How are we to understand petitionary prayer? This is a key question for any thoughtful believer who desires to take both the Bible and experience seriously. Some believe God answers any prayer as long as the one praying has enough faith and/or persistence. Others conclude from experience that prayer is really for our benefit and has no impact on God's actions. According to David Crump, both views are extreme and potentially harmful.
While books that deal with prayer from a devotional or experiential perspective have their value, Knocking on Heaven's Door takes a different approach. Crump carefully studies every New Testament passage that has to do with petitionary prayer and draws conclusions that are both theological and pastoral to help us understand the great mystery of prayer.
David Crump (Ph.D., University of Aberdeen) is professor of religion and theology at Calvin College. He is the author of Jesus the Intercessor: Prayer and Christology in Luke-Acts and Feeling Like God: A Spiritual Journey to Emotional Wholeness.
Scripture is filled with examples of prayer and supplication. Many of these
prayers teach us about God and our relationship to Him, and can be rich
sources of sound theological teaching. Crump, professor of religion and
philosophy at Calvin College and author of Jesus the Intercessor, brings
together a series of insightful and deeply spiritual thoughts on some of the
major petitionary prayers in the Bible, which he describes as "asking for an
audience with the cosmic king, and then making our requests clearly known." He
expresses some concern that incorrect teaching on petitionary prayer can lead
to disappointment and a consequent loss of faith, and sees the solution in a
rational and scripturally sound approach to understanding the prayer
relationship between God and humanity. Crump carefully studies several of
Jesus' parables, the Lord's Prayer and the Pauline writings, among others, as
they explain and clarify God's intent in urging his followers to pray.
Crump's exacting attention to the original languages and a diversity of
scholarship, along with his clear writing style, provide a rich and rewarding
study of petitionary prayer. Academics and general readers alike will find
much to appreciate. (July) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.