A Call to Spiritual Reformation by D. A. Carson

Throughout my life I have read dozens of the best Christian books on prayer, but when I am asked to recommend a good book on prayer I draw a blank. I could offer books filled with examples of great men and women of prayer; books that explain the details and puzzles of prayer; books that offer practical advice, all of which have some value. But none have ever brought satisfaction to my heart and mind.

Then I read D. A. Carson’s misnamed book A Call to Spiritual Reformation. It is misnamed, not because prayer does not lead to spiritual reformation, but because it gives no hint that it is a careful examination of the biblical prayers of the Apostle Paul—although the subtitle gives it away: Priorities from Paul and His Prayers.

Regardless of the title, A Call to Spiritual Reformation is hands-down the best book I have read on the subject of prayer. This is largely true because Carson is exegeting Scripture, principally Paul’s prayers. He is teaching us how to pray by showing us how the apostle prayed.

The book is well illustrated and includes study questions for small groups. The only negative that I would offer is that Carson, being the scholar that he is, may have written over the heads of some who could benefit from this writing. This is not to say that it is a difficult book in most places, but occasionally it may lose some readers. For any reader to whom this may apply, I would encourage perseverance. It will be worth it to wade through a few difficult sections to mine the treasures found throughout.

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