Tim Keller just released his newest book titled Prayer. I’ve read a few excerpts and reviews online, and think Keller’s book will be genuinely helpful.
I’ve read several other books on prayer for personal enrichment and pastoral ministry, and so far two books have stood out as the most insightful and nourishing.
- Prayer and The Knowledge of God by Graeme Goldsworthy: Goldsworthy examines prayer through a biblical-theological approach and grounds all of his discussion in particular texts of Scripture. One of the most insightful aspects of this book is how Goldsworthy maps out the progress of prayer from Genesis to Revelation. Like always, Goldsworthy maintains a pastoral tone while writing with a scholars pen.
- A Praying Life by Paul MIller: Miller’s book is refreshing for several reasons. First, each chapter is written in a devotional tone that is grounded in deep theological reflection. Miller also get’s to the heart of prayer, and gets to the heart of the issues that distract us from prayer.
What intrigued me about Keller’s book was his endorsement of “radically biblical mysticism”, what John Owen and Jonathan Edwards – or what John Murray called an “intelligent mysticism.” Here is what Keller said in an interview with my friend Matt Smethurst at The Gospel Coalition.
Biblical meditation means, first, to think out your theology. (That means having it clearly in your mind. Know what you believe.) Second, it means to work in your theology. (That means self-communion, talking to yourself. For example, “Why are you cast down, O my soul?” It is asking yourself, “How would I be different if I took this theological truth seriously? How would it change my attitudes and actions if I really believed this from the bottom of my heart?”) Third, it means to pray up your theology. (That means turning your theology into prayer, letting it trigger adoration, confession, and supplication.) Do those things, and your theology will intersect with your experience.
I look forward to learning from Keller on this point. What about you? What books on prayer have been most helpful for your spiritual formation?