As Timothy Keller continues Chapter 4 of Prayer, he states that we get our vocabulary for prayer from the Bible. He adds that this has parallels in the dynamic of human speech development.
Because we learned language so early in life, we have no recall of the process. Before we spoke, we all were spoken to. Thus all speech is answering speech. Furthermore, our breadth of vocabulary is directly affected by what we were exposed to as infants and toddlers.
It is essential to the practice of prayer, Pastor Keller states, that we recognize what Eugene Peterson calls the “overwhelming previousness of God’s speech in our prayers.” On a practical level, this means that our prayers should be based on immersion in God’s Word. We need to study, reflect, and ponder the Scriptures until an answering response formulates in our hearts and minds.
Eugene Peterson (Answering God), writing about the prayers of writers and figures in the Bible, concludes that they were:
“prayed by people who understood that God, not their feelings, was the center. . . . Human experiences might provoke the prayers, but they do not condition them. . . . It is not simply a belief in God that conditions these prayers . . . but a doctrine of God.”
Today’s question: What passages of Scripture have deepened your understanding of prayer? Please share.
Coming Monday: the Christmas Short Meditation,, “For unto us a child is born”
Tomorrow’s blog: “Praying with understanding”