Where prayer takes us

By Dave Henning / January 8, 2015

Today Timothy Keller concludes his discussion of the twelve touchstones of prayer with the final three touchstones, clustered under the heading “Where Prayer Takes Us”.

10.  Self knowledge: prayer requires and creates honesty and self-knowledge.  Pastor Keller notes that prayer must take us beyond humility into deep honesty with ourselves.  Although honesty in prayer before an all-knowing God would seem to be obvious, often we don’t take the time or effort to be brutally honest with God, as P. T. Forsyth explains in Soul of Prayer:

“Prayer, true prayer, does not allow us to deceive ourselves.  It relaxes the tension of our self-inflation.  It produces a clearness of spiritual vision. . . . It saps our self-deception and its Pharisaism. . . . So by prayer we acquire our true selves.”

11.  Trust- prayer requires and creates restful trust and confident hope.  Pastor Keller asserts that the final thought of every prayer must be for the help we need to thankfully accept from God’s hand whatever He sends in His wisdom.  On the other hand, we’re invited to “specifically, intensely, and repeatedly make our needs known in prayer”- confident they will be heard.  It’s crucial to balance the two attitudes- restful trust and confident hope. We must avoid either extreme.

12.  Surrender- prayer requires and creates surrender of the whole life in love to God.  Before God can grant our prayers without harming us, we must be committed to putting God first and loving/following Him supremely.  As Augustine reminds us, we shouldn’t pray for all we want until we realize that in God we have all we need.

Today’s question: Which of the twelve touchstones of prayer are most meaningful to you?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Meditation concerning meditation”

About the author

Dave Henning

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