In the school of prayer with Terry Hinks

 

Here are some extracts on the topic of prayer by Terry Hinks from his introduction to Luke’s Gospel in God’s Embrace: Praying with Luke.

 
 
I’ve also included the prayer inspired by his reflections on the disciples’ request in Luke 11:1, ‘Lord, teach us to pray’.
 


I

Prayer as struggle – “It is likely that as we ‘progress in the spiritual life’, or rather think that we do, we again and again need to become beginners asking ‘Lord, teach us to pray.’ …  Again and again we will need to ask the Spirit to stir us from complacency (or despair) and to return us to that persistent determined prayer that Jesus describes in his parables (Luke 11:5-13, Luke 18:1-8), that alertness and strength required for the kingdom life (Luke 21:34-6).”   (p. 25)

II

Prayer as celebration – “Prayer will involve struggle, repentance and lament and will require courage, persistence and humility, but it cannot rest within this sphere alone. It must open out into joyful praise of the one who has done great things, is doing great things here and now and will do great things in the time to come.”   (p. 31)

III

God’s embrace – “We have been trained to analyse, organise, dissect, manipulate and control the reality that we see around us. Yet these tools that are so useful in many areas of life (from scientific research to cake baking) serve us poorly in our relationships with other people, let alone to the divine mystery that created us. Treating everything as an object degrades life. If prayer is the attempt to manipulate and control an object – getting God to do what we want – it will fail. If prayer is a relationship then all kinds of possibilities develop. The aim ceases to be getting God to do something for us; the aim becomes conversation and embrace.”   (p. 35)

IV

A pattern of prayer – “The constant pressure on us is to go for a quick fix in prayer and to fail to recognise the patience and persistence required to wait on God and to listen. Quietening our minds and stilling our bodies is an important part of preparing to pray – that going into your own room and shutting the door that Jesus describes in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6:6). But prayer is never simply down to us. It is not some anxiety-ridden striving after the Invisible, but a conversation with One who knows our needs and our hearts …  Prayer is a meeting of human boldness – the persistence to continue to speak to God whatever we may feel – and God’s grace – the patient loving kindness of God for us all, come what may.”   (p. 38-9)

 


A prayer

(inspired by Luke 11:1-4)

Lord, teach us to pray
with the whole of our being,
      bodies stilled and centred,
      minds focused on your way,
      hearts warmed by your grace.

Lord, teach us to pray
with the whole of your people,
      connecting to your followers
            of every time and place,
      connecting to your Church in all its varied faces,
      connecting to the world with all its joy and agony.

Lord, teach us to pray
in the power of your Spirit,
      as children of one dear God,
      as brothers and sisters in Christ
      as sinners forgiven and forgiving.

Lord, teach us to pray
      to you,
      in you,
      this moment,
      this life,
      this eternity.

 
~ by Terry Hinks,
from God’s Embrace: Praying with Luke, p. 91
 


From the blog
In the school of prayer with Angela Ashwin
In the school of prayer with the Celtic Saints
In the school of prayer with Eddie Askew
 

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