Hodder & Stoughton, 2014, £16.99, Hb 321pp,
ISBN 97814444750157. Available as an ebook.
Reviewed by John Martin, CMF Head of Communications
There is a paucity of quality books on prayer. Even good ones rarely strike an adequate balance between the theological, experimental and methodological. Tim Keller has succeeded in striking the needed balance between all three, hence a stand-out work.
Evangelicals often look to Catholic and Orthodox authors for material on prayer. It's one of my beefs that so many seem unaware of the huge and rich body of prayer resources available from our own tradition. Keller garners a huge panoply of Reformed and evangelical wisdom from down the ages. Over 350 references invite the reader to quarry further.
Keller's starting point is the prayers of the Bible. In the Lord's Prayer, he says, the Christian has all the necessary resources for theology and the practice of prayer; he demonstrates this with a succinct commentary on its two subsections and six clauses.
He moves to the practice of prayer, with a master class from the three 'greatest of the older writers on prayer', Augustine, Luther and Calvin. He draws wisdom on the most common problem we all face with prayer – the seeming silence of God. Finally he offers resources for daily prayer, including explanation of how the Anglican divine Thomas Cranmer pioneered daily prayer for lay people. Buy it to read. Buy a second copy for your minister.