Desert Wisdom: Prayer as ‘Practiced’

If you’ve been reading Oboedire for a while, you’ve noted my reference to “sapiential theology”—theology which includes both belief and practice, set in the context of our larger search for God.

Before we leave Bunge’s introduction, we have been brought to a fresh consideration of it through his conviction that a truly Christian perspective on prayer can come only as it can “point out a ‘way’–rooted in Scripture and the original tradition–that enables a Christian to ‘practice’ his faith in a manner that is consistent with the contents of the faith” (p. 10).

We must linger over this, lest we begin our extended journey viewing it as essentially cognitive and/or intellectual.  We will surely find much to think about regarding prayer as we look at our early Christian sisters and brothers.  But we must not forget—nor would they be happy with us if we do—that prayer is a life to be lived, more than it is a doctrine to be studied.

In fact, if we don’t get ourselves (body, mind, and spirit) “on board” with this conviction, we will likely miss the lesson that the early Christians have to teach us.

Bunge continues, “Faith ‘evaporates’ when it is no longer practiced—in a way that accords with its essence” (p. 11).

We step onto the path of patristic praying as those who intend to put what we learn into practice.

About Steve Harper

Retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 42 books. Also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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