Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Nobody Writes About Prayer Like this Anymore

Here's Rauschenbusch on prayer (emphasis mine):

If the moral demands of our higher social thought could find adequate expression in prayer, it would have a profound influence on the social movement. Many good men have given up the habit of praying, partly through philosophical doubt, partly because they feel that it is useless or even harmful to their spiritual nature. Prayer in the past, like the hiss of escaping steam, has often dissipated moral energy. But prayer before battle is another thing. That has been the greatest breeder of revolutionary heroism in history. All our bravest desires stiffen into fighting temper when they are affirmed before God.

As is often the case with WR, I'm not quite sure what to make of this.

I think his theology is mostly mistaken.

And I think he's probably a bit naive about the nature of power politics.

But I find his social acuity and passion for justice contagious.

Go figure.

Source: Walter Rauschenbusch, For God and the People: Prayers of the Social Awakening (Boston: Pilgrim Press, 1910) pp. 11-12.