Why has God not answered my prayers? What should I be praying for? If everything I prayed for came true, would I be ready?
In this spiritual classic, Eberhard Arnold mines the riches of biblical teaching on prayer and the example of Jesus, the Hebrew prophets, and the early Christians to point us back to the prayer that pleases God most – prayer that has the power to transform our lives and our world.
In a new reflective response, much-loved author Richard J. Foster relates Arnold’s words to our contemporary reality.
From Eberhard Arnold’s closing chapter, “Praying for the Kingdom”:
Do we have the faith that through our prayer the status quo can be shattered? Can we believe that at our call Christ will come among us to judge and save? When we ask for the Holy Spirit, are we ready for God to strike us like a burst of flaming lightning, so that at last we experience Pentecost? Do we really believe that God’s kingdom is imminent? Are we capable of believing that through our pleading, this kingdom will break in? Are we able to believe that as a result of our prayer the entire history of the world will be turned topsy-turvy?
Let us come to God in the absolute certainty that Jesus’ words are true: “The kingdom of God has drawn near!” and, “If you have faith, nothing will be impossible for you.” Wonders will take place, mountains will be torn from their place, and the whole situation as it is on earth will be changed. Mighty things will happen when we have faith.
From Richard J. Foster’s reflective response:
Arnold begins with a profoundly basic question about prayer: Why pray? The question is well and good, and instinctively we are looking for the standard answers. Religious obligation perhaps. Or seeking material things. Or desperate personal need. Or even the yearning of the human heart to experience God. These reasons for praying we understand, and even expect
But right here Arnold turns the whole matter on its head and plunges us into the mystery of God’s unfathomable love. The opening paragraph immediately turns us toward this mystery: “God is life, rich and overflowing life. He is love, and he wants to draw all of us into his life and into his love. Time and again he seeks to lift us into the realm where his life rules.”
…So we are drawn into prayer not by obligation or by need or by desire but by divine Love. God seeking. God waiting. God wooing. God pursuing. This emphasis upon the loving heart of God seeking us out is, of course, drawing from a long and deep biblical tradition about prayer.View Table of Contents
This relational view of prayer exposes some of the obstacles Christians experience in prayer, but it also answers an important question that I hear often: Does God really hear us? And it informs the biblical vision that prayer is more than just asking things from God. Instead, prayer is learning to see the world as God sees the world, and to live in it as God lives in the world. Because Christian prayer, at its essence, is the in-breaking Kingdom and Power of God into the kingdoms and powers of this world.
Thank you for sharing just exactly what I have been looking for! I am hopeful that the Holy Spirit will carry out his mandates through me and, if I can find them, others of like mind near me. Jesus is indeed the Victor! It is an insult of the highest order to our conquering Savior to think and act anything otherwise!