Anyone who has hung around our Oxford Club for Men group knows I believe in study guides big time for working our way through books in a way that facilitates critical thinking.
For our equipping hour emphasis in the New Year I plan to do this for D. A. Carson’s book which we will focus on in a church-wide effort to transfrom our knowledge of God in prayer.
Here is the guide for the preface and introduction. I am now working on my second read of this great tool. I trust you will get into it soon and use these questions as an aid to your learning and transformation process.
- What are some of the reasons for which you find it difficult to pray?
- How do you react to the author’s allegation regarding “the sheer prayerlessness that characterizes so much of the Western church?” What are some passages of Scripture that you can think of or find that paint a picture of prayerfulness among God’s people? List two or three insights you gain from these passages.
- What is Carson’s aim in this book (pp. 9-10)? How do you react to his purpose and approach?
- What do you believe is the most urgent need in the church of the Western world today? What things does Carson hypothesize for answers and what thoughts and feelings does your reading generate?
- Where does Carson finally land on the question of most urgent need in the church and why?
- How does prayer fit into addressing this need according to the author?
- How do you react to the quote by R. M. M’Cheyene, “What a man is alone on his knees before God, that he is, and no more” and/or the quote by J. I. Packer, “I believe that prayer is the measure of the man, spiritually, in a way that nothing else is, so that how we pray is as important a question as we can ever face”?
- How would you evaluate the “delight quotient” of your own praying and why?
- What are you prepared to do in light of this introduction and your understanding of Carson’s aim in writing this book (see pp. 17-18)?