The child asks of the Father whom he knows. Thus the essence of Christian prayer is not general adoration but definite concrete petition. The right way to approach God is to stretch out our hands and ask of One who we know has the heart of a Father.
Famous Quotes from Dietrich Bonhoeffer
True prayer is done in secret but this does not rule out the fellowship of prayer altogether however clearly we may be aware of its dangers. In the last resort it is immaterial whether we pray in the open street or in the secrecy of our chambers whether briefly or lenghtily in the Litany of the Church or with the sigh of one who knows not what he should pray for. True prayer does not depend either on the individual or the whole body of the faithful but solely upon the knowledge that our Heavenly Father knows our needs.
Why is it that it is often easier for us to confess our sins to God than to a brother God is holy and sinless He is a just judge of evil and the enemy of all disobedience. But a brother is sinful as we are. He knows from his own experience the dark night of secret sin. Why should we not find it easier to go to a brother than to the holy God But if we do we must ask ourselves whether we have not often been deceiving ourselves with our confession of sin to God whether we have not rather been confessing our sins to ourselves and also granting ourselves absolution...Who can give us the certainty that in the confession and the forgiveness of our sins we are not dealing with ourselves but with the living God God gives us this certainty through our brother. Our brother breaks the circle of self-deception. A man who confesses his sins in the presence of a brother knows that he is no longer alone with himself he experiences the presence of God in the reality of the other person.
A Christian fellowship lives and exists by the intercession of its members for one another or it collapses. I can no longer condemn or hate a brother for whom I pray no matter how much trouble he causes me. His face that hitherto may have been strange and intolerable to me is transformed in intercession into the countenance of a brother for whom Christ died the face of a forgiven sinner.
The flesh resists this daily humiliation first by a frontal attack and later by hiding itself under the words of the spirit i.e. in the name of evangelical liberty. We claim liberty from all legal compulsion from self-martyrdom and mortification and play this off against the proper evangelical use of discipline and asceticism we thus excuse our self-indulgence and irregularity in prayer in meditation and in our bodily life. But the contrast between our behavior and the word of Jesus is all too painfully evident. We forget that discipleship means estrangement from the world and we forget the real joy and freedom which are the outcome of a devout rule of life. As soon as a Christian recognizes that he has failed in his service that his readiness has become feeble and that he has sinned against anothers life and become guilty of anothers guilt that all his joy in God has vanished and that his capacity for prayer has quite gone it is high time for him to launch an assault upon the flesh and prepare for better service by fasting and prayer Luke 237 42 Mark 929 1 Cor. 75.
Through the medium of prayer we go to our enemy stand by his side and plead for him to God.
Lord whatsoever this day may bring Thy name be praised. Be gracious unto me and help me. Grant me strength to bear whatsoever Thou dost send And let not fear overrule me. I trust Thy grace and commit my life wholly into Thy Hands. Whether I live or whether I die I am with Thee and Thou are with me Lord I wait for Thy salvation and for the coming of Thy Kingdom. Amen.
As far as we are concerned there is no dislike no personal tension no disunity or strife that cannot be overcome by intercessory prayer. Intercessory prayer is the purifying bath into which the individual and the community must enter every day.