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I Know Less about Prayer than I Used To

Today I extracted a paragraph from David Alan Black’s blog (I have his blanket permission), just so I could comment on it. He notes:

I often ask myself, How can I write anything about prayer? I’ve still got so much to learn about it!

I am in sympathy with his comment. My wife and I have taught seminars about prayer, and we’ve both written about it as well, both on our blogs and in print. But the more I’ve taught about prayer, the more convinced I’ve become is that the most important thing to do is to unlearn things that I think I already know. Communion with God is not something that can be reduced to science. You won’t have a good prayer life because you follow a formula, however complex and all-encompassing that formula may be.

This doesn’t mean that you never learn anything from others. I’ve learned many things from others about prayer. Yet in most cases, that learning has involved unlearning something else, removing the limits that I have placed on the way God can and will work.

Abraham had a mighty interesting prayer life. He argued with God about Sodom. When asked to sacrifice his son, he didn’t argue with God, and I wonder if he was supposed to have done so. He tried to lie his way through various situations, and God worked with him despite that. Abraham, of course, had no concise printed guides to how to pray. Amazing how well that worked.

I’ll keep teaching about prayer. I may even write more about it. But at the same time, I hope what we all do is clear away all the barriers we have to just getting in touch with God.

I look forward to seeing Dave’s chapter on prayer. I know the furnace in which it is being forged, and I expect the Lord to do great things through Dave’s pen (and keyboard).

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