I’ve been a Christian for 16 years, and in the church for much longer. Prayer is something that I have yet to master. Sometimes, I feel like I’m just beginning to understand what it is and how to do it.
I’m reading Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God by Timothy Keller throughout Lent, about 7 pages a day. The book starts off with what seems like a literature review of theories and stances on prayer. Something he includes is a comparison to learning language.
I’m an aspiring linguist, although since I graduated grad school, my linguistic knowledge is slowing waning except for what I use with my international/immigrant English students. But this struck a chord with me as Keller paraphrases and quotes Eugene Peterson:
“In the years since Peterson wrote, studies have shown that children’s ability to understand and communicate is profoundly affected by the number of works and the breadth of vocabulary to which they are exposed as infants and toddlers. We speak only to the degree we are spoken to. It is therefore essential to the practice of prayer to recognize what Peterson calls the ‘overwhelming previousness of God’s speech to our prayers.'”
Hmm. Interesting. And it makes sense. How does God speak to us? Through His Word. Basically, in order to develop our prayer life, we should first develop our Bible-reading life.
Reading feels passive to me. That’s why I love nonfiction, because at least in my mind I’m not wasting time by reading for entertainment – I’m reading to learn something. We learn about God by reading His Word, but it’s also good to just read and let it sink in and meditate on it. Then maybe we can know how to pray…. differently? more effectively?
I need to remember that the Bible is not just another book. It is the book.
Scriptures for the week: