Friday, November 20, 2015
Alone With God by John MacArthur (Book Review #90 of 2015)
Alone With God: Rediscovering the Power and Passion of Prayer (John MacArthur Study)
I read R.C. Sproul's Does Prayer Change Things followed by Tim Keller's epic Prayer before downloading this one. I recommend Sproul's brief work over this one as a first book. MacArthur's work gives the "what" and "why" of prayer, but not so much the "how," which Keller's work spends a good deal of time on. There is little in MacArthur's book looking at how people have prayed through the centuries, in contrast with Keller's work.
In his writing, MacArthur is content not to reconcile God's foreknowledge with our responsibility. It's a mystery he lets stand. We know that God is sovereign over events, yet we are commanded to pray. He does give a theology of prayer and looks at several New Testament examples. Praying is part of our overall spiritual health that helps us be "worthy of our calling." While giving a basic defense of Calvinism, MacArthur exhorts the reader that evangelism begins with prayer; the Bible says so (Matthew 9:38, 2 Timothy 2:25, etc.).
The best part is the line-by-line approach to the Lord's Prayer, a chapter for each. I note that MacArthur encourages Christians to submit to their governments and pray for it. He of course has the stance that the American Revolution was sinful rebellion. He reminds the reader that "we cannot legislate morality," so evangelical efforts of lobbying are mostly a waste of time-- better off praying for our leaders' hearts to be convicted toward repentance.
MacArthur gets points for succinctness and biblical application. But he delves too much into Greek etymology of words to make his point, that is similar to his book Slave. Three stars out of five.