Assertiveness and submissiveness

By Dave Henning / January 23, 2015

“I tell you, though, he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence he will rise up and give him what he needs.”- Luke 11:8

In Chapter 14 of Prayer, Timothy Keller states that there is a necessary balance between the two purposes of petitionary prayer:

1.  to put the world right (“Thy kingdom come”)

2.  to align our hearts with God (“Thy will be done”)

If either of these purposes of prayer should gain the upper hand, Pastor Keller asserts, our supplications will become (a) too shrill and frantic or (b) too passive and defeatist.  We must make our desires know to God, yet rest in His wisdom.

The first purpose of petitionary prayer is external.  God affects the circumstances of history through our petitions.  In Luke 11:8 Jesus says that we’re to pray with “shameless audacity” (impudence).  We are to spread our concerns before God assertively and confidently.

The second purpose of petitionary prayer, however, is internal.  As our petitions enable us to give up control, we can rest and trust in God to care for our needs.  So, at the same time, we pray not only with shameless assertiveness but also with a restful submissiveness.

Today’s question: Following your vocation loss, how difficult has it been to pray with shameless assertiveness, yet restful submissiveness?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “The Great Silence”



About the author

Dave Henning

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