N. T. Wright on prayer

"Part of our difficulty here is that we moderns are so anxious to do things our own way, so concerned that if we get help from anyone else our prayer won't be 'authentic' and come from our own heart, that we are instantly suspicious about using anyone else's prayers. We are like someone who doesn't feel she's properly dressed unless she has personally designed and made all her own clothes....

"'One good breath of fresh air from the down-to-earth world of first-century Judaism is enough to blow away the smog of the self-absorbed (and ultimately proud) quest for 'authenticity' of that kind. When Jesus' followers asked Him to teach them to pray, he didn't tell them to divide into focus groups and look deep within their own hearts. [...] He and they both understood the question they had asked: they wanted, and needed, a form of words which they could learn and use.

"Some Christians, some of the time, can sustain a life of prayer entirely out of their own internal resources, just as there are hardy mountaineers (I've met one) who can walk the Scottish highlands in their bare feet. But most of us need boots; not because we don't want to do the walking ourselves, but because we do."

- N. T. Wright, Simply Christian: Why Christianity Makes Sense, 164-165


  1. Good way of putting it. I do miss extemporaneous pastoral prayers, though.