Mystical Prayer vs. Biblical Prayer
- Tuesday, October 29, 2013
When I told my wife I was going to write a blog about the interview she asked, “You’re not going to pick on Mother Teresa, are you? People don’t like it when you attack their favorite nun.”
Well, I hope I’m not attacking her. But other than Jesus, no person’s life is 100% exemplary. We should be able to learn from flawed people’s successes as well as their failures and their good teaching as well as their mistakes. No one should be above a respectful critique. I think, in this case, Mother Teresa expressed a kind of mysticism that is different from what Scripture teaches, records, and models.
A study of the Bible’s teaching about and examples of prayer should shape our prayer lives far more than any other influence.** Our prayers should involve words and silence, speaking and listening, singing and confessing, gratitude and petition. And when curious outsiders ask, we can describe prayer in ways that explain as well as invite them to find out what they’re missing.
Randy Newman has been with the staff of Campus Crusade for Christ since 1980 and currently serves with Faculty Commons, their ministry to university professors. Randy is a Jewish Believer in Jesus and is the former editor of The Messiah-On-Campus Bulletin. He is the author of numerous articles and books including Questioning Evangelism: Engaging People's Hearts the Way Jesus Did and Bringing the Gospel Home: Witnessing to Family Members, Close Friends, and Others Who Know You Well.
* Quoted in Chuck Swindoll, So You Want to Be Like Christ? Eight Essentials to Get You There (Thomas Nelson, 2005), 61-62; and Skye Jethani, With: Reimagining the Way You Relate to God (Thomas Nelson, 2011), 114.
** A great study of Paul’s prayers that deserves close reading is D.A. Carson’s A Call to Spiritual Reformation: Priorities from Paul and His Prayers (Baker, 1992).
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