Introductory Note:

What do we do when we come face to face with people’s pain and sorrow? We can learn from Jesus how to share in their suffering. Richard Foster shifts the focus from despair to hope: “Our question, however, is not ‘Why is there suffering in the world?’ but ‘How do I enter into the suffering that is in the world in a way that is redemptive and healing?’

In this chapter from Prayer, Richard discusses the redemptive work of repenting on behalf of others, entering another’s pain through presence, wrestling with God, and other ways we can bear one another’s burdens in prayer.

Renovaré Team

Excerpt from Prayer: Finding the Heart's True Home
It is the prayer of agony which saves the world. — St. Mary of Jesus

We now come to a top­ic that is not at all pop­u­lar. I would hes­i­tate even men­tion­ing it were it not for my con­vic­tion that you are quite seri­ous about the life and work of prayer. I am speak­ing, of course, about the Prayer of Suffering.

If in all the pan­theon of prayer there is one form that is total­ly oth­er cen­tered, we have now come to it. In the Prayer of Suf­fer­ing we leave far behind our needs and wants, even our trans­for­ma­tion and union with God. Here we give to God the var­i­ous dif­fi­cul­ties and tri­als that we face, ask­ing him to use them redemp­tive­ly. We also vol­un­tar­i­ly take into our­selves the griefs and sor­rows of oth­ers in order to set them free. In our suf­fer­ings those who suf­fer come to see the face of the suf­fer­ing God.

No Greater Image

There is no greater image of this suf­fer­ing love that redeems than Jesus pinned to Gol­go­tha’s tree, utter­ing the words of abso­lu­tion: Father, for­give them; for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). This is the unre­peat­able, supreme act of redemp­tion, and in this we can­not in any way be Christ’s com­pan­ions. He had to walk this path alone.

But he has invit­ed us to share in his suf­fer­ings and so par­tic­i­pate with him in the redemp­tion of the world. Paul under­stood this. I am now rejoic­ing in my suf­fer­ings for your sake,” writes the great Apos­tle, and in my flesh I am com­plet­ing what is lack­ing in Christ’s afflic­tions for the sake of his body, that is, the church” (Col. 1:24). Paul’s idea is not that some­thing is miss­ing in the suf­fer­ings of Christ as if there were some defi­cien­cy in his sub­sti­tu­tion­ary atone­ment for the sal­va­tion of the world. Far from it. It is rather that we are invit­ed to be part­ners with Christ by shar­ing in the fel­low­ship of his suf­fer­ings” (Phil. 3:10).

Redemp­tive Suffering 

But before you think I am lead­ing you into some kind of strange reli­gious masochism, let’s back up a bit and see if we can get a clear­er pic­ture on all this. I am talk­ing about a form of suf­fer­ing, to be sure, but it is redemp­tive suf­fer­ing. We are all acquaint­ed with the unre­demp­tive neg­a­tive vari­ety — suf­fer­ing that is utter­ly cru­el and com­plete­ly mean­ing­less. This we must fight against with all our might, for it is always opposed to life in the king­dom of God.

But there is a kind of suf­fer­ing that has pur­pose and mean­ing. It is the kind that enrich­es the lives of oth­ers and brings heal­ing to the world. On a pure­ly human lev­el we under­stand this instinc­tive­ly with regard to our chil­dren. We are glad to deprive our­selves of many things so that they may have a bet­ter chance at life. (This, by the way, is one rea­son why their teenage rebel­lion is so hard for us — we fear that all our sac­ri­fices will be for noth­ing.) It is hard for us to grasp the idea of redemp­tive suf­fer­ing because our whole cul­ture mit­i­gates against any form of dis­com­fort or incon­ve­nience. It is the same rea­son we find it dif­fi­cult to rec­on­cile Jesus’ words about bear­ing our cross with his promise of life abun­dant. But the entire life of Jesus shows us the com­pat­i­bil­i­ty of grace and suf­fer­ing. And Paul, whose suf­fer­ings were abun­dant and well doc­u­ment­ed, declared, I con­sid­er that the suf­fer­ings of this present time are not worth com­par­ing with the glo­ry about to be revealed to us” (Rom. 8:18). Pope Paul VI writes, The Chris­t­ian can have at the same time two dif­fer­ent, oppo­site expe­ri­ences sor­row and joy — which become com­ple­men­tary.“1

In redemp­tive suf­fer­ing we stand with peo­ple in their sin and in their sor­row. There can be no ster­ile, arm’s-length puri­ty. Their suf­fer­ing is messy busi­ness, and we must be pre­pared to step smack into the mid­dle of the mess. We are cru­ci­fied” not just for oth­ers, but with oth­ers. We pray in suf­fer­ing, and, as we do, we are changed. Our hearts are enlarged to receive and accept all peo­ple. The lan­guage of they” and them” is con­vert­ed into we” and us.” All sup­posed supe­ri­or­i­ty — whether intel­lec­tu­al, cul­tur­al, or spir­i­tu­al sim­ply melts away. Togeth­er we stand under the cross.

Joy, not mis­ery, is the com­pelling ener­gy behind redemp­tive suf­fer­ing. It is not that we love pain or are try­ing to find ways to be mar­tyrs. This is not mis­ery for mis­ery’s sake. It is that God is using us for the greater good of all — which is a rather amaz­ing notion once we stop to think about it. This is why it could be said of Jesus that he for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross” (Heb. 12:2). This is why we today can res­onate with Peter’s words, Rejoice inso­far as you are shar­ing Christ’s suf­fer­ings, so that you may also be glad and shout for joy when his glo­ry is revealed” (1 Pet. 4:13).

Find­ing Value

The val­ues of the Prayer of Suf­fer­ing are legion. To begin with, it saves us from a super­fi­cial tri­umphal­ism. Per­haps you have had the expe­ri­ence of hear­ing some­one talk about faith and con­fi­dence and vic­to­ry. In one sense all the words are right, and the sto­ries cer­tain­ly sound good, but some­how some­thing does not ring quite true. The prob­lem is that you are lis­ten­ing to some­one who is liv­ing on the fluff side of faith, some­one who has not been bap­tized into the sacra­ment of suf­fer­ing. Augus­tine notes wry­ly, How deep in the deep are they who do not cry out of the deep.“2 But we have a Sav­ior who was a man of sor­rows, and acquaint­ed with grief” (lsa. 53:3, Rsv). Jesus, we are told, offered up prayers and sup­pli­ca­tion, with loud cries and tears” (Heb. 5:7). I ask you: is the ser­vant any bet­ter than the Mas­ter? There is a tri­umph that is in Christ, but it goes through suf­fer­ing, not around it. The tri­umphant note of the Apos­tle Paul is no tri­umphal­ism. His we are more than con­querors” comes on the oth­er side of hard­ship and dis­tress and per­se­cu­tion and famine and naked­ness and per­il and sword (Rom. 835b-39).

The tren­chant words of William Penn ring true to life: No Cross, no Crown.” For dis­ci­ples of Jesus suf­fer­ing sim­ply comes with the ter­ri­to­ry. Thomas Kel­ly notes, God, out of the pat­tern of His own heart, has plant­ed the Cross along the road of holy obe­di­ence.“3 But here is the won­der: the suf­fer­ing is not for noth­ing! God takes it and uses it for some­thing beau­ti­ful, some­thing far beyond any­thing we can imag­ine. Right now we catch only glimpses here and there, the moon’s reflect­ed light. But a day is com­ing when the blind­ers will be removed and the scales will fall off, and then we will see a glo­ry in our suf­fer­ings that will blaze like the noon­day sun. Jesus tells us frankly, In this world you will have trou­ble.” But he goes on to add, Take heart! I have over­come the world” (John 16:33NIV).

Anoth­er val­ue: our hearts are enlarged and sen­si­tized by suf­fer­ing. We become wound­ed heal­ers,” as Hen­ri Nouwen has taught us to say. Gone for­ev­er are the pat answers that — zip, zap — make every­thing fine. We endure the agony that pre­pares us to enter into the anguish of oth­ers. The more love sand­pa­pers our hearts,” writes Glenn Hin­son, the more it quick­ens us to suf­fer­ing.“4 We come to rec­og­nize the suf­fer­ing of our time in our own hearts, and that becomes the start­ing point for ministry. 

I once prayed for a young woman whose father was a pas­tor. There were many won­der­ful things about this good pas­tor, but on this occa­sion the daugh­ter’s heart was heavy with the loss­es: the mul­ti­plied times he was gone because of the demands of the min­istry; the tight bud­get, which meant few toys, skimpy vaca­tions, no spe­cial things; the snoop­ing, snip­ing parish­ioners that found fault with any­thing and every­thing. I know these are gar­den-vari­ety loss­es, but that does not make them hurt any less. 

I won­dered to myself if she was telling a sto­ry my own chil­dren might recite some day, for I was a young pas­tor, and for me, too, the hours were long, the mon­ey short, and the parish­ioners picky.

After she fin­ished her shar­ing, I stood behind her, gen­tly plac­ing my hands on her head in a rit­u­al form of the lay­ing on of hands. I want­ed to pray for the heal­ing of the lit­tle girl still inside this woman, the lit­tle girl who had suf­fered all these loss­es. But I could speak only a few words, for I felt a deep sor­row welling up with­in me for her emo­tion­al pain. I prayed for­give­ness for the father who did not know what he had done. But by then I could no longer speak, for a great bro­ken­ness came over me, and I qui­et­ly sobbed on her behalf. Emo­tion does not come to me quick­ly, and so you can under­stand that what was hap­pen­ing was unusu­al, to say the least. There I was, stand­ing behind her with great tears falling to the floor as I entered into her pain, repent­ed for her father, and sought heal­ing for her inner child. Evi­dent­ly the tears did what the words could not, for she left sub­stan­tial­ly healed. This way of prayer we learn only in the school of suffering. 

Shall go on enu­mer­at­ing the val­ues of redemp­tive suf­fer­ing, tick­ing them off like items on a gro­cery list? I think not, for though they are all true- — each and every one — they can actu­al­ly become like those pat answers that we use to pro­tect us from the raw nerves of sor­row. No, think it is bet­ter if we turn our atten­tion to the prac­tice of the Prayer of Suffering.

What Do We Do?

Our task-yours and mine — would be so much eas­i­er if we were, for exam­ple, dis­sect­ing the prob­lem of evil. Then we could debate all the the­o­ries in a prop­er­ly detached fash­ion. Our ques­tion, how­ev­er, is not Why is there suf­fer­ing in the world?” but How do I enter into the suf­fer­ing that is in the world in a way that is redemp­tive and heal­ing?” We must ask the ques­tion of practice.

What do we do? We do the kind of thing Moses did. After he leads the chil­dren of Israel out of Egypt­ian bondage, they thank him by rebelling, mak­ing a gold­en calf. Yet Moses refus­es to give up on them, say­ing, I will go up to the LORD; per­haps I can make atone­ment for your sin” (Exod. 32:30b). And this is exact­ly what he does, bold­ly stand­ing between God and the peo­ple, argu­ing with God to with­hold his hand of judg­ment. Lis­ten to the next words Moses speaks: But now, if you will only for­give their sin — but if not, blot me out of the book that you have writ­ten” (Exod. 32:32). What a prayer! What a reck­less, medi­a­to­r­i­al, suf­fer­ing prayer! It is exact­ly the kind of prayer in which we are priv­i­leged to participate.

What do we do? We do the kind of thing Daniel did. Daniel had lived all his adult life in the Baby­lon­ian courts, but now he reads in the writ­ings of Jere­mi­ah the prophet that the days of Jerusalem’s dev­as­ta­tion are com­plete. This leads to one of the most beau­ti­ful prayers ever record­ed in Scrip­ture, sur­passed only by Jesus’ Upper Room prayer. It is a prayer of repen­tance: I prayed to the LORD my God and made con­fes­sion” (Dan. 9:4). But Daniel is not con­fess­ing his sins; he is con­fess­ing the sins of his peo­ple, Israel. And note that he refus­es to stand off at a safe, self-right­eous dis­tance but instead iden­ti­fies inti­mate­ly with the sins of the peo­ple. Lis­ten: We have sinned and done wrong … we have not lis­tened … we have sinned against you” (Dan. 9:5 – 19, ital­ics mine). On it goes: Daniel stand­ing with his peo­ple; Daniel repent­ing on behalf of his peo­ple; Daniel medi­at­ing between God and his peo­ple. Final­ly, he clos­es his prayer with exact­ly the right per­spec­tive: We do not present our sup­pli­ca­tion before you on the ground of our right­eous­ness, but on the ground of your great mer­cies.” What a prayer! This is what we are to do.

There were so many who lived and who prayed in this way. Think of Joseph and his exile. Think of Mary and her Cal­vary vig­il. Think of Stephen and his ston­ing. Think of Paul and his tribu­la­tions. Think of the list of those suf­fer­ing giants of the faith in Hebrews 11 and the appro­pri­ate epi­taph, of whom the world was not wor­thy” (Heb. 11:38).

I reit­er­ate: this is not suf­fer­ing for suf­fer­ing’s sake. There is no han­ker­ing for mar­tyr­dom here. This is a con­scious shoul­der­ing of the sins and sor­rows of oth­ers in order that they may be healed and giv­en new life. George Mac­Don­ald notes, The Son of God suf­fered unto the death, not that men might not suf­fer, but that their suf­fer­ings might be like His.“5

The Pas­sive Side and the Active Side

There is a pas­sive side and there is an active side to the Prayer of Suf­fer­ing. The pas­sive side involves the many tri­als that come into the course of our dai­ly lives. These can be mere­ly irri­tat­ing or gen­uine­ly trag­ic. Some­times they come because of dis­obe­di­ence or wrong liv­ing, and, when this is the case, we are to change the way we live. But there are oth­er times, times when we are caught in the whirlpool of a good world gone bad: a col­laps­ing econ­o­my that eats up our life sav­ings, a per­son­al­i­ty feud at the office that adverse­ly affects our posi­tion, a ter­ri­ble acci­dent that changes our lives forever.

When we suf­fer these things — things for which we are not respon­si­ble and over which we have no con­trol — we are to endure them patient­ly, putting our trust in God. Few of us today have much capac­i­ty for despair and des­ti­tu­tion, and the Prayer of Suf­fer­ing increas­es this capac­i­ty. Bar­ren­ness of soul some­times comes to us for this very pur­pose. Jean-Nicholas Grou writes, Let your suf­fer­ing be borne for God; suf­fer with sub­mis­sion and patience and suf­fer in union with Jesus Christ and you will be offer­ing a most excel­lent prayer.“6

We can be assured of this: God, who knows all and sees all, will set all things straight in the end. Even bet­ter, he will dry every tear. In the mean­time he mys­te­ri­ous­ly takes our sor­rows and uses them to heal the world. 

I know the dan­ger inher­ent in the coun­sel l have just giv­en. Peo­ple can wrong­ly turn it into a pas­siv­i­ty toward injus­tice and evil. This we must nev­er do. We are under divine orders to fight against evil in every form. Pas­siv­i­ty, how­ev­er, is sel­dom our prob­lem. We tend to fight and strug­gle over every minor incon­ve­nience that comes our way. With spir­i­tu­al matu­ri­ty comes the abil­i­ty to dis­cern between the tri­als that are a nor­mal part of liv­ing under the cross and the injus­tices of an evil world that demand correction.

The active side of suf­fer­ing involves those times when we vol­un­tar­i­ly take into our­selves the griefs and sor­rows of oth­ers in order to set them free. A woman whom I shall call Anne once came to my wife, Car­olynn, for prayer coun­sel­ing. Anne’s out­ward prob­lem of depres­sion was easy enough to see. In a short time the inner cause came to the sur­face as well — a sud­den and trag­ic loss of her child. Car­olynn has the gift of bur­den bear­ing, and so, as she began pray­ing, she vic­ar­i­ous­ly took on Anne’s grief. Wave after wave of deep sobs, even wail­ing, came over Car­olynn as she mourned the death of Anne’s child. She asked God to take Anne’s emo­tion­al pain and redeem it through the cross of Jesus Christ. When she did this, the sob­bing sub­sided and was replaced with a set­tled peace.

Lat­er, Car­olynn received a let­ter from Anne, describ­ing the new life that had been breathed into her dur­ing that prayer ses­sion. The heal­ing Anne received on that day was sig­nif­i­cant, though not total, for the roots of these mat­ters go very deep and have many branch­es. Cer­tain­ly Anne’s depres­sion had lift­ed enough that she could func­tion nor­mal­ly once again. Through Car­olyn­n’s redemp­tive suf­fer­ing, God had opened up a heal­ing con­duit into Anne’s past So that she could mourn for her­self the loss of her child. 

I must add one small coun­sel to this sto­ry. We need not con­tin­ue shoul­der­ing the bur­dens of oth­ers, but rather we release them into the arms of the Father. With­out this releas­ing the bur­dens will become too much for us, and depres­sion will set in. Besides, it is not nec­es­sary. Our task in real­i­ty is a small one: to hold the agony of oth­ers just long enough for them to let go of it for them­selves. Then togeth­er we can give all things over to God.

Repent­ing on Behalf of Others 

The Prayer of Suf­fer­ing stands out in all its naked real­i­ty when we are giv­en the grace to repent on behalf of oth­ers, espe­cial­ly our ene­mies, for­giv­ing them and set­ting them free. Diet­rich Bon­ho­ef­fer says that when we pray for our ene­mies, we are tak­ing their dis­tress and pover­ty, their guilt and perdi­tion upon our­selves, and plead­ing to God for them. We are doing vic­ar­i­ous­ly for them what they can­not do for them­selves.“7

In the Ravens­bruck Nazi con­cen­tra­tion camp — the camp where an esti­mat­ed nine­ty-two thou­sand men, women, and chil­dren were mur­dered — a piece of wrap­ping paper was found near the body of a dead child. On the paper was writ­ten this prayer: O Lord, remem­ber not only the men and women of good will, but also those of ill will. But do not only remem­ber the suf­fer­ing they have inflict­ed on us; remem­ber the fruits we bought, thanks to this suf­fer­ing: our com­rade­ship, our loy­al­ty, our humil­i­ty, the courage, the gen­eros­i­ty, the great­ness of heart which has grown out of all this. And when they come to judg­ment, let all the fruits that we have borne be their for­give­ness.“8

This idea of repent­ing on behalf of oth­ers may be new to you. Do peo­ple not have to repent for them­selves?” you may won­der. You are cor­rect, of course. Each of us must turn for our­selves in heart sor­row for our offens­es to Divine Mer­cy. But — and here is the won­der — our repent­ing prayers on behalf of oth­ers some­how seems to make it eas­i­er, more pos­si­ble for them to turn on their own. How this works I do not know. That it does work I am quite cer­tain. Not that every­one we pray for is instant­ly trans­formed into some sort of saint. (Not even Jesus’ sac­ri­fice pro­duced that kind of result — a result we would not even want once we ful­ly under­stood it.) No, it is more like the releas­ing of lit­tle droplets of grace and mer­cy — droplets that per­haps can be shook off but cer­tain­ly can­not be ignored.

The Groan­ings of a Strug­gling Faith 

This stand­ing between God and peo­ple involves a kind of wrestling with God. That is part of our suf­fer­ing, a lit­tle like argu­ing with our best friend. Ter­tul­lian calls it a kind of holy vio­lence to God.“9 Like Jacob of old, who wres­tled all night with the angel, we refuse to let go until we receive a bless­ing, not for us but for oth­ers. We argue with God so that his jus­tice may be over­come by his mer­cy. It is only because of our inti­ma­cy with God that we can thus wres­tle with him.

This intense inter­ac­tion is not unlike God him­self, for, as Don­ald Bloesch tells us, God even wres­tles with him­self, seek­ing to rec­on­cile his holi­ness, which can­not tol­er­ate sin, with his infi­nite love for a sin­ful human race.“10 Even so, this wrestling is a hard image for us to accept. We much pre­fer the image of rest­ful har­mo­ny. Our dif­fi­cul­ty is due, in part, to our cul­ture’s inabil­i­ty to rec­on­cile strug­gle with love. We assume a lov­ing rela­tion­ship by its very nature must be peace­ful and har­mo­nious, and yet even on a human lev­el those things we care about the most deeply we argue for the most pas­sion­ate­ly. Strug­gle is con­sis­tent with love, for it is an expres­sion of our caring.

This is not anger. It is not whin­ing. It is, as Mar­tin Luther puts it, a con­tin­u­ous vio­lent action of the spir­it as it is lift­ed up to God.“11 We are engag­ing in seri­ous busi­ness. Our prayers are impor­tant, hav­ing effect with God. We want God to know the earnest­ness of our heart. We beat on the doors of heav­en because we want to be heard on high. We ago­nize. We cry out. We shout. We pray with sobs and tears. Our prayers become the groan­ings of a strug­gling faith. As Charles Spur­geon reminds us, Prayer is able to pre­vail with Heav­en and bend omnipo­tence to its desires.“12

Fast­ing is one expres­sion of our strug­gle. Fast­ing is the vol­un­tary denial of a nor­mal func­tion for the sake of intense spir­i­tu­al activ­i­ty. It is a sign of our seri­ous­ness and inten­si­ty. When we fast, we are inten­tion­al­ly relin­quish­ing the first right giv­en to the human fam­i­ly in the Gar­den — the right to eat. We say no to food because we are intent upon oth­ers receiv­ing far greater nour­ish­ment. We are com­mit­ted to break­ing every yoke and set­ting the cap­tives free. Our fast­ing is a sign that noth­ing will stop us in our strug­gle on behalf of the bro­ken and oppressed.

In Cel­e­bra­tion of Dis­ci­pline I pro­vide detailed instruc­tion in the prac­tice of fast­ing, and there are many oth­er good books to guide you. Here I want to under­score fast­ing as a means of help­ing us to suf­fer joy­ful­ly. We are depriv­ing our­selves for the sake of a greater good. Our fast­ing has weight with God and effect upon oth­ers. Pas­tor Hsi of Chi­na was so con­cerned to see his wife set free from her deep depres­sion and men­tal tor­ment that he called for a fast of three days and nights in his house­hold, and gave him­self to prayer. Weak in body, but strong in faith, he laid hold on the promis­es of God.“13 His sub­se­quent prayer for her was com­plete­ly suc­cess­ful, restor­ing her to full health. In time she became an effec­tive com­pan­ion in his remark­able ministry.

This is no exces­sive, unhealthy asceti­cism. It has noth­ing to do with the extremes of tor­ture and self-mor­ti­fi­ca­tion, which are a per­ver­sion of gen­uine sac­ri­fice. We do not take plea­sure in pain, nor do we seek it out unnec­es­sar­i­ly. Our fast­ing is part of our wrestling with God. It is part of the birth pangs we endure in order to see new life come forth.

The wrestling may be painful, but the net result is worth the strug­gle, for, as Soren Kierkegaard reminds us, we win — and So does God: The right­eous man strives in prayer with God and con­quers — in that God con­quers.“14

Suf­fer­ing with the Body of Christ 

The Bible tells us that we are the body of Christ.” This descrip­tion of the com­mu­ni­ty of faith is not some roman­tic metaphor but is a gen­uine real­i­ty. Jesus Christ through the Spir­it con­tin­ues to live with­in his Church, and our suf­fer­ings are his suf­fer­ings. John Calvin writes, As, there­fore, Christ has suf­fered once in his own per­son, so he suf­fers dai­ly in his mem­bers.“15 And these suf­fer­ings are redemp­tive; they are actu­al­ly used of God to change and trans­form and draw peo­ple into the way of Christ.

As our suf­fer­ings are his, so his suf­fer­ings are ours. Every now and then we are giv­en the priv­i­lege of shar­ing in the suf­fer­ings of Christ over some spe­cial need in his Body. A min­is­ter in Africa once woke up in the mid­dle of the night in tears. A strange name came to him over and over, a name he did not know. He sensed it was a call to pray, but for whom, for what? He did not know. Still he prayed in the Spir­it over this name that he did not know, suf­fer­ing intense pain as he did so. After sev­er­al hours the bur­den lift­ed, and he knew his inter­ces­so­ry work was com­plete. The next day the news­pa­pers car­ried the sad sto­ry of a Chris­t­ian vil­lage whose inhab­i­tants had been mas­sa­cred dur­ing the night. The vil­lage had the same name the min­is­ter had been weep­ing over. 16 In some way that we do not now under­stand, this min­is­ter was allowed to share in the suf­fer­ings of the vil­lage peo­ple and so share in the suf­fer­ings of Christ. Our prayer priv­i­lege may nev­er be this strik­ing, but it will be just as important.

O Holy Spir­it of God, so many hurt today. Help me to stand with them in their suf­fer­ing. I do not real­ly know how to do this. My temp­ta­tion is to offer some quick prayer and send them off rather than endure with them the des­o­la­tion of suf­fer­ing. Show me the path­way into their pain.

In the name and for the sake of Jesus. —Amen.

  1. Pope Paul VI, The Role of Suf­fer­ing in the Life of the Church,” in The Pope Speaks 19, no. 2 (June 26, 1974): 170. ↩︎
  2. St. Augus­tine: Ser­mons on the Litur­gi­cal Sea­sons, trans. Sis­ter Mary Sarah Mul­downey (New York: Fathers of the Church, 1959), p. 86. ↩︎
  3. Kel­ly, Tes­ta­ment, p. 71. ↩︎
  4. Glenn Hin­son, The Con­tem­pla­tive View,” in Chris­t­ian Spir­i­tu­al­i­ty, p. 179. ↩︎
  5. As quot­ed in C. S. Lewis, The Prob­lem of Pain (New York: Macmil­lan, 1961), p. vi. ↩︎
  6. Grou, How to Pray, p. 83. ↩︎
  7. Diet­rich Bon­ho­ef­fer, The Cost of Dis­ci­ple­ship, 2d ed., trans. R. H. Fuller (New York: Macmil­lan, 1963), p.166. ↩︎
  8. From Rob Gold­man, Heal­ing the World by Our Wounds,” The Oth­er Side 27, no. 6 (Nov./Dec. 1991): 24. ↩︎
  9. As quot­ed in Bloesch, Strug­gle of Prayer, p. 132. ↩︎
  10. Bloesch, Strug­gle of Prayer, p. 77. ↩︎
  11. Mar­tin Luther, Lec­tures on Romans, ed. and trans. Wm. Pauch (Philadel­phia: West­min­ster, 1961), p. 349. ↩︎
  12. As quot­ed in Eriedrich Heil­er, Prayer, trans. and ed. Samuel McComb (New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1958), p. 279. ↩︎
  13. As quot­ed in Arthur Wal­lis, God’s Cho­sen Fast: A Spir­i­tu­al and Prac­ti­cal Guide to Fast­ing (Fort Wash­ing­ton, PA: Chris­t­ian Lit­er­a­ture Cru­sade, 1986), p. 67. ↩︎
  14. Søren Kierkegaard, Edi­fy­ing Dis­cours­es, vol 4., trans. David Swen­son and Lil­lian Swen­son (Min­neapo­lis, MN: Augs­burg, 1946), p. 113. ↩︎
  15. John Calvin, Com­men­taries on the Epis­tles to the Philip­pi­ans, Colos­sians, and Thes­sa­lo­ni­ans, trans. John Pringle (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerd­mans, 1948), p. 164. ↩︎
  16. This sto­ry is record­ed in Paul Yong­gi Cho, Prayer: Key to Revival (Dal­las, TX: Word, 1984), p. 86. ↩︎

Excerpt­ed from Prayer: Find­ing the Heart’s True Home by Richard J. Fos­ter (Harper­One, 1992), pp. 185 – 186, and used with permission.

Text First Published August 1992 · Last Featured on March 2022

📚 The 2022 – 23 Ren­o­varé Book Club

This year’s nine-month, soul-shap­ing jour­ney fea­tures four books, old and new, prayer­ful­ly curat­ed by Ren­o­varé. Now under­way and there’s still time to join.

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