Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Packer: The Seven Activities of Prayer

My wife and I are currently reading a short little book by J. I. Packer on Praying the Lord's Prayer. (It's from his larger book, Growing in Christ, intended to catechize believers by going through the Lord's Prayer, the Ten Commandments, and the Apostle's Creed.)

Here's a helpful, basic overview on the elements of prayer:
As analysis of light requires reference to the seven colors of the spectrum that make it up, so analysis of the Lord’s Prayer requires reference to a spectrum of seven distinct activities:
  • approaching God in adoration and trust;
  • acknowledging his work and his worth, in praise and worship;
  • admitting sin, and seeking pardon;
  • asking that needs be met, for ourselves and others;
  • arguing with God for blessing, as wrestling Jacob did in Genesis 32 (God loves to be argued with);
  • accepting from God one’s own situation as he has shaped it;
  • and adhering to God in faithfulness through thick and thin.
These seven activities together constitute biblical prayer, and the Lord’s Prayer embodies them all.