As Timothy Keller concludes Chapter 15 of Prayer, he poses four questions to help us evaluate our situation with regard to prayer. Pastor Keller asks us to imagine that our soul is in a boat, a boat with both oars and a sail.
1. Are you “sailing”? If your are sailing, you are living the Christian life with the wind at your back. God is real to your heart and you often feel His love. You experience answered prayer. Through Bible study you sense God speaking to you. As you reach out to others, the Holy Spirit works through you.
2. Are you “rowing”? When you are rowing, prayer and Bible reading are more duty than delight. Often God seems distant, and you rarely sense His presence. Few prayers are being answered. Yet God remains in control of your life. Despite inner spiritual dryness, you don’t forsake Bible reading, prayer, or worship. You reach out to others.
3. Are you “drifting?” Here you experience all the conditions of rowing, but you passively let yourself drift. You don’t pray or read because you don’t feel like approaching God. Your behavior becomes self-centered and self-indulgent.
4. Are you “sinking”? At this stage, you truly lose any forward motion in the Christian life. Numbness of heart becomes hardness of heart if you give in to thoughts of self-pity and resentment. You are at risk of abandoning your faith and Christian identity altogether.
Today’s question: Which prayer situation most accurately describes your soul boat? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: the Annotated Bibliography of Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God