“One thing have I desired of the Lord, one thing will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord to behold the beauty of the Lord.”- Psalm 27:4
In today’s blog, Timothy Keller discusses St. Augustine’s three remaining principles of prayer.
2. Pray for a happy life. As Augustine previously noted, earthly comforts, rewards, and pleasures produce only fleeting excitement, not enduring happiness. Augustine writes: “We love God, therefore, for what He is in Himself, and [we love] ourselves and our neighbors for His sake.” If God is our greatest love and knowing/pleasing Him our highest pleasure, that, Pastor Keller states, “transforms both what and how we pray for a happy life.”
3. Studying the Lord’s Prayer guides us in the specifics of how to pray. Pastor Keller encourages us to look at all the types of prayer manifest in the Lord’s Prayer- adoration, confession, thanksgiving and supplication (petition). He states we must carefully consider this great model of prayer and be sure our own appeals fit that model.
4. Prayer in dark times. Augustine admitted that, even after following the first three principles of prayer, Christians don’t know what to pray for when enmeshed in difficulties and suffering. Are we to pray for a change of circumstances or for the strength to endure them? Augustine argued that our sufferings are a shield, defending us from any illusion of self-sufficiency. Yet, they also open a way for a prayer life that brings peace in any circumstance.
Today’s question: Which of Augustine’s four principles of prayer resonate most with you? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “Martin Luther’s guidelines for prayer”