In a previous post, I mentioned that I bought Timothy Keller’s book on prayer. I believe that prayer is the same for the Christian life, as oxygen is needed for breathing. Without it, we choke, gasp and die. Therefore I am always on the lookout for books that will make me think, and contribute towards a healthy prayer-life.
Keller’s book is one such book.Though he primarily writes from a Reformed position and uses many examples from Reformed history; he also draws from a deeper well of experience and is inclusive of non reformed writers also. I am halfway through this book and I find there is a tension of wanting to read more – yet also needing to stop and pause and mediate on what he has written. It’s a book that is not meant to be read; rather its a book that is meant to be lived. It’s my prayerful intention to blog through his book on a weekly basis, chapter by chapter.
Keller says that the aim of his book is to show that prayer is both encounter and communication with God. And uses these two concepts as tools for defining and deepening our prayer lives. He claims that we must know the awe of praising his glory, the intimacy of finding his grace and the struggle of asking his help, all of which, can lead us to know the spiritual reality of his presence. Keller argues therefore that prayer is awe and intimacy, struggle and reality. p 5.
Kellor is refreshingly honest about his own prayerlessness. He speaks of how a personal crisis drove him to his knees to take prayer seriously. Though he had already been involved in long term ministry. He now believes his statements previously noted, should be the norm and not the exception of Christian experience. p 17.
In his conclusion of chapter one. he notes how Martin Lloyd Jones, never wrote on prayer as he never felt adequate to do so. Keller likewise believes that none of the ancient writers on prayer ever felt adequate either. To express his own feeling on the subject of writing about prayer, he quotes P.T Forsyth
It is a difficult and even formidable thing to write on prayer, and one fears to touch the Ark….But perhaps also the effort…may be graciously regarded by Him who ever liveth to make intercession as itself a prayer to know better how to pray. p 18.
Keller concludes his chapter with the words, “We must learn to pray. We have to.