Part Three of Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God is entitled “Learning Prayer”. Timothy Keller states that the rest of his book will address the practical questions regarding prayer. In Chapter 6 (“Letters on Prayer”), the author turns to three of the greatest teachers (in his opinion) in the history of the Christian church- St. Augustine, Martin Luther, and John Calvin.
St. Augustine wrote a brief, practical essay on prayer in response to a letter from a Roman noblewoman, Anicia Faltonia Proba (died AD 432), who was afraid she wasn’t praying as she should. Augustine described four principles of prayer. The first is discussed today.
1. Before you know what to pray for and how to pray for it, you must become a particular type of person. No matter how wonderful or bounteous our earthly circumstances become, they never can substitute for the lasting peace, happiness, and consolation to be found in Christ. If we fail to recognize that our heart’s loves are “disordered” and the distortion that disorder brings to our lives, our prayers will be part of the problem rather than an agent of our healing.
When our prayers are part of the problem, Pastor Keller notes, we’ll be more upset and anxious than we were before. He refers to that as “worrying in God’s direction.”
Today’s question: Do your prayers reflect the lasting peace, happiness, and consolation found in Christ, or are they “worrying in God’s direction”? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “Prayer in dark times”