Four More Quotations on Prayer

CBR001323Last week, I shared four quotations on prayer from my message “Making Space for Prayer.” Here are four more quotations from my message, “Praying Like a Master,” which is the second  part of our series “The Art of Prayer” at Eastbrook Church.

“The Lord’s prayer is the essence of prayer. The essence and limit of all the disciples’ praying may be found in it.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Discipleship, Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works, vol. 4 (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2001), 155.

“The major preoccupation of children who come into their Father’s presence in prayer is not that we may receive what we need but that He may receive what He deserves – which is honor to His name, the spread of His kingdom, the doing of His will.” – John R. W. Stott, Sermon: “Growth in the Prayer Life,” 20 August 1989.

“All of the strength that comes in prayer comes from the goodness of God, for he is the goodness of everything.” – Julian of Norwich in Devotional Classics, revised edition, edited by Richard J. Foster and James Bryan Smith (San Francisco, CA: Harper, 2005), 77.

“Christ hath put it [the power of prayer] into the hands of men, and the prayers of men have saved cities and kingdom from ruin; prayer hath raised dead men to life, hath stopped the violence of fire, shut the mouths of wild beasts, altered the course of nature, caused rain in Egypt and drought in the sea. Prayer rules over all gods; it arrests the sun in its course and stays the chariot wheels of the moon; it reconciles our suffering and weak faculties with the violence of torment and the violence of persecution; it pleases God and supplies all our need.” – Jeremy Taylor, The Rules and Exercises of Holy Living, quoted in Ronald Dunn, Don’t Just Stand There, Pray Something (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1992), 113.

Four Quotations on Prayer

CBR001323This past weekend in my message “Making Space for Prayer,” the first part of our series “The Art of Prayer” at Eastbrook Church, I shared four quotations on prayer that many people asked me about later. Here they are for your edification.

“The truth is that we only learn to pray all the time everywhere after we have set about praying some of the time somewhere.” – Richard Foster, Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home (San Francisco: Harper, 1992), 74.

“One of the main reasons so many of God’s children don’t have a significant life of prayer is not so much that we don’t want to, but that we don’t plan to. . . . We get up day after day and realize that significant times of prayer should be a part of our life, but nothing’s ever ready. . . . And we all know that the opposite of planning is not a wonderful flow of deep, spontaneous experiences in prayer. The opposite of planning is the rut.” – John Piper, Desiring God (Portland, OR: Multnomah, 1986), 150-1.

“Work, work from early till late. In fact, I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.” – Martin Luther, quoted in J. Oswald Sanders, Spiritual Leadership (Chicago: Moody Press, 1994), 86.

“One thing I know for sure about prayer these days is that we do not know how to pray. It is only the young in Christ who think they know how to pray; the rest of us know we are just beginners. So let’s try to begin together, which is really all we can do.” – Ruth Haley Barton, “Prayer,” in Sacred Rhythms (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2006), 63.

Poet Divine: Gerard Manley Hopkins

GerardManleyHopkinsToday is the birthday of Gerard Manley Hopkins, one of the most beloved Christian poets of all time and the poet whose work has spoken to me most personally. Hopkins was a Victorian Era poet, educated at Balliol College, Oxford, and influenced by the Oxford Movement led by John Henry Newman, John Keble, and Edward Pusey. This movement, sometimes known as Tractarianism because of the tracts written by the leaders, was focused on a renewal of the church through recovery of historic thought and practice. Hopkins eventually converted to Roman Catholicism, becoming a priest and a university professor.

Hopkins’ poetry is unique because of his distinct approach to rhythm (‘sprung rhythm‘) and sense of description linked to deeper realities (‘inscape’ and ‘instress’), the latter of which partially reflects Hopkins’ view of God’s presence in human realities reaching its zenith in the sacramental presence of Christ in the Lord’s Supper. He died relatively early and his poetry never became widely known until much later thanks to the tireless efforts of his good friend, the Poet Laureate Robert Bridges.

Here are two of his most well-known poems, “God’s Grandeur,” “Pied Beauty,” and “Thou art indeed just, Lord, if I contend with Thee”:Read More »

The Beloved and Doomsayers

brennanWhile having a conversation today with a colleague, he shared these marvelous words from Brennan Manning with me. In the midst of our current angst-ridden ethos, I found Manning’s words particularly poignant.

Certainly this is not the only answer to how we address the apparent chaos of these days and times, but it is still a vitally important response that keeps us abiding in Christ and centered on God’s reign.

As we listen to the heartbeat of the Rabbi, we will hear words of reassurance: “I’ve told you all this beforehand. Shh! Be still. I am here. All is well.” In place of end-time agitation and thoughts of doom, Jesus tells us to be alert and watchful. We are to avoid the doomsayer and the talk-show crank when they conduct their solemn televised meeting in the green room of the apocalypse. We are to act justly, to love tenderly, and to walk humbly with our God. We are to claim our belovedness each day and live as servants in the awareness of present risenness. We pay no heed to the quacks and self-proclaimed seers who manipulate the loyalty of others for their self-serving purposes.

[Excerpt from Abba’s Child in the collection Dear Abba: Morning and Evening Prayer.]

Solzhenitsyn on Life, Death, and Humanism

83678-004-68442A7BI came across this stunning paragraph from Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn‘s 1978 commencement address to Harvard University when re-reading Stanley Hauerwas‘ book A Community of Character the other day. As I was working on my message from this past weekend at Eastbrook, I found Solzhenitsyn’s words a helpful encouragement for the right direction I was going.

If humanism were right in declaring that man is born to be happy, he would not be born to die. Since his body is doomed to die, his task on earth evidently must be of a more spiritual nature. It cannot be unrestrained enjoyment of everyday life. It cannot be the search for the best ways to obtain material goods and then cheerfully get the most out of them. It has to be the fulfillment of a permanent, earnest duty so that one’s life journey may become an experience of a moral growth, so that one may leave life a better human being than one started it.