Rediscovering New Testament Prayer: Boldness and Blessing in the Name of Jesus

Article excerpt

Rediscovering New Testament Prayer: Boldness and Blessing in the Name of Jesus. By John Koenig. Harrisburg, PA: Morehouse Publishing, 1992, 1998. ix + 203 pp. $14.95 (paper).

I remember my first day of seminary. Something happened for which my previous two decades of secular and state education had left me entirely unprepared. At first, I was almost shocked but then found myself strangely relieved and at peace. The professor prayed before handing out the syllabus.

John Koenig has set himself the task of an important and synthetic study of New Testament prayer. Tertullian's dichotomy between "Jerusalem and Athens," between the "Church and Academy," has become so firmly entrenched, particularly on the American landscape, that it is often simply taken for granted. However, for Koenig, the life of faith and biblical scholarship intersect throughout the twelve chapters of his attractive book.

His aim, he writes, "is, wherever possible to present a unified view of this teaching (New Testament prayer)" and he states that ". . . despite their diversity on numerous matters, the canonical Scriptures exhibit almost a seamless quality when it comes to articulating our prayer relationship with God" (p. 12).

All authors necessarily write from a particular perspective and vantage point. Koenig's vantage point is from a white, middle class, American mainline Protestant perspective. If there is a difficulty or problem in Koenig's work it is that he seems to fall into the "trap" that many non-evangelical Protestant authors do. It is the apparent problem of distinguishing between the variety and diversity found within American evangelical Protestant Christianity. For example, on p. 76, Koenig notes with great appreciation the vocal responses of praise that are so frequently found in African American churches. …