When Worship becomes Formative

There is a lot of chatter today about the formative dimension of church worship. One can be forgiven for thinking that if we would just get our worship right we’d all be formed into model Christians. My observation is that if gathered worship is formative then the best liturgies should produce the best Christians, and [Read More...]

Tim Keller’s Rules for Prayer

Most of the great theologians of the church have addressed the topic of prayer, and it is one of the highlights of Tim Keller’s book on prayer (Prayer) to sketch what Augustine, Luther and Calvin said about prayer — each expressing a pastoral theology of prayer in a letter to someone. Luther, for instance, said [Read More...]

Unanswered Prayer (John Frye)

This post is by John Frye. What John is talking about in this first paragraph was a long-time coming and I’m grateful to pastor after pastor who has helped me “get it.” Thanks John. I have often felt in Scot McKnight’s writings that he has a genuine pastor’s heart. This is not to detract from [Read More...]

What does it mean to “Encounter” God?

Tim Keller, as we have noted in an earlier post, sees prayer as a conversation, but this conversation has a particular shape: God speaks in the Word (the Bible) and we respond in learning to communicate with God in light of that word-y revelation. Thus, Timothy Ward has shown that the words of God given [Read More...]

A Pastor and Energizing Prayer (John Frye)

By John Frye: A charming mechanical bunny beating a bass drum crosses our TV screen. Known affectionately as the “energizer bunny,” it is hawking long-lasting batteries that have more energy than the competitors. What gives long-lasting energy to prayer? Scot McKnight makes this observation: “As the Son of the Father, Jesus shows the disciples how [Read More...]

Spiritual Disciplines: What should we expect?

Ah, those spiritual disciplines. What are they? What do they accomplish? Which ones are most important? What are we to expect from the spiritual disciplines? Barry Jones just might capture the whole picture in these words from his book Dwell: Life with God for the World, and I have reformatted these into “teaching points” (pp. 102-103): Whether [Read More...]

Prayer as Word-based Conversation

Dallas Willard taught us that our relationship with God is interactive and that prayer was a genuine conversation with God. This can be seen in most of his books but Hearing God is perhaps the best example. (By the way, Willard also defined the kingdom of God as this “interactive relationship” and this is a [Read More...]

What is Prayer? Tim Keller

Two features of prayer rise to the surface in any discussion about prayer: that people of all parts of the world and of all times pray, and that prayer practices shift from one group to another. Those practices reveal, often enough, what each thinks prayer is. But notice how people pray in different ways, from [Read More...]

Lord, we pray

Lord, We pray that your grace may always precede and follow us, That we may continually be given to good works; Through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen. From BCP [Read more...]

Tim Keller on Prayer

Many, perhaps most, of us have a favorite book on prayer. Some would appeal to Augustine’s Confessions, others to Gregory of Nyssa or St Bonaventure or Teresa of Avila or to Luther or Calvin, or from our modern times Andrew Murray or A.W. Tozer or a manual like that of Donald Bloesch. What should be in [Read More...]