It seems the older I get and the longer I try to walk and see by faith, the more I need help from the body of Christ. I find this to be especially true in the realm of prayer. So I look to the Psalms, or tried and true hymns, or the written prayers of a few preacher poets whom I trust, to pray for me and help me find the words I need to give praise and thanks, honest confession, wise petition, or even complaint to God. In Dumbfounded Praying, Harold Best proves to be one of those trustworthy prayer partners to add to my list.
I love Best’s honesty — with himself and God — as he prays about the concerns that we all share — spouses, children, our churches, our nation — the world we inhabit as salt and light. I also love the way he prays the Bible. Best is someone who reads the Bible as the big story it is, who thus knows the will of God and knowingly prays for that divine will to be worked out in his own life.
These prayers are refreshingly free of clichés. Instead, as Eugene Peterson does so well in The Message and points out in his wonderful foreword, Best coins thoughtful phrases that help us see to the heart of the matter. As in acknowledging how God gets us to that place of “grace beyond sin,” he asks “when will I sink down into the home-welcoming truth of [Your] comfortable words?”
This is how I want to pray, too, but I need tutors like Harold Best to help me move beyond self-consciousness, self-doubt, selfloathing, and my many other self-concerns to that place of freedom in the gospel where I can kneel, stand, and maybe even dance, in the presence of an almighty and loving God.