Praying with Paul by D. A. Carson

The apostle Paul often spoke of prayer. In the openings of his letters, Paul told his readers how he prayed for them, and asked for prayers in return. Paul’s focus on prayer should draw our attention.

D. A. Carson lays out several prayers from Paul’s letters. He breaks them down to reveal what Paul is praying for and why. He reveals, most importantly, that the prayers of Paul are God-centered.

This book turned out to be a lot more theologically rich than I was expecting, but after reading it I can see why. Carson really gets into the bones of Paul’s prayers. There’s nothing superficial here.

There were moments when I got a little confused, and had to re-read a passage, but it’s worth it. I did a lot of underlining in this book.

1) Is it understandable = 4
2) Presentation of Information = 4.5
3) Quality of Writing = 4.5
4) Overall Enjoyability = 4

Average score of 4.25 out of 5

Where to buy the book: CBD | Amazon | B&N

Habits of Grace by David Mathis

Mathis-HabitsOfGrace     We don’t like the word “discipline.” Spiritual disciplines have a way of sounding time consuming, strict, and boring. David Mathis, in an attempt to simplify and help us find joy in Christ through spiritual discipline, has given us this short book. In it, he explains that daily “habits of grace” such as Bible reading are disciplines that will draw us closer to God.

Mathis says that all spiritual disciplines can be sorted into at least one of three categories: Hearing God’s voice (His Word), having His ear (prayer), and belonging to His body (fellowship). The book is divided into these three sections, and each chapter into specific disciplines. Just a few of the disciplines discussed are Bible study, meditation, prayer, fasting, journaling, and baptism.

Mathis admits that this book could have been much longer. His goal is not to give us detailed practices, but to give us an overview of the joy in Christ that can be gained from practicing each of the disciplines discussed. He does give a few examples of how to practice them, but it is by no means an exhaustive list.

It is, however, a great introduction (or refresher) on how spiritual discipline should work in our lives.

1) Is it understandable = 5
2) Presentation of Information = 5
3) Quality of Writing = 5
4) Overall Enjoyability = 5

Average score of 5 out of 5

Where to buy the book: CBD | Amazon | B&N

I received a free electronic copy of this book for review purposes from Crossway.

Praying the Bible by Donald S. Whitney

Whitney-PrayingTheBible     Do you have trouble praying? Does your mind wander? Do you say the same prayers in the same way over and over to the point where you have become bored with prayer? Do you think this means something is wrong with you or that you must not be a good-enough Christian?

You are not alone, and no… boredom in prayer isn’t from a lack of faith or lack of love toward God. It is, as Don Whitney says, a problem with method.

In this book, Whitney explains how to pray the Bible, why the best book to pray through is the Psalms, and guides you through with an exercise.

I’ve heard the saying “pray the Bible” before. I had an idea what it meant (I was sort of right… a little bit), but thought it would be too involved. I never really had it explained to me. This book explains it in such a simple way that I can’t believe we all don’t just instinctively know to do this. This is definitely one of those books that changed my way of thinking, and will hopefully have a profound effect on my prayer life.

1) Is it understandable = 5
2) Presentation of Information = 5
3) Quality of Writing = 5
4) Overall Enjoyability = 5

Average score of 5 out of 5

Where to buy the book: CBD | Amazon | B&N

I received a free digital copy of this book from Crossway for review purposes.

Friday Finds (12/4/15)

Friday Finds is hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just share the new-to-you books you found during the week — books you either want to add to your TBR (to be read) list, or that you just heard about that sounded interesting. If you’ve discovered them this week, share them with us  in the comments or post the link to your blog post where you shared them.

Black-LightLast Carson-PrayingPaul Catron-Leadership
Corp-Doon MacArthur-Parables Ryle-Holiness

Light of the Last – Chuck Black
Praying with Paul – D. A. Carson
The 4 Dimensions of Extraordinary Leadership – Jenni Catron
Doon – Carey Corp & Lorie Langdon
Parables – John MacArthur
Holiness – J. C. Ryle

Angelguard by Ian Acheson

Acheson-Angelguard     Three major cities across the globe are hit with major explosions, killing thousands. Unlike the usual terrorist attacks, no one has stepped forward to claim responsibility. One man, Jack Haines, comes to believe he was protected by God during the explosion in his hometown that claimed the lives of his wife and two of his children. As he tries to move forward he meets others who were involved in the other explosions in Los Angeles and London who also had miraculous experiences. He thinks it’s more than a coincidence, and as he learns what is really happening he is pulled into a centuries-old battle between good and evil.

While this book starts with lots of action and drama, I have to admit it didn’t quite pull me in right away. As all the characters are introduced, we really have no knowledge of what is really happening… much like the main characters. That was a bit frustrating for me. Further into the book, as we learn more about the characters, I started to get hooked and had a hard time putting the book down.  It’s a pretty fast-paced novel, with some twists and turns, and some pretty evil bad guys.

The focus is on the spiritual side of our world. Angels and demons, good and evil. There is a great emphasis on the power of prayer throughout the novel, as both people and angels are found praying many times for different reasons.

1) Overall Plot = 4.5
2) Characters = 4
3) Flow/Pace of the story = 4.5
4) Is the story easy to follow? = 4
5) Overall Enjoyability = 4

Average of  score 4.2
Overall grade = B

Where to buy the book: CBD | Amazon | B&N
You can read the first chapter here.
Visit the author’s website.

I received a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes from Kregal Publications.