Willard on Prayer image

Willard on Prayer

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Dallas Willard, in The Divine Conspiracy:

Prayer, like all of the practices into which Jesus leads by word and example, will be self-validating to all who will simply pray as he says and not give up. It is much harder to learn if we succumb to the temptation to engage in “heroic” efforts in prayer. This is important. Heroism, generally, is totally out of place in the spiritual life, until we grow to the point at which it would never be thought of as heroism anyway.

There are, of course, people who pray heroically, and they are to be respected for what God has called them to. One thinks of people like Rees Howells or John “Praying” Hyde. But that is a special calling and is for very few of us. To look to this calling as the ideal for our prayer life is only to assume a burden of uncalled-for guilt, and, quite surely, it is to choose an approach that will lead to abandoning prayer as a realistic and pervasive aspect of life in the kingdom. There will be heroic periods as they may be called for, but with no intention to be heroic. Always, we are simply children walking and talking with our Father at hand ...

Accordingly, I believe the most adequate description of prayer is simply, “Talking to God about what we are doing together.” That immediately focuses the activity where we are but at the same time drives the egotism out of it. Requests will naturally be made in the course of this conversational walk. Prayer is a matter of explicitly sharing with God my concerns about what he too is concerned about in my life. And of course he is concerned about my concerns and, in particular, that my concerns should coincide with his. This is our walk together. Out of it I pray.

 

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