Book Review – The Prayer that Turned the World Upside Down by R. Albert Mohler

Title: The Prayer that Turned the World Upside Down
Author: R. Albert Mohler
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publishing Year: 2018
Pages: 181
My Rating: 4 out of 5 (1 meaning I hated the book, 5 meaning I loved the book)

It’s been said that if you want to make a Christian feel guilty, ask about his prayer life.  Many of us struggle with finding time to pray, wondering if we are praying enough and sometimes it’s just difficult talking to someone you can’t see.  In his latest book, the Prayer that Turned the World Upside Down, Dr. Al Mohler takes up the request once asked of Jesus, “Teach us to pray.”

Jesus’ response to that question is what we know refer to as the Lord’s Prayer.  Maybe you remember reciting it as a child or something you often repeated in church.  As familiar as it is, how many of us have really thought through this crucially important lesson on prayer?  This book helps us do just that. Dr. Mohler takes us through the prayer line by line giving an in-depth exegesis of the text that grounds us in sound theology yet leaves us with practical application we can put to use in our own lives.  

I, personally, found the book to be quite interesting and challenging.  I especially appreciated the author’s emphasis on corporate prayer. So often I  fellow believers who believe that all prayer should take place in secret, confined to a closet as Jesus taught at one point.  But throughout the Lord’s prayer, it is plural pronouns that are used. In other words, at least some prayer was meant to be corporate, in public.  That’s just one insight of the many found in these pages.

Here’s a few quotes I found edifying:

“When we pray, we convey our entire theological system.  Our theology us never so clearly displayed before our own eyes and before the world as in our prayers.” – page 10

“God uses prayer to radically reorient our hearts, which can be disturbing.  Prayer can sometimes be ‘anti-therapy.’ This is because prayer is not first and foremost about us, but about the glory of God.” – page 15

“Prayer is not our bargaining chip with a reluctant genie.  It is our opportunity to commune with the Creator and Redeemer who loves us.” – page 17

“Jesus is reminding us that when we enter into a relationship with God, we enter into a relationship with his people.  When we are saved by Christ, we are saved into his body, the church.” – page 48

“This is why Jesus regularly referred to himself a the ‘bread of life,’ the true manna sent from heaven (John 6:35).  He is God’s ultimate provision for our spiritual lives. Each day as we pray for our daily bread, we should be reminded of our need for Christ to forgive our sins and empower us for obedience. Each time we pray for daily bread, we should recognize our deeper need for the bread of life – the only one who can truly satisfy.” – page 118

“The Bible does not teach that God helps those who help themselves; instead, God helps those who are at the end of themselves.” – page 148

Purchase the book here.

Disclaimer: This book was provided by the publisher for review. I was under no obligation to offer a favorable review.

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Book Review – The Gospel and Adoption

Title: The Gospel and Adoption (The Gospel for Life Series)
Author: Russell Moore and Andrews Walker (editors)
Publisher: B&H Books
Publishing Year: 2017
Pages: 128
My Rating: 5 out of 5 (1 meaning I hated the book, 5 meaning I loved the book

Disclaimer: This book was provided by the publisher for review. I was under no obligation to offer a favorable review.

It was many years ago at a Texas Roadhouse in Janesville, WI that my wife and I, at the urging of our pastor, began to serious consider adoption.  For years we had struggled through infertility and wasn’t quite sure why God was putting us through that. At that meeting we were urged to read the book Adopted for Life by Russell Moore.  That was the beginning of our journey that led to the adoption of our two children (and two more to come). We owe quite a bit to Dr. Moore’s book.

This book is much shorter than Adopted for Life but is jammed-packed with Biblical and practical considerations concerning adoption.  This book features bit-sized chapters from several authors, such as Russell Moore and Focus on the Family President Jim Daly, that focus on a foundational, Biblical philosophy on adoption and then backs up to give practical considerations for both individuals and churches as a whole.

One thing I especially find helpful about this book is its honesty.  The authors do not sugar-coat anything. Adoption is sometimes seen as romantic – a gracious couple willing to rescue a poor orphan who then will be forever grateful.  It is NEVER that simple. Every adoption involves tragedy, heartache and unknown amounts of baggage. It is difficult and often awkward. The church needs to protect its sheep and sometimes that means telling a family they may not be equipped or ready to adopt.  While the ought to look for ways to care for orphans, it is not God’s will for every couple to adopt or enter the foster care system. Yet, the blessings of adoption are worth the struggles and reflect the heart of gospel and God Himself.

Here are a few helpful quotes from the book:

“Adoption helps explain how people from across the globe and across history become the family of God.  Adoption is an expression of the sheer willpower of God to create a family unto Himself that he’s proud to call children. (John 1:12)” – page 1

“Physical adoption is a reflection of God’s work of spiritual adoption in the lives of His people.  It is a reflection of a people who are living out the supremacy of Christ in a fallen world.”- page 20

“Adoption in Scripture is not an adjective in the Scripture – it’s a past tense verb.  God doesn’t say to some Christians, “I love you, and you are Mine,” and then turn to others and say, “I’m glad you’re here, but you’re just not as special” – page 33

“Far more than a requirement, caring for orphans is first a response to God’s love.  Its not just a mandate, but a mirror of God’s character.” – page 65

There’s much more worth reading so I would urge you to pick up this book for yourself.  If you are considering adoption, know a family that has adopted or is in a church that focuses on adoption – this book will be a help and blessing to you.  In short, this is a great book that should be found on your bookshelf.

Purchase the book for yourself here.