The richness of prayer

By Dave Henning / December 5, 2014

Timothy Keller concludes Chapter 2 of Prayer with a detailed discussion of the richness of prayer, specifically citing the rich word pictures written by poet George Herbert (1593-1633) in his “Prayer (I)”.  Pastor Keller considers this poem “one of the greatest descriptions of prayer outside of the Bible.”

Pastor Keller notes that there is a danger in defining prayer, because “a definition seeks to reduce things to the essence.”  George Herbert, in contrast, wanted to explore the richness of prayer.  In today’s blog, we will explore the first four aspects of prayer.

1.  Prayer is a natural human instinct.  Pastor Keller states that the Hebrew word for “Spirit” and “breath” is the same.  Herbert’s phrase “God’s breath in man returning to his birth” indicates that God has placed in us a feeling that we’re not alone in the universe and are not meant to go it alone.

2.  Prayer is the deep rest of soul that we need.  Herbert wrote that prayer is softness and peace, joy, love, and bliss.

3.  Prayer is the source of strength and vitality.  As Herbert described, prayer is “the soul’s bloud (blood).”

4.  Prayer is a nourishing friendship.  As we pray in Jesus’ name and trust in His salvation, we are like a “man well drest (dressed)”, spiritually fit for the presence of our King, Jesus.

Today’s question: Which of the first four aspects of prayer is the most meaningful to you?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Endurance for the journey”

About the author

Dave Henning


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