Past and Future
Edited By Michael Welker
God’s Spirituality. The Trinitarian Dynamics of Prayer
1. The Embodiment of Prayer: Praise, Petition, Lament and Thanksgiving
This paper has two objectives: First, I present the theological interpretation of prayer as developed in my dissertation (which received the John Templeton Award for Theological Promise in 2007). Second, I develop this interpretation of prayer further by locating it in the wider horizon of a theological interpretation of the human mind. I conclude by using my argument as a starting point for a dogmatic hermeneutics to the science and religion dialogue.
Prayer articulates the community between God and human: In prayer, faith becomes word. In my dissertation, I delineated the grammar of prayer as interplay of praise, petition, thanksgiving and lament on the basis of the Biblical prayer traditions (especially the Psalms and the Lord’s Prayer).1 In short, my systematic-theological interpretation of prayer amounts to the following: Praise, petition, thanksgiving and lament are not isolated from each other, but are interconnected and together form the grammar of Christian prayer. Their specific configuration is rooted in the specific community with God – and in the specific situation of the praying person. Every individually spoken prayer is rooted in this specific configuration of petition, praise, lament, and thanksgiving, but of course it applies the four elements to the given situation of the praying person. Individual prayer moves within the deep framework of the Biblical prayer traditions – and uses this Biblical framework to express the unique situation of the praying person. Thus the praying believer finds him- or herself in a wider context of prayer, and is strengthened...
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