The reflection questions at the end of each chapter help to make this a very practical book. It would work well for individual or group study, taking one chapter at a time and steadily putting the new insights into practice. I heartily recommend it.

  • John K Vincent
    18:06 on June 16th, 2013
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    As Christians we’re expected to pray. But what should we pray for? That we will be healthy, wealthy and wise?

    Carson’s book tries to answer this question by encouraging us to model our prayers after the prayers of the apostle Paul. In his many books Carson is a careful and even-handed expositor of God’s word and no less here. Eight chapters are given to eight Pauline prayers and teach us to pray for the things that are on the heart of God, not on the hearts of our sinful selves.

    In addition there are four helpful chapters on the subject of prayer. Chapter 1 Carson provides some general counsel on how to pray (e.g. maintaining lists etc). Chapter 3 encourages us to pray for others. Chapter 7 tries to help us overcome excuses for not praying (too busy, too spiritually dry, don’t feel the need, too bitter, too ashamed, too content with mediocrity). And Chapter 9 answers the age old question of why we should pray when God has sovereignly planned everything already (this chapter is actually a great primer to Carson’s doctoral dissertation, ‘Divine sovereignty and human responsibility’, available from Amazon).

    The only possible danger of this book is that you might misunderstand it and think that the only models for your prayers are those Biblical passages that are definitely prayers (e.g. Paul, the Psalms, John 17). Whereas I find it helpful to use the whole Bible as my prayer book. When I read the Bible in my devotions each morning, I try to turn every verse I read into a prayer and it is most edifying.

    In sum, this book will change the way you pray; and it will be a change for the better.

  • lil stevie j
    22:17 on June 16th, 2013
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    This book is biblical, theological and passionate!! Dr. Carson analyzes the Paul’s prayer and traces its cause. So the reader can learn the way Paul prays. The author does not stop here. He explores the applications for christians.

    It is so nice that we have a book, written on a very solid Biblical foundation, provides a intelliectual way so that people can learn how to pray according to God’s will.

  • rosetta stone
    7:56 on June 17th, 2013
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    D.A. Carson is one of my favourite authors for a number of reasons, but the main reason is that his love for God, and his desire for others to truly love God is evident in all of his books. That concern for others is evident throughout this fantastic book on prayer.

    D.A. Carson goes through many of the prayers of Paul in his epistles to teach us how to pray like Paul. Learning Paul’s prayers, memorizing them, and studying them with D.A. Carson has drastically changed my own prayer life. Instead of praying for just healing when a friend is sick, I now pray that my friend will come to know the love of God more through that sickness.

    The stories that Carson tells throughout the book are also insightful and help to drive home the exegisis of each scripture. I also enjoyed a few of the side rants that Carson goes on. Specifically, he goes on a mini-rant about individuals who decide to become pastors because they enjoy learning and think they are good teachers, instead of having a deep and sincere love for people and desiring to help bring those people closer to God. In fact, he goes on to call those people who go to seminary simply to increase their knowledge “pathetic.” Strong words, but a good reminder for any who desire to teach.

    Overall, I recommend this book to any Christian who desires to deepen their prayer with God and understand more fully the framework that Paul prayed from.

  • jar jar
    9:32 on June 17th, 2013
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    Carson offers here an examination of various prayers of the Apostle Paul throughout the New Testament. In a scholarly yet straightforward manner, the author presents nuggets of truth that will enrich the prayer lives of his readers. While I appreciated his exposition of numerous New Testament passages, his most helpful remarks were practical instructions based on his own spiritual development. Chapter one, for example, offers many useful lessons from the school of prayer. Chapter four emphasizes the necessity of praying for others. Chapter seven examines common excuses for not praying.

    This book is directed towards the more educated reader or the trained Christian leader. It is somewhat wordy in spots, and drags a bit in its pace. Still, Carson presents solid, spiritual, Scriptural advice that will strengthen the prayer life of each person who reads his work.

  • finally
    15:30 on June 17th, 2013
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    While I am a committed Wesleyan (theologically), this book is profound. Dr Carson isn’t one of my favorite speakers, but his book(s) are very, very good.

    I think he could simplify what he is saying and make it a lot “user-friendly” than it is. Sometimes we have to get out our Oxford Unabridged Dictionary to find out what he is saying. Such words as “jingoism”…who on earth has ever heard of that? None of us, and I have a theological education myself.

    It’s a good book. should be revised.

  • Evil Ed
    16:53 on June 17th, 2013
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    While it is not wrong and on the contrary, it is great to follow the pattern of our prayer after the Lord’s prayer, it is also beneficial to learn from different books of the Bible on the substance of prayers. In this book, Prof. D.A. Carson points out both the manner and matter of prayer; the former from his personal counsels (Ch. 1 and 7) and the latter from the prayers of the Apostle Paul in his epistles (the rest of the chapters). But why seemingly just another one out of so many, even too many books already out there that deal with the subject of prayer? I venture to say that this one is different in that it is the first one that I know of that deals with how to pray biblically out of a careful exegesis of Paul’s epistles. It is also crucial to note the reason why Prof. Carson wrote this book, namely, the most pressing need of the church being a deeper knowledge of God (p.15). The most pressing need is not more programs, more theology, more outreach, or more political involvement, but a deeper knowledge of God, through biblically informed, Bible-saturated, Bible-driven prayers. I dare to say even a biblical reformed theology, regardless of how sound it is, is worthless without a faithful, fervent prayer life. Now this is not to say that right theology is not important for a right prayer habit and content, not at all. On the contrary, a right theology is inseparable from and is fundamental to right prayers. “All praying presupposes an underlying theology; conversely, our theology will have a decisive influence on our praying” (p.95). Of a particular importance that Carson touches upon is the sovereignty of God and human responsibility, that nature of God being a transcendent, sovereign, yet personal (Ch.9 and 10).

    While Carson’s counsels on the manner of prayer shouldn’t be treated as a mere mechanical recipe for a “successful” prayer, they are helpful. Carson himself warns about such a tendency. Quoting J. I. Packer, he wrote, “Books on praying, like marriage manuals, are not to be treated with slavish superstition, as if perfection of technique is the answer to all difficulties; their purpose, rather, is to suggest things to try” (p. 38). Some specific points that I value greatly are, that we must plan to pray (p.19), adopt practical ways to battle distractions (p.20), find prayer partners (p.22), mingle praise, confession and intercession and try to link petitions as much as possible to Scripture (p. 29), and pray until you pray (p. 35), which means “…Christians ought to pray long enough and honestly enough, at a single session, to get past the feeling of formalism and unreality” (p. 36).

    Here and there, I sometimes follow Paul’s pattern of prayer, but never have I seen it being studied comprehensively as what Carson did in this book. He covers most, if not all segments of Paul’s epistles that speak of what he prayed for and its theological framework; thanksgiving for the fruits of conversion of the Thessalonians (Ch.2), and sanctification with eyes on glorification (Ch.3, 8, 11). But these theologically-rooted prayers, solid as they are, are also deeply personal and filled with compassion toward people and thus, teach us how to pray rightly for others, even those whom we never met as Paul did to the Romans and Colossians (Ch.6).

    One aspect of prayer that is rarely covered, is the mystery and beauty of its outcome, that Carson brings up from the observation of what Paul asked for in Rom 15:23-33 and 2 Cor 12:1-10 and God’s response to them. Though they were not as Paul expected, but they are the best possible answer. These are precious lessons to learn that prayer is getting to know God better; to know his mind and will, the way He teaches us to wait and show our selfishness, the outcome of which is for his glory and our good.

    Since Carson does quite a lengthy exegesis on several epistles instead of tying everything directly to the main subject of prayer, this book may sound a little verbose to some. But this is neither a good reason nor an excuse for not reading it if one is serious about the greatest privilege one could ever receive; to know God and to know Him in a deeper way.

  • Khan Manka
    20:38 on June 17th, 2013
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    This, in my opinion, is easily one of the best books on prayer. It was recommended to me by the dean of the seminary that I was attending, so I checked it out of the college library during finals week. I actually finished the book in about two days during finals, and I must say that it was radically life altering. Rarely would I ever give a book five stars, but this is easily one of the greatest books I have ever read.

    I am admittedly an avid Carsonite. I try to get my hands on as many books as he has written, and none of them ever disappoints. There is one reason why I always recommend this book (and most of what Carson writes), and it is for the same reason that I recommend Christians read this book alongside their Bibles. Carson does not write this book on the foundation of stories, or personal experience. He deals with prayer by working through key passages from Paul’s writings, so that the book is not a book about prayer, but an exegetical study of what is learned from the example of Paul’s prayer life.

    Definitely buy this book. It will transform your personal faith and spiritual life. It should be listed alongside the great Christian classics because of its value for believers.

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