|“Purity of heart is to will one thing.”|
|— Soren Kierkegaard|
Arnie (not his real name) has been the sole student of my course on effective prayer.
Sunday after church he told me he’d found a couple online resources about effective prayer, that he hoped we could review together. Each of them begins with the necessity of “belief.”
When he said this, I became nervous. There are many such sources online, but I’m not comfortable with them. On the one hand, trying to make myself “believe” that the outcome I pray for is inevitable, feels too much like wading into the world of delusion. On the other hand, although there are many New Testament references to “belief” in connection with prayer, I’m convinced that either (a) those expressions don’t come from the historical Jesus himself, or else (b) Jesus used that term to mean something very different from what we normally take it to mean today.
None of those whom I regard as experts in the field ever refer to belief this way. Never. Not once. Ever.
By Monday afternoon, I would feel my reservations had been powerfully confirmed.