This book is divided into five parts, each comprising from two to five chapters. Part one is called “Desiring Prayer,” which answers the “why?” question about prayer and digs into its necessity, mapping out the terrain for the rest of the book.
Part two, “Understanding Prayer,” describes the many differing views of prayer from many vantage points including world religions, the non-religious, and various Christian traditions. He then moves to discuss how prayer is our response to God’s Word and share how the Trinity is essential to true prayer.
Part three, “Learning Prayer,” interacts with great theologians from church history (Augustin, Luther, and Calvin), sharing their instruction and methods in prayer. (I was especially helped by Keller’s interaction with Luther’s teaching on meditation on Scripture and the Holy Spirit “preaching to us” in prayer.) Keller then moves on to prescribe modeling our prayers along the Lord’s Prayer before laying out a biblical and balanced grid of what prayer is, what it requires, what it gives, and where it takes us.
Part four, “Deepening Prayer,” dives deeper into meditation and the experiential aspect of prayer, interacting with theologians like John Owen, J.I. Packer, Jonathan Edwards, and C.S. Lewis along gleaning truth and offering critique of medieval and Catholic practices of mystical prayer.
Part five, “Doing Prayer,” practically teaches just that: the place of praise in prayer, the role of the gospel in prayer, and our ability to ask for help in prayer. The last chapter offers a guide for daily prayer, sharing sample devotions and methods to practice.
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