Prayer: A 14-Day Devotional by Tim Keller

The power of our prayers, then, lies not primarily in our effort and striving, or in any technique, but rather in our knowledge of God. You may respond, “But God spoke audible words to Job out of a storm. I wish God spoke to me like that.” The answer is—we have something better, an incalculably clearer expression of God’s character. “In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son . . . the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being” (Heb 1:1–3).

Jesus Christ is the Word of God (John 1:1–14) because no more comprehensive, personal, and beautiful communication of God is possible. We cannot look directly at the sun with our eyes. The glory of it would immediately overwhelm and destroy our sight. We have to look at it through a filter, and then we can see the great flames and colors of it. When we look at Jesus Christ as he is shown to us in the Scriptures, we are looking at the glory of God through the filter of a human nature. That is one of the many reasons, as we shall see, that Christians pray “in Jesus’ name.” Through Christ, prayer becomes what Scottish Reformer John Knox called “an earnest and familiar talking with God,” and John Calvin called an “intimate conversation” of believers with God, or elsewhere “a communion of men with God”—a two-way communicative interaction. “For through [Christ] we . . . have access to the Father by one Spirit” (Eph 2:18).

Excerpt from PRAYER by Timothy Keller Reprinted by arrangement with DUTTON, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © 2014 by Timothy Keller