Published on July 19, 2018 by Joshua R Monroe

Baker, 2015 | 240 pages

A Brief Book Summary By Books At A Glance

By Clay Werner



Carson’s deep conviction is that the greatest need of the church today is a deeper knowledge of God. This deeper knowledge of God can only come through a prayer life that has been formed and reformed by God’s word. In light of this, the book is an exegesis and application of a variety of Paul’s prayers throughout his letters.



Introduction: The Urgent Need of the Church
Chapter 1: Lessons from the School of Prayer
Chapter 2: The Framework of Prayer (2 Thess. 1:3-12)
Chapter 3: Worthy Petitions (2 Thess. 1:1-12)
Chapter 4: Praying for Others
Chapter 5: A Passion for People (1 Thessalonians 3:9-13)
Chapter 6: The Content of a Challenging Prayer (Colossians 1:9-14)
Chapter 7: Excuses for Not Praying
Chapter 8: Overcoming the Hurdles (Philippians 1:9-11)
Chapter 9: A Sovereign and Personal God
Chapter 10: Praying to the Sovereign God (Ephesians 1:15-23)
Chapter 11: Praying for Power (Ephesians 3:14-21)
Chapter 12: Prayer for Ministry (Romans 15:14-33)



Introduction: The Urgent Need of the Church

Many would have different answers if they were asked what the most urgent need of the church was today. Some would say it is personal morality whiles others might say it is financial integrity and generosity. Other answers might be that evangelism or biblical thinking are the most urgent need. While all these are important, they are symptoms of a deeper problem- the urgent need for a deeper knowledge of God. A deeper knowledge of God will greatly impact the previously mentioned areas of life and will also improve private and corporate worship. This knowledge of God, though, can only come through prayer, “spiritual, persistent, biblically minded prayer.”

Our own prayers will be motivated and reformed by God’s word as we read the rest of this book which states its purpose as thinking through some of Paul’s prayers “so that we may align our prayer habits with his.” If a deeper knowledge of God is the church’s urgent need, a reformed and robust prayer life will help us meet that need.


Chapter 1 : Lessons from the School of Prayer

Scripture and mature Christians are wonderful resources to draw from to grow in prayer. While Scripture is the most authoritative teacher on this topic, others have taught many important lessons about prayer.

The first lesson is that we often don’t pray because we don’t plan to. Christians who want to grow in prayer must learn to set aside specific times to pray, “…it is better to pray often with brevity than rarely but at length.” A second lesson is to take practical measures to “impede mental drift” during prayer. One way to help is to vocalize your prayer while another is to pray over specific scriptures. One might also choose a hymn and pray through its various verses and stanzas. Another helpful option is journaling your prayers. A third lesson is, if possible, to develop a prayer-partnership with someone else. You can either pray with someone to learn from them, or partner with someone to help them learn how to pray. Either way, a prayer partnership will help you grow towards more faithfulness in prayer. A fourth lesson is to learn from others as they model prayer to you. “Choose models, but choose them well. Study their content, their breadth, their passion, their unction- but do not ape their idiom.”

It is also helpful, fifth, to develop some kind of system for your different prayer lists. You can use various sheets of paper, different folders, or digital media. It is important to know names to pray for, places to pray for, churches to pray for, etc. A sixth lesson is to mingle the various kinds of prayer and to “tie as many requests as possible to scripture.” You can praise, intercede, lament, be thankful, etc. in prayer and it is healthy to have all these present as you pray. Also, as we learn God’s will and discern what he values in Scripture, this will shape not only how we pray but what we pray for when we ask for things for ourselves or others. Seventh, if you are in a position to pray publicly, understand that this is a “pedagogical opportunity,” not to please people but to instruct and edify them. A final and important lesson is to “pray until you pray.” What the Puritans meant by this was “that Christians should pray long enough and honestly enough, at a single session, to get past the feeling of formalism and unreality that attends not a little praying.”


Chapter 2: The Framework of Prayer (2 Thess. 1:3-12)

This passage provides not only a framework for what Paul prays for but also explains why Paul prays for those things. Two dominant features stand out in this passage- thankfulness for signs of grace and confidence in the prospect of vindication.

In Paul’s gratitude for God’s grace he shows that thankfulness for spiritual blessings, is a primary framework for his prayers. He gives thanks to God because the Thessalonian’s faith is growing, their love is increasing, and they are persevering under trial. Like Paul, “we must look for signs of grace in the lives of Christians and give God thanks for them.”

A second primary feature in Paul’s prayer is his confidence in the prospect of being vindicated. The perseverance of the Thessalonians amidst opposition “demonstrates their right to enter the kingdom; that is, it is the evidence of their right to enter the kingdom…” It is the kingdom of God that drives Paul’s prayers and for this reason, he is confident that believers will one day be vindicated and that non-believers will experience retribution. For Paul, these are not mere creedal points, but “ultimate realities that even now are life-transforming.” A significant part of. . .

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Praying With Paul: A Call To Spiritual Reformation

Baker, 2015 | 240 pages

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