Chapter 3, “The Mystery of Prayer” pp. 151-217
Christians are called by the Lord to be people of prayer. Yet we fail in prayer. Maybe we need to try harder, maybe we need special empowerment. Yet we fall short over and over again. Kleinig’s answer to this frustration follows. “I now no longer regard prayer as an obligation, a duty that I must fulfill, but as something that is given to me, something that I receive from the triune God. The main thing in prayer is a trustful, receptive heart that takes in what God has to offer” (pp. 152-153). Kleinig compares us to friends of an ancient king. We know the plans and will of God through the Bible. In prayer, we ask the Lord to work according to his will in the situations we think he should change (p. 155). Why do we fail in prayer? “Christ lets us fail when we pray by ourselves so that we rely on His intercession for us” (p. 157). “Jesus taught that God-pleasing prayer depended entirely on Him rather than the person at prayer” (p. 162). How do we identify this God-pleasing prayer? Kleinig tells us it is prompted yb the words Jesus gave us. As we pray, we pray what God has already spoken (p. 173). We learn to pray as we attend church regularly and practice in communal prayer, which was historically the normal way to pray (p. 179). As we pray together we realize the depth of our dependence on Jesus (p. 182). We are also able to turn our needs over to God, knowing He is the one who gives all the gifts (p. 200).