Sunday, October 21, 2018

First Pray. Then Proclaim.

Praying: Reflections on 40 Years of Solitary Conversations with God by [Piippo, John]

Many American pastors do before they pray. This is because their self worth is a function of numbers (How big? How many? How much?). People who live by metrics have little time to pray. They lack a significant praying life; viz., a praying life like Jesus had when, early in the morning, as was his habit, he went to a lonely place to pray. Habitually, many pastors are conditioned to be busy accomplishing things.

I write about the ontological priority of praying over doing in my book Praying: Reflections on 40 Years of Solitary Conversations with God.

Eugene Peterson recognized this, and the paltry praying lives of American clergy. He writes:

"The inner action of prayer takes precedence over the outer action of proclamation. The implication of this for pastoral work is plain: it begins in prayer. Anything creative, anything powerful, anything biblical, insofar as we are participants in it, originates in prayer. Pastors who imitate the preaching and moral action of the prophets without also imitating the prophets' deep praying and worship so evident in the Psalms are an embarrassment to the faith and an encumbrance to the church." (Peterson, Working the Angles: The Shape of Pastoral Integrity, Kindle Locations 405-408)