Tag Archives: prayer

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.

Augustine

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.

Andrew Murray

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.

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Telford Work on Christian Resilience

The Christian thing to do when things seem askew is not to reject the God of Israel as king of the universe or set ourselves against him, as skeptics do. It is not to retreat into wishful thinking, selective memory, forced biblical interpretation, or revised theology to construct more palatable positions, as some liberals do. It is not to dismiss the problem stoically or fatalistically under the guise of “faith,” as some conservatives do. It is not to turn away in bitterness or pout and wish that things were better. It is to pray.

from Ain’t too Proud to Beg, (Eerdmans, 2007), 25.

 

Karl Barth’s prayer for theologians

Lead us not into temptation — into the temptation of an objectivistic consideration of God’s secondary and primary objectivity; a disinterested non-obedient consideration which holds back in a place which it thinks secure. Lead us not into the temptation of the false opinion that Thou art an object like other objects which we can undertake to know or not just as we wish, which we are free to know in this way, or even in that. Lead us not into the temptation of wanting to know Thee in Thy objectivity as if we were spectators, as if we could know, speak and hear about Thee in the slightest degree without at once taking part, without at once making that correspondence actual, without at once beginning with obedience.

from Church Dogmatics 2/1, § 25, sect. 1

Austin Farrer on petitionary prayer

It is difficult to keep grace, not to get it, and there is always more. There are other things more genuinely difficult in prayer; for sometimes we are deeply concerned to have what is not ready set out for us to carry away, such as health in sickness, success in an undertaking; and here it is a matter of discovering what God has given us to carry off: we begin with what we want, but in praying, and not perhaps the first time, discover what God has designed to give. And, in the end, this is never worse, for through all his gifts rightly taken, he gives himself at last.

from The Brink of Mystery, (SPCK, 1967), 170.

George Lindbeck on religion

Religion cannot be pictured in the cognitivist (and voluntarist) manner as primarily a matter of deliberately choosing to believe or follow explicitly known propositions or directives. Rather, to become religious – is to interiorize a set of skills by practice and training. One learns how to feel, act, and think in conformity with a religious tradition that is, in its inner structure, far richer and more subtle than can be explicitly articulated. The primary knowledge is not about the religion, nor that the religion teaches such and such, but rather how to be religious in such and such ways. Sometimes explicitly formulated statements of the beliefs or behavioral norms of a religion may be helpful in the learning process, but by no means always. Ritual, prayer, and example are normally much more important.

George Lindbeck, The Nature of Doctrine, (The Westminster Press, 1984), 35.