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“We quickly learn that God is more interested in our holiness than in our comfort. He more greatly delights in the integrity and purity of his church than in the material well-being of its members. He shows more clearly to men and women who enjoy him and obey him than to men and women whose horizons revolve more around good jobs, nice houses, and reasonable health. He is far more committed to building a corporate “temple” in which his Spirit dwells than he is in preserving our reputations. He is more vitally disposed to display his grace than to flatter our intelligence. He is more concerned for justice than for our ease. He is more deeply committed to stretching our faith than our popularity. He prefers that his people live in disciplined gratitude and holy joy rather than in pushy self-reliance and glitzy happiness. He wants us to pursue daily death, not self-fulfillment, for the latter leads to death, while the former leads to life.” (A Call to Spiritual Reformation, 200)

Carson here does a great job of reminding us of the difference between God’s priorities and those of the world. I hope and pray that my desires (as well as yours) would be in line with the God who made us, than with the world system that has rebelled against him. That he would give you and I the grace to grow in godliness.

*It is my hope to started sharing some of the more thought provoking quotes from my personal reading on a weekly basis.

I am just finishing up A Call to Spiritual Reformation by D. A. Carson. It has been a convicting an yet insightful book. Being a person who often struggles to make time for intentional prayer, this book was a great reminder of the importance of prayer in the believers life.

Carson seeks to show from the writings of the apostle Paul, particular those passages in which he is found to be laying out his heart before God on behalf of those whom he is ministering to. Among the priorities in prayer that he draws out from these various passages I might mention only a few here.

  1. Paul’s prayers are constantly concerned with the growth and personal holiness of others.
  2. Paul’s prayers are constantly full of thanksgiving to God.
  3. Paul’s prayers are constantly linked with the purposes of God in redemption.

Another helpful chapter in this book was the section were he highlights the sovereignty of God and our responsibility to pray. In it defends the complete sovereignty of God over all things, and yet shows that God does respond to our prayers. “You do not have because you do not ask.” (Jam. 4:2) Yet it is not as though God is compelled to do simply because we ask. Carson reminds us that God is not a genie that we simply approach to get what we want, but the sovereign God of the universe.

I would recommend this book to anyone who has a desire to learn how to pray, especially if you want your prayers to be crafted by the word of God. And if we desire to do all things according to the will of God, how could we not learn how to pray better? And maybe more importantly learn to pray more and more intentionally.