This is part of an ongoing series book study which complements the Thursday and Friday morning Men’s book study on prayer. Read the other chapter discussions here. Read along with us!
In Chapter Twelve, Keller discusses the depth and consideration we must give to praise. He briefly introduces three kinds of prayer: Upward, Inward and Outward. Praise is upward prayer. However, in practicing a regular diet of praise for the Almighty, we are brought to a healthier view of inward and outward prayer. Keller describes the awe-inspired praise as the “Alpha Prayer.”
We Praise what is Amazing
If we find something genuinely amazing, we rarely have trouble praising it. If we get a good deal on a car, we praise our negotiating skills, the dealer, the stroke of good luck or the car itself. If we genuinely study and desire to know the goodness of God, we can’t help but praise him and tell others. The realization of this truth forces us to reorder our true loves. Since we will become like whatever we love, it behooves us to not fall prey to false pleasures in this life lest we be crushed by the weight of our expectations that our false gods deliver on their empty promises (193). The best way to avoid being crushed and to rightly order our loves, is through thanksgiving, which according to Keller is a subcategory of praise.
Keller goes on to suggest a structure for this kind of prayer. He borrows from Cranmer and then boils down the outline to five basic headings: Praise, Confession, Petition, Thanksgiving and Intercession (199). He then closes the Chapter with a devotional look at Psalm 150 as the “Omega Prayer.”
Questions for Discussion:
- How often do you give God praise when you face trials? Paul praised God that He counted him worthy of being punished for the Gospel. He sang hymns and prayed in jail. Are we quick to only praise God during the good times? How can we praise him more during difficulties as well?
- Why is it sometimes easier for us to praise other good news in our lives than the Gospel, which is the ultimate good news?
- Page 197, what does it mean to make every pleasure into adoration? What does that look like?
- On pages 198-201, Keller gives us the basic structure that Anglicans have used in “collects” for centuries. “Collects” (col’-lects) are prayers that quite literally “collect” (col-lect’) the people for worship. Part of worship is praise. Is it Biblical? Why or why not? Do you feel this is a helpful tool? How might this be a helpful way to pray? How might it be counterproductive?
On Your Own:
This week, before you begin your prayers, start with Psalm 150 as your praise of God. See how it shapes the rest of your prayers. Share any changes with the group next week.