Wednesday, April 08, 2009

If God Already Knows, Why Pray?

It's not often these days that I have a "eureka moment" but recently it happened to me while I was reading a book about prayer. You probably know the feeling; you read something and suddenly something previously obtuse becomes crystal-clear. Now I've read a few books on prayer in my time, and some of them were quite good. But If God Already Knows Why Pray by Douglas Kelly is definitely the one of the best.

It is written in a very readable style, full of excellent illustrations and helpful stories. Dr Kelly follows the structure of the Lord's prayer and answers the question he poses in the book's title. He first deals with "If God already knows" under the headings of "Prayer depends on who God is", "Prayer and the praise of God" and "Prayer and the purposes of God". The next section deals with the "why pray", because "Prayer changes us" and "Prayer changes others". Part 3 then talks about "Our problems and God's solutions", discussing "The challenge to persevere", "Wrestling in prayer" and "When God appears to say no".

The section I found most helpful (and the source of my personal revelation!) discussed the divine initiative in prayer. Dr Kelly explains how
"God has specifically chosen to use the prayers of His saints (which they base on His written word) for His name to be glorified and His will to be done."
I believed this to be true in my head, but this did not energise me when it actually came down to the praying. Dr Kelly goes on to explain how
"effective prayers start in heaven and are sent down to us by God himself"
and after reading this section I really started to understand what this means.
"The risen Christ is interceding for us in heaven (Hebrews 7:24-28). The Spirit is there with Him, because the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit are always together. And that same Spirit 'also helps us in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered' (Romans 8:26).

The Spirit leaves the throne where Jesus is praying and comes down into the believer's heart where he begins to re-echo the intercessions of Jesus. It is as though the Holy Spirit places a mirror inside our hearts and turns it in such a direction that it reflects back to heaven the deepest desires of the interceding Christ."
Eureka! Well, for me at least. If you feel you need some insights to fire up your prayer life, then read this book. Be warned, your prayers may never be the same again.


John said...

Sounds like a very good book.

Elizabeth J. said...

I'll have to look into this book. You might be interested in checking out for free blogger templates.