Tom's Reviews > Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God

Prayer by Timothy J. Keller
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it was amazing

Keller's goal for this book is to cover both the theology of prayer and the instructional aspects of prayer (how-to's). He succeeds at both to some degree, but the instructional part is the better half of the book.

For your average Christian: This is a great read on prayer, if you're ready for a long haul. It will give you enough of an overview of the concept, and help you to avoid common pitfalls in prayer. I can tell you this: if you follow his instructions on prayer in the latter half of the book, you will enrich your prayer life in ways you didn't know were possible. But it is a marathon, not a sprint.

For pastors: In addition to benefitting as any Christian would, you will find this to be a great resource for you as you teach others about prayer and as you teach others TO pray. I personally disagree with some of Keller's theology, but I still plan on using this book to teach on prayer in the future... poaching a chapter here and there as needed.
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Quotes Tom Liked

Timothy J. Keller
“A minister may fill his pews, his communion roll, the mouths of the public, but what that minister is on his knees in secret before God Almighty, that he is and no more.”
Timothy Keller, Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God

Timothy J. Keller
“A rich, vibrant, consoling, hard-won prayer life is the one good that makes it possible to receive all other kinds of goods rightly and beneficially. He does not see prayer as merely a way to get things from God but as a way to get more of God himself.”
Timothy Keller, Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God

Timothy J. Keller
“Without immersion in God’s words, our prayers may not be merely limited and shallow but also untethered from reality. We may be responding not to the real God but to what we wish God and life to be like. Indeed, if left to themselves our hearts will tend to create a God who doesn’t exist. People from Western cultures want a God who is loving and forgiving but not holy and transcendent. Studies of the spiritual lives of young adults in Western countries reveal that their prayers, therefore, are generally devoid of both repentance and of the joy of being forgiven.130 Without prayer that answers the God of the Bible, we will only be talking to ourselves.”
Timothy Keller, Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God

Timothy J. Keller
“That’s the ground motive of Spirit-directed, Christ-mediated prayer—to simply know him better and enjoy his presence. Consider how different this is from the normal way we use prayer. In our natural state we pray to God to get things. We may believe in God, but our deepest hopes and happiness reside in things as in how successful we are or in our social relationships. We therefore pray mainly when our career or finances are in trouble, or when some relationship or social status is in jeopardy. When life is going smoothly, and our truest heart treasures seem safe, it does not occur to us to pray. Also, ordinarily our prayers are not varied—they consist usually of petitions, occasionally some confession (if we have just done something wrong). Seldom or never do we spend sustained time adoring and praising God. In short, we have no positive, inner desire to pray. We do it only when circumstances force us. Why? We know God is there, but we tend to see him as a means through which we get things to make us happy. For most of us, he has not become our happiness.”
Timothy Keller, Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God

Timothy J. Keller
“prayer is faith become audible.”
Timothy Keller, Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God

Timothy J. Keller
“Forgive Us Our Debts as We Forgive Our Debtors” The fifth petition concerns our relationships, both with God and others. Luther, who for years struggled mightily and personally with the issues of guilt and pardon, gives a clarion call to seek God’s forgiveness every day in prayer: If anyone insists on his own goodness and despises others . . . let him look into himself when this petition confronts him. He will find he is no better than others and that in the presence of God everyone must duck his head and come into the joy of forgiveness only through the low door of humility.210”
Timothy Keller, Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God

Timothy J. Keller
“Prayer is therefore not a strictly private thing. As much as we can, we should pray with others both formally in gathered worship and informally. Why? If the substance of prayer is to continue a conversation with God, and if the purpose of it is to know God better, then this can happen best in community. C. S. Lewis argues that it takes a community of people to get to know an individual person. Reflecting on his own friendships, he observed that some aspects of one of his friend’s personality were brought out only through interaction with a second friend. That meant if he lost the second friend, he lost the part of his first friend that was otherwise invisible. “By myself I am not large enough to call the whole man into activity; I want other lights than my own to show all his facets.”221 If it takes a community to know an ordinary human being, how much more necessary would it be to get to know Jesus alongside others? By praying with friends, you will be able to hear and see facets of Jesus that you have not yet perceived. That is why, Lewis thinks, that the angels in Isaiah 6 are crying, “Holy, Holy, Holy” to one another. Each angel is communicating to all the rest the part of the glory it sees. Knowing the Lord is communal and cumulative, we must pray and praise together. That way “the more we share the Heavenly Bread between us, the more we shall all have.”
Timothy Keller, Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God

Timothy J. Keller
“Do not say, ‘I cannot pray. I am not in the spirit,’” writes Forsyth. “Pray till you are in the spirit.”
Timothy Keller, Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God

Timothy J. Keller
“One of the most striking things John Calvin says about prayer is that it is the main way we receive everything there is for us in Christ: “It remains for us to seek in him, and in prayers to ask of him, what we have learned to be in him.”253 Think about it. We cannot receive Christ and believe on his name (John 1:12–13) except through prayer. Martin Luther wrote that “all of life is repentance” and that is how we grow in grace. But that again is prayer. Our “chief end,” says the Westminster Shorter Catechism, is “to glorify God and enjoy him forever.” All these things are, at their essence, prayer. At the end of time, history will culminate in a great banquet (Rev 19:9), but, as we have seen, we can eat with Jesus now. How? Through prayer. Commentators understand that Jesus’ invitation to “hear his voice” and “open the door” so he can “come in and eat with that person, and they with me” (Rev 3:20) is an invitation to fellowship and communion with him through prayer. Prayer—though it is often draining, even an agony—is in the long term the greatest source of power that is possible.”
Timothy Keller, Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God

Timothy J. Keller
“There’s an old saying that the difference between abstract knowledge and real wisdom is that “wisdom is knowledge with the knower left in.” It is taking the truth into all your relationships. It is to ask, “What does this mean for my relationship to God? to myself? to this or that person or group? to this or that behavior or habit? to my friends, to the culture?”
Timothy Keller, Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God

Timothy J. Keller
“Yet Jesus is not simply a good example. If that were all he was to us, his life would crush us with guilt, since no one could meditate on the Scripture as he does. He is, thank God, infinitely more than that. He is not just an exemplar within Scripture, he is the one to whom all the Scripture points, because the main message of the Bible is salvation by grace through Jesus (Luke 24:27, 44). The Bible is all about him. Moses wrote of him, and Abraham rejoiced to see his day (John 5:46, 8:56). The written Word and its law can be a delight because the incarnate Word came and died for us, securing pardon for our sins and shortcomings before God’s law. You can’t delight in the law of the Lord without understanding Jesus’ whole mission. Without him, the law is nothing but a curse, a condemnation, a witness against us (Gal 3:10–11). He obeyed the law fully for us (2 Cor 5:21), so now it is a delight to us, not an everlasting despair.”
Timothy Keller, Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God

Timothy J. Keller
“Richard Lovelace wrote: It is an item of faith that we are children of God; there is plenty of experience in us against it. The faith that surmounts this evidence and that is able to warm itself at the fire of God’s love, instead of having to steal love and self-acceptance from other sources, is actually the root of holiness. . . . We are not saved by the love we exercise, but by the love we trust.275”
Timothy Keller, Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God


Reading Progress

October 14, 2015 – Started Reading
October 14, 2015 – Shelved
January 26, 2016 – Finished Reading

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