Thursday, July 21, 2005

Book Review: Prayer: The Cry For The Kingdom

If you are looking for a concise, quick read on the concept of prayer, Prayer: The Cry For The Kingdom is your book. This repackage of a Stanley Grenz book from the late 80's is a great introduction for a new believer but is also an excellent reminder to the rest of us of what prayer actually is and is not. As the DJ's used to say in the 50's - this is "all killer, no filler." In other words, there is no unnecessary content here to pad the size of the book. Grenz says in 124 pages what others have taken 300+ pages to say.

Grenz' basic thesis is that prayer is more than simply "talking to God" as we so often hear these days. In prayer we "beseech the God of the future with the request that the marks of God's rule (forgiveness, sustenance, deliverance, and the Sprit's fullness) break into our present situation, which is filled with want, need, and insufficiency." He adds, "To pray is to say to God, 'Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.'" Prayer is not about our wants; it is about the in-breaking of God’s kingdom here and now, not as some sort of ethereal future concept. Again quoting Grenz, “in every circumstance our primary goal as we pray should be to discern what it would mean for the kingdom to break into the present.”

Some of the chapter titles (i.e.: How Petitionary Prayer Works, How To Pray According to God’s Will) might make this seem like just another “prayer for dummies” kind of book, but don’t be fooled. This is a thoughtful look at prayer by an intellectual theologian with a pastor’s heart. Highly recommended! YYYY

NOTE: Stanley Grenz died unexpectedly on March 12th this year. See Brian McLaren's blog for an excellent tribute.

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