Friday, July 11, 2014

Bonhoffer, 1937. Chapter 15, "The Hiddenness of Prayer"

Chapter 15, “The Hiddenness of Prayer”

In chapter 15 Bonhoeffer discusses Jesus’ teaching on prayer from Matthew 6:5-8. He considers Jesus’ act of teaching his disciples to pray as indicating that prayer is not a natural activity. We can pray and not find God’s blessing. Christians pray to the Father through the mediation of the Son. This is how we know our prayers are heard and answered.

How do we go to pray in secret? Bonhoeffer says (Loc. 2292) that we need to hide our prayers in such a way that we don’t pray from our will but from God’s will. We “do this by letting Christ alone reign in our hearts, by surrendering our wills completely to him, by living in fellowship with Jesus and by following him.” This standard, of course, bases the efficacy of prayer solely on our level of discipleship.

Bonhoeffer next reviews the Lord’s Prayer as “the way Christians must pray” (Loc. 3307, emphasis his). In his commentary Bonhoeffer does picture prayer as expressing dependence on God for all we need, with our central concern being God’s holiness.

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