2 Chronicles 20:1-23
In the second half of his adult life, he discovered prayer. He realized he barely scratched the surface of what the Bible commanded and promised regarding prayer. Then came the dark weeks following the Sept 11 attacks in New York City. Though people rallied, it was like the whole city sank into a corporate clinical depression. For his family, the shadow intensified as his wife Kathy struggled with the effects of Crohn’s disease. Finally, he was diagnosed with thyroid cancer.
At some point during all this, his wife urged him to do something with her they had never been able to muster the self-discipline to do regularly. She asked him to pray with her every night. Every night! She used an illustration that crystallized her feelings very well. As he remembers, it went something like this.
Imagine you were diagnosed with such a lethal condition that the doctor told you that you would die within hours unless you took a particular medicine – a pill every night before going to sleep. Imagine that you were told that you could never miss it or you would die. Would you forget? Would you not get around to it some nights? No – it would be so crucial that you wouldn’t forget, you would never miss. Well, if we don’t pray together to God, we’re not going to make it because of all we are facing. I’m certainly not. We HAVE to pray. We can’t just let it slip our minds.”
I heard Tim Keller tell this story while listening to a podcast walking my dog in the winter of 2015. His story resonated with me in that I was dissatisfied with my prayer life. I felt I too was just scratching the surface. I prayed and participated in several prayer gatherings a week, but I sensed something needed to change. I purchased Keller’s book about prayer and began to read. But I didn’t only want to read this book to check it off of a list and put it my shelf under the “already read” section. I wanted to think about and reflect on it and incorporate some of the many challenges and practices laid out through this book.
I started some changes in the summer of 2015. Then came the fall and I struggled to persevere in some of the changes made. So I reread the book. I asked for God’s help. I have taken notes on every chapter. It has not been easy. Yet the times of refreshment from the Lord and the deepening satisfaction found in Him are becoming more and more frequent. I certainly have not arrived. But by God’s grace, I am going deeper in prayer than I was in the winter of 2015. It is my conviction that I’m not the only one in this body that has barely scratched the surface of all the Bible commands & promises about prayer. We as the people of SVBC need to go deeper; much deeper in prayer with the Lord than where we’re at right now.
 Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God, (Dutton, New York, 2014), 1-2.