A Call to Spiritual Reformation – Priorities from Paul & his Prayers:  D A Carson Published by IVP This book looks into Paul’s prayers as found in his letters to the Thessalonians, Colossians, Philippians, Ephesians and Romans. Each chapter ends […]
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Book Reviews

A Call to Spiritual Reformation – Priorities from Paul & his Prayers:

 D A Carson

Published by IVP

This book looks into Paul’s prayers as found in his letters to the Thessalonians, Colossians, Philippians, Ephesians and Romans. Each chapter ends with ‘Questions for Review and Reflection’ to help reinforce the primary message contained. The Preface should not be skipped and the opening chapter ‘Lessons from the School of Prayer’ contains much useful material to help with the practical aspects of prayer.

I read this book some time ago and have tried to incorporate some of the thoughts and lessons in my prayer life (with varying degrees of success) and re-visited it when taking the Bible Study on Paul’s prayers in Ephesians. I found it immensely readable, practical and of great spiritual value. I will certainly look to re-read it. AW

Disciplines of a Godly Man

R Kent Hughes

Published by Crossway Books

Don’t turn away! This is not an obscure Puritan classic, nor is it a dry academic thesis. The words ‘discipline’ and ‘Godly’ can turn people off but this book is an essential read for any man wishing to walk the Christian life in a Biblical manner. This book is relevant for all men from 16 to 96 and probably those either side of that age range! Everyone I have introduced this book to who has read it has agreed that it is excellent, a ‘must read’ and very challenging.

So what is it all about? Well, it’s about discipline and men living Godly lives – it does exactly what it says on the tin. This book will affect the way you think, talk and live. It will make a difference, but on one proviso – that you are disciplined to apply it and disciplined enough to want to live a Godly life.

The book is written in an easy to follow style but is extremely hard – hitting. Above all, the book is Biblical in its content and relevant in its application. There are 19 chapters each followed by the following: Food for Thought (very pointed and personal), Application/Response (what effect will this now have) and Think About It (written response to aid learning).

The starting point of the book is the real need for discipline if we are to achieve Godliness in our lives on a consistent basis. Paul says to Timothy ‘train yourself to be Godly’. The idea is of sweaty physical exercise not a gentle walk in the sun! At the end of the introductory chapter the author writes, ‘I invite you into God’s gym….to some sanctifying sweat – to some pain and great gain’.

The following chapters then deal with discipline under 4 main headings – Relationships, Soul, Character and Ministry. Within these he covers the need for the discipline of Marriage, Fatherhood, Mind, Prayer, Worship, Tongue, Work, Church, Giving and Witness among other topics. All are backed up from the Bible and include anecdotes to show further application. Be warned some areas are hard – hitting!

The author concludes with a chapter called ‘Grace of Discipline’ to show that discipline is not legalism but rather requires grace. He quotes Paul to show that grace and sweaty work/discipline go together; ‘But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them – yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me’.

The edition I have is the 10th Anniversary edition and includes a testimony, a reading survey showing the books that have most helped the listed people in their walk with God, 3 Bible reading plans and other resources.

I recommend this book to all men that they may grow spiritually and live more Godly lives to the glory of God. Ladies should also read it to encourage their husbands in the way of a Godly life. Indeed I understand that a book for women has also been written – ‘Disciplines of a Godly Woman’. Perhaps that is for one of the ladies to read and review! AW