“The Bible does not present an art of prayer; it presents the God of prayer.”- Edmund Clowney, “A Biblical Theology”
Timothy Keller concludes Chapter 4 of Prayer by emphasizing that God must be the starting point of prayer. Otherwise, our own perceived emotional needs drive our prayers, becoming our sole focus. We should, Pastor Keller adds, “do everything possible to behold our God as he is, and prayer will follow.” Our prayer will be shaped and determined according, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to how clearly we grasp who God is.
If we are not immersed in God’s words, our prayers may not only be limited and shallow, but they may also be untethered from reality. We may respond to what we wish God and our life to be like. As Eugene Peterson bluntly states, unless our prayer answers the God of the Bible, we only will be talking to ourselves:
“Left to ourselves, we will pray to some god who speaks what we like hearing, or to the part of God we manage to understand. But what is critical is that we speak to the God who speaks to us, and to everything that he speaks to us. . . . The first is a lot more fun, the second is a lot more important. What is essential in prayer is not that we learn to express ourselves, but that we learn to answer God.”
When we remember who we are in Christ, we’ll find the heart to pray.
Today’s question: How would you respond to Eugene Peterson’s comments on prayer? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: the Christmas Short Meditation, “For unto us a child is born”