Now we all know that we can read books on prayer and listen to sermons on prayer (and I have listened to a few lately!!) until the cows come home but none of this going to have an impact on our prayerfulness unless, at our end, we have a desire to grow in our prayer life and we just get on with the business of praying. This book is not a quick fix. There is no quick fix. But if you have a yearning to grow in prayefulness - quality or quantity - then there is much in this book for encouragement.
In chapter four of A Call to Spiritual Reformation: Priorities from Paul and his Prayers Don Carson pauses from his exposition and in a discussion on praying for others, quotes most of the prayers from Paul's letters in full over six solid pages.
I confess, right here on the internet for all to see, that when I first read this chapter at the beginning of June I travelled through these six pages pretty quickly. I skimmed a few of the passages, skipped over others having read the references because they were so familiar and by the fifth page, just turned it right over to get back to Carson's text. Tut tut!
At the end of each chapter there are three or four study questions or ideas to promote some deeper thinking. At the end of this chapter, point number two is, "As a spiritual discipline slowly read through the prayers of Paul every day for one month. Record in what ways this discipline influences your own praying."
So my reading of this book has slowed a little because I have decided to have a go at this exercise. I've only managed to read through the passages three or four times in the last ten days but it is definitely a worthwhile exercise for widening and deepening scope in prayer. And for honing focus. I may tinker away at it as I can during June and then pick it up for daily reading and reflection come the July school holidays.
What follows then is the list of the Scriptures Carson quotes. I know a long list of Scriptures makes for absolutely deadly blogging so feel free to stop reading right here if this is not for you - at all or just at the moment. But there may be one or two who would like to have a go at this...and so here goes - most of the prayers of Paul.
1 Timothy 1:12
1 Timothy 2:1-6
2 Timothy 1:3-7
2 Timothy 1:16-18
2 Timothy 4:22
If you think you might like to have a go at this and I know you (in person or via frequent commenting between blogs) and you would like me to photocopy the six pages out of the book and post them to you (it is helpful to just have the passages in front of you, all in one place) then leave me a message and I will see what I can do.