The Route Into Prayer
This is an extract from Pastor Tim Gamston's sermon on Sunday 26th January 2020. The sermon was entitled "Following Jesus into prayer - meditation" and was the first in a series under the banner heading "Following Jesus into Christian growth"
The structure of the Psalms shows us that the route into prayer is through meditating on scripture. According to puritan theologian John Owen there are three stages to meditation.
1) We need to fix our minds on the truth.
Tim Keller recommends asking the following four questions.
What does this text teach me about God and his character?
What does this text teach me about human nature, character, and behaviour?
What does this text teach me about Christ and his salvation?
What does this text teach me about the church,or the life of God’s people?
2) We need to incline our heart to the truth.
It’s only as our hearts are affected by the truth that we will begin to pray. We therefore need to find a way of taking the truth and making it personal so that we know how our hearts ought to respond.
The reformer Martin Luther recommends asking the following three questions.
What does this text show me about the character of God for which I can praise him?
What does this text show me about what’s wrong in my life for which I need to repent?
What does this text show me I need that I can ask God for?
3) Respond in words to the truth.
This is where prayer comes in. The truth has gripped our hearts and we pray to the degree to which the Holy Spirit has affected our hearts.
In the words of Tim Keller:
Meditation is thinking a truth out and then thinking a truth in until its ideas become “big” and “sweet’, moving and affecting, and until the reality of God is sensed upon the heart.