The prayer God longs forPaperback James Emery White
James Emery White thoughtfully takes in turn each phrase of the Lord's Prayer, showing how it develops in us the attitudes that God desires.(more...)
God longs for us to be close to him and yet our pride and desire for independence so often get in the way. How can we develop the attitudes that God desires?
Jesus gave the Lord's Prayer to be the foundation of the disciples' prayer life. James Emery-White believes that it is still the prayer God longs for. It develops in us the attitudes that bring us close to God: intimacy, expectancy, reverence, submission, dependence, honesty and humility.
With sensitivity and realism White tackles some of the difficulties and problems Christians face in prayer. His thoughtful phrase-by-phrase reflection will help restore the Lord's Prayer to the heart of our prayer life - just as Jesus intended.
"For all of us who ... juggle work, home, church and multiple commitments, and resort to snatched moments 'of prayer' through the day, this book will make us stop and reassess our practice of prayer." Margaret Killingray, London Institute for Contemporary Christianity
"It is a powerful book, honest and practical, profound yet easy to read. Buy it, read it - and then pray!" Dave Richards, Rector, St Paul's and St George's Church, Edinburgh
Extent: 128 pages
Publication Date: 16/09/2005
Published by: IVP
Introduction: The Prayer We Long For
1 INTIMATE Our Father
2 EXPECTANT In heaven
3 REVERENT Hallowed be your name
4 SUBMITTED Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven
5 DEPENDENT Give us today our daily bread
6 HONEST Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors
7 HUMBLE And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one
8 OUR STRUGGLE WITH UNANSWERED PRAYER
A Final Word
(Extract from ...) Introduction: The Prayer We Long For
Questions. Our lives are filled with them. And many of them, particularly the ones we ask of God, go unanswered. It’s not that they are unimportant to him; they are terribly important to him. It’s just that we are even more important, and he is waiting for us to ask the right ones. The New Testament is filled with such misdirected requests - "Show us the Father", - "Save us!" and "Who among us is the greatest?" - that Jesus declines to answer, opting instead to reveal more intimate, more significant insight into the character of God.
But one question was answered - immediately, clearly and with care.
"Teach us to pray!" (Luke 11:1)
They’d finally asked the right question.
The breath of spiritual life is prayer. Physically, we can live forty days without food and three days without water, but only seconds without breathing. Spiritually, we can do no better. A life without prayer cannot be spiritually alive, no matter what else may be present. It is, as Evelyn Underhill has written, "breathing the air of eternity". This is how strategic and critical prayer is for anyone who desires to be in a personal relationship with the living God.
And there is a specific prayer God wants to hear and we most need to express. It is not the prayer that makes us feel a certain way or that attempts to gain a particular advantage. It is the prayer that seeks out God and then experiences him. This experience is supernatural and, yes, mystical, but not in the way most would think. When we pray, we open the inner recesses of our life to the stirrings of God. There his transformational energies are released, and Spirit encounters spirit. As Moses maintained, "the LORD our God comes near when we pray to him" (Deuteronomy 4:7 NCV). And he knew. The Bible tells us that "The LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend" (Exodus 33:11).
So prayer is not simply a matter of words but also relationship. This does not make prayer easier but more complex. ...
(Extract from ...) Chapter 5: Dependent - "Give us today our daily bread."
During a trip to Lusaka, Zambia, I met with a young AIDS orphan. She does not have the disease but has been left parentless through its destructive force. The AIDS pandemic has virtually wiped out an entire generation in Africa, leaving the very young and the very old in its wake.
Susanne is in the sixth grade and lives with a distant relative. Her home is a thatched hut; in order to drink she has to walk what we would consider a great distance to draw water from a hole in the ground surrounded by animal feces. She eats corn for almost every meal; it is all their subsistence farming can produce. The clothes she wears today are likely the ones she wore the day before and will wear tomorrow.
We talked through an interpreter about the education she was now receiving, her favourite game - netball - and a bit about where she was living.
When it came time to leave, I told her that I would be praying for her, and she startled me by immediately replying that she would be praying for me. As I drove away through the bush, leaving the village where we had met, I thought about how different our prayers would be.
I would pray for her daily bread. Literally.
I would pray that she would have sanitary drinking water; that she wouldn’t be raped by some man thinking (as many in Zambia do) that sex with a virgin would rid him of the HIV virus. I would pray that she could continue to stay with the family that was raising her, and that she could continue to attend the small school.
And what would she pray for me? Undoubtedly, the same thing. She knows nothing else.
She will pray that I have food to eat, water to drink, health to enjoy; that I will have a bed to lie in and be protected from assault.
The easiest prayer to pray is the emergency prayer, the one that calls out for immediate rescue. It is also the most natural (even those who are not in relationship with God will call on his name in crisis). The hardest prayer is often its opposite: the prayer for mundane, everyday needs. Prayers that are important, but not urgent: this is the meaning of the word Jesus used when instructing us to pray for our daily bread - epiousios - literally the "bread for tomorrow". Jesus spoke these words in a culture in which labourers were usually hired on a daily basis, and basic foods such as bread could not be preserved. The daily dependence for life’s most foundational needs was keenly felt. More than we do today, they understood that getting their daily bread was a matter of prayer.
Which is why today, the blandest line in the Lord’s Prayer may very well be for our daily needs. The greatest miracles, the most incredible blessings, were often tied to daily provision; now they are taken for granted. They only become items of prayer when taken away; then we realize that no other prayer is of greater import. In setting this dynamic of prayer into motion, Jesus wanted us to avoid presumption and maintain a healthy sense of our dependency at all times. Not merely as an emotional repositioning but as a reality; in truth, I don’t have what it takes to survive this day, and God knows it. I need to pray for the most basic needs of my life because I cannot generate them on my own. Yes, I am called to work in whatever way possible to provide for myself and my family; I am to be responsible with what I have been given so that I do not squander that which is brought my way. ...
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