In Chapter 2 of Prayer Timothy Keller focuses on the hardness (difficulty) and the centrality of prayer. He cites The Still Hour, a classic book on prayer by nineteenth-century American theologian Austin Phelps. Phelps began with the premise that “a consciousness of the absence of God is one of the standing incidents of religious life.”
Pastor Keller emphasizes that the first- and crucial- lesson we learn in attempting to pray is our spiritual emptiness. Although this realization is disorienting, it is necessary if we are to have fellowship with God. Yet, as we endure and learn to pray in a disciplined way, we can overcome our initial feelings of God’s absence. The author describes this process:
” . . . the vivid reorientation of the mind, and he overall sense of God on the heart, comes more frequently and sometimes in startling ways- interspersed with times of struggle and even absence.”
Pastor Keller notes that the practice of prayer is prevalent throughout the Bible and is an extension of God’s greatness and glory in our lives. When we fail to pray, he asserts, we fail to treat God as God. A regular, faithful, devoted, and fervent prayer life is expected of all Christians. Pastor Keller concludes:
“Everywhere God is, prayer is. Since God is everywhere and infinitely great, prayer must be all-pervasive in our lives.”
Today’s question: What has enriched your prayer life following your vocation loss? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “The richness of prayer”