Thursday, September 28, 2006

Carson on Prayer

One of the Wednesday night classes at our church this semester is studying D. A. Carson’s book, A Call to Spiritual Reformation: Priorities from Paul and His prayers. I bought this book 10 years ago, and it has been a significant help, challenge, and encouragement to me in many ways. I recommend it heartily. It has been helpful to take biblical prayers as models for my praying. It really is a simple idea but one I had not seriously considered before reading this book. Here are some quotes from his introduction on the need of the church to be serious about prayer.

“The one thing we most urgently need in Western Christendom is a deeper knowledge of God. We need to know God better.” (15)

“One of the foundational steps in knowing God, and one of the basic demonstrations that we do know God, is prayer – spiritual, persistent, biblically minded prayer. . . . Robert Murray M’Cheyne declared, ‘What a man is alone on his knees before God, that he is, and no more.’” (16)

“Where is our delight in praying? . . . How much of our praying is largely formulaic, liberally larded with clichés that remind us, uncomfortably, of the hypocrites Jesus excoriated?” (16)

“…is it not nevertheless true that by and large we are better at organizing than agonizing? Better at administering than interceding? Better at fellowship than fasting? Better at entertainment than worship? Better at theological articulation than spiritual adoration? Better – God help us! – at preaching than at praying?” (16)

[quoting J.I. Packer] “I believe that prayer is the measure of the man, spiritually, in a way that nothing else is, so that how we pray is as important a question as we can ever face.” (16)


Anonymous said...

Hi Ray - thanks for the reminder of such a great book. I've linked to your post and written some thoughts on our confidence in our own ministry skill which can undermine our prayer life.

Ray Van Neste said...

Thanks for the link. I enjoyed looking at your site.