Book Review: J I Packer’s Praying the Lord’s Prayer (Crossway)

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Of course during the new year time we see a lot about New Year’s resolutions and most from what I’ve seen this year have to do with reading and memorizing the Word more.  These are crucial to a Christian’s growth.  Another key discipline in the life of a Christian is prayer.  I’ve been flipping through this little gem of a book for a while now, but then decided to sit down and read it.  J I Packer is usually known for his deep theology books like Knowing God (which I also love).  But, this one, though rich in theology, is more pastoral and practical than other ones I’ve read by him. 

He walks through each phrase of the Lord’s prayer which has taught me more ways that I can pray like Jesus, and reminding me of the hope there is in praying the very words of Christ.  My life verse, Colossians 3:16, says to let the words of Christ dwell richly…how much more so in my prayer life?

At the end of each short, read-in-one-sitting, chapter has a list of study questions (perfect to use in a small group setting) and a few other passages of Scripture to broaden your understanding of the subject matter.

In matters of adoption: “Jesus directs us, however, to do it – in other words, to seek access and welcome to God’s presence on the ground that we are children in his family and he looks on us with a father’s love.” (21)

In the matter of sinful nature: “Were we left to ourselves, any praying we did would both start and end with ourselves, for our natural self-centeredness knows no bounds.” (41)

“I cannot sincerely ask for the doing of God’s will without denying myself, for when we get down to the business of everyday living, we regularly find that it is our will rather than his that we want to do, or to see happen.” (58)

On matters of food: “The Christian way is not to deify them (bodies), making health and beauty ends in themselves, as modern pagans do, nor it is to despise them, making scruffiness a virtue, as some ancient pagans once did.  It is rather to accept one’s body as part of God’s good creation, to act as its steward and manager, and gratefully to enjoy it as one does so.  Thus we honor its Maker.  Such enjoyment is in no way unspiritual for Christ’s disciples, for them, it is like their salvation, the Lord’s free gift.” (73)

On the will of God: “Christians look at their lives God-centeredly.  They see God as the one whose action has been the decisive factor shaping their lives, and as the only one who is able to assess what they have achieved.” (96)

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