Manny Carlos serves as a bishop and the chairman of Victory in the Philippines, Dean of Spiritual Life for Every Nation Seminary, and has been a pastor for over thirty years. He holds a Doctor of Ministry degree in Preaching and Leading from Asbury Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Mini, have four children, Jeremy, Daniel, Hannah, and Samuel.
Victory Church, founded in 1984, has grown from a ragtag group of 160 Filipino college students to a church of over 100,000 members with 170-weekend services meeting in 17 different locations. Outside Metro Manila, Victory has planted churches in 92 cities that conduct 308 worship services in all the provinces of the Philippines. The two most prominent elements at the core of Victory Philippines have been an untiring commitment to prayer and making disciples. For 25 years, Manny Carlos has been one of the primary leaders in Victory's devotion to prayer.
The central premise of Spirit-Empowered Prayer is that communion with God and the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit is the key (the only key) to genuine spiritual transformation.
Manny Carlos uses examples from the formative years of his spiritual life to make an inescapable point—that regimens and resolutions to pray more faithfully, more passionately, and more effectively are alone insufficient to sustain spiritual disciplines. His initial efforts in following various formulas of prayer echoed the early frustration of the apostle Paul in Romans 7—desiring to do one thing but lacking the power to accomplish it apart from the power of the Spirit.
The author builds on this theme of spiritual empowerment with a description of one of his 16th-century heroes of the faith, Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection, whose rule of discipline was a retreat from the heavy burden of monastic rules to a full-time contemplation of the love of God and a radically simplified approach to spiritual disciplines.
The book serves as a practical guide to becoming a disciple fully engaged in a Spirit-led prayer life, one without the formalized prescriptions that promise a greater communion with God but merely rely on an individual's willpower to overcome the power of fleshly desires and distractions.
He devotes chapters to lessons he has learned about corporate prayer, cultivating the presence of God, and interceding for a great awakening. Manny Carlos gets even more practical in his discussions about how to create a culture of prayer and fasting within each local church. He also presents examples of how intercession on behalf of unbelievers became such an essential element of Victory Church's phenomenal growth.
Put simply, if you're a person hungering and thirsting for a deeper and more meaningful prayer life—one that is far more empowered by communion with God and far less dependent upon formalism or rules of discipline to sustain your devotion, then this could be the book for you. You should be warned, however. Though the method is very simple, the cost is very high. It is nothing short of absolute surrender to the love of God and the desire to live continually in his presence.