Wednesday, March 17, 2010

"To want what He wants"

Almost twenty years ago I read Ben Patterson's Waiting: Finding Hope When God Seems Silent. It had a profound effect on my attitude about "the problem of pain." As a result it is one of those books I keep on hand to give away. Today Kevin DeYoung recommends a couple of books Patterson has written about prayer, including God's Prayer Book: The Power and Pleasure of Praying the Psalms from which he provides this quotation:
Prayer is more than a tool for self-expression, a means to get God to give us what we want. It is a means he uses to give us what he wants, and to teach us to want what he wants. Holy Scripture in general, and the Psalms in particular, teach us who God is and what he wants to give.

When the members of his synagogue complained that the words of the liturgy did not express what they felt, Abraham Heschel, the great philosopher of religion, replied wisely and very biblically. He told them that the liturgy wasn’t supposed to express what they felt; they were supposed to feel what the liturgy expressed. To be taught by the Bible to pray is to learn to want and feel what the Bible expresses—to say what it means and mean what it says. God’s Prayer Book, 7
On the basis of that [and previous experience], another Patterson book I will definitely read.

Ben Patterson on Prayer – Kevin DeYoung