CommendationsDon't be put off by the lofty title - this is a very practical book about how we can learn from the Bible to pray in line with God's plans.
Don Carson argues that the most urgent need of today's Christians in the West is a closer knowledge of God and that a crucial step towards this is the way we pray. As we seek to live in accordance with God's plans and our place in them as revealed in the Bible, so must we seek to pray. Carson examines eight prayers from the letters of Paul. He proposes that we can learn from them how to pray in keeping with God's purposes, as Paul does.
Paul's prayers flow from his deep commitment to God's people, and his joy as he sees God working in the churches to whom he writes (2 Thes 1:3; 1 Thes 3:9). The ground of his prayer is the extraordinary grace by which believers in Jesus are first saved, according to which we are bit by bit made perfect, and by which our Lord is glorified in our lives (1 Thes 1:12; Eph 1:7). Paul knows that the things he asks for are available only on the basis of this grace. He prays always with Jesus' triumphant return at the end of history in mind, when the church is to be presented perfect and flawless in God's presence (1 Thes 3:13; Eph 1: 9-10). His prayer's aim is Jesus' glory, through the growing holiness of his people, and their glory as members of Christ's body (1 Thes 1:12). Thus he asks, for example, that the believers' love for each other might grow, together with their grasp of the gospel and their moral understanding, so that they might be able to discern what is best in God's eyes (Phil: 1-11). He asks that they might have the power to know how great Christ's love is, that they might become all that God wants them to be (Eph 3: 14-21). What a challenge it is, to pray with such great things in mind.
It would be a very rare Christian who has always found it easy to pray. The book also addresses commonly-experienced difficulties with prayer.
This easy-to-understand, biblical book is to be recommended to anybody seeking to relearn to pray effectively and in keeping with God's plans.
Rosemary Lambley, Nucleus (CMF)