To Whom are you Praying?

One’s understanding of prayer is indeed correlative with one’s doctrine of God. If we envisage a world of higher spirits (daemons) who are superior to mortals but limited in power, then prayer might well take the form of trying to cajole or control these higher beings (as in primitive religion). If we conceive of God as the architect of the universe or a providential ruler sublimely detached from the created order, then prayer would probably be limited to resignation and thanksgiving (as in idealistic philosophy). If God is envisaged as a supreme being who is infinite in power but also merciful and just, then prayer could assume prescribed forms that do not bend the will of God but discipline the human mind to be receptive to God’s providential ordering and leading (as in ritualistic religion). If God is portrayed as the infinite ground and depth of all created being, the uncreated center of the soul, then prayer could assume the role of introspection, meditation and contemplation. If God is envisaged as the all–powerful and all–loving heavenly Father—Infinitely concerned with the well–being of his sons and daughters—then prayer could express itself in heartfelt supplication, intercession and confession (as in biblical religion).

Donald G. Bloesch, God, the Almighty: Power, Wisdom, Holiness, Love (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2006), 233–234. [emphasis mine]

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