The Christology of Prayer
He is our mouth by which we speak to the Father; our eye by which we see the Father; our right hand by which we offer ourselves to the Father. Save by his intercession neither we nor any saints have any intercourse with God.
Ambrose, On Isaac or the Soul, 8.75
It is one Savior of His Body, our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who both prays for us, and prays in us, and is prayed to by us. He prays for us, as our Priest; He prays in us, as our Head; He is prayed to by us, as our God. Let us therefore recognize in Him our words, and His words in us.
Because He prays, we pray too. … We do this because we are partakers of His life: ‘Christ is our life;’ ‘No longer I, but Christ liveth in me.’ The life in Him and in us is identical, one and the same. His life in us is an ever-praying life. When it descends and takes possession of us, it does not lose its character; in us too it is the ever-praying life—a life that without ceasing asks and receives from God. And this not as if there were two separate currents of prayer rising upwards, one from Him, and one from His people. No, but the substantial life-union is also prayer-union: what He prays passes through us, what we pray passes through Him. He is the angel with the golden censer: ‘UNTO HIM there was given much incense,’ the secret of acceptable prayer, ‘that He should add it unto the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar.’ We live, we abide in Him, the Interceding One.
Let us not forget this—and Luther was right when he said it—it is Jesus Christ who prays, and we join in his intercession. It is he whom God hears, and his prayer is heard since the beginning of the world, from eternity to eternity.
Karl Barth, Prayer, 51
If he takes us with him in his prayer, if we are privileged to pray along with him, if he lets us accompany him on his way to God and teaches us to pray, then we are free from the agony of prayerlessness. … Only in Jesus Christ are we able to pray, and with him we also know that we shall be heard.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Psalms: The Prayer Book of the Bible, ch. 1
Prayer is God’s communion with God.
It is God who prays. Not just God who answers prayer but God who prays in us in the first place. In prayer we become the locus of the divine dialogue between Father and Son.
Herbert McCabe, “Praying as We Ought” in God Still Matters, 217; and “Prayer,” in God Matters, 221
All Christian prayer is first the prayer of Jesus Christ, then the prayer of the community, and last of all our own individual prayer.
Deborah Hunsinger, Pray without Ceasing (2006), 15.
So, for the Christian, to pray—before all else—is to let Jesus’ prayer happen in you. … That, in a nutshell, is prayer—letting Jesus pray in you.
Rowan Williams, “Prayer” in Being Christian (2014), 62-3.
the real agent in all true worship is Jesus Christ. He is our great high priest and ascended Lord, the one true worshipper who unites us to himself by the Spirit in an act of memory and in a life of communion, as he lifts us up by word and sacrament into the very triune life of God.
James Torrance, Worship, Community and the Triune God of Grace (1996), 17.