In his Evil and the Justice of God, N.T. Wright lists prayer as one of the ways Christians are called to anticipate the Kingdom:
Prayer: In Romans 8 Paul indicates that prayer is a key, central anticipation of the eventual redeemed world order. In that world, redeemed humanity will take its rightful place, worshiping the Creator and set in stewardship over the world, sharing God’s sovereign rule (Romans 5:17; Revelation 5:10). The new life of the Spirit, to which Christians are called in the present age, is not a matter of sitting back and enjoying spiritual comforts in a private, relaxed, easygoing spirituality, but consists rather of the unending struggle in the mystery of prayer, the struggle to bring God’s wise, healing order into the world now, in implementation of the victory of the cross and anticipation of the final redemption. In prayer we are invited — summoned — to become more truly human, to worship the God in whose image we are made and so to find ourselves interceding for the world he loves. the start of God’s address to the world, following the death and resurrection of his Son, is the creation and vocation by the Spirit of a people, drawn from every family, who will live consciously out of tune with the world as it presently is and in tune with the way God intends it to be (Romans 12:1-2: “Do not be conformed to this present age, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds” — a statement that might serve as a title for this chapter), and who by bearing that tension in themselves and turning it into prayer, become agents of that new world beginning to break into the present one in healing and hope. Prayer thus lies at the heart of the task of God’s people, their glorious, strange, puzzling and ennobling vocation. (Kindle ed., Ch. 4)
1 thought on “N.T. Wright on the Vocation of Prayer”
I remember reading this and wondering if Wright doesn't go far enough with prayer. The biblical narrative speaks of God acting because of, or in response to, the prayers of his people. Do we fail to see the same happen because of our own prayers? That being said, I think Wright's description of Jesus' call to the Church to bear within herself the broken tension of the world in order to bring about the New Creation reality into the here and now is…stunning, obscene, amazing, startling, overwhelming…and absolutely spot on (as Wright usually is).