God as One Who Hears Favorably
Wolterstorff begins his sixth lecture by unpacking the understanding of God implicit in the liturgical act of requesting that God would hear our addresses favorably. What view of God is implied by the participant’s refrain, “Hear our prayer oh Lord”? After surveying the possible moods or stances appropriate for supplication—wishfulness, desperation, confidence—Wolterstorff turns to the Lord’s prayer, which he argues should be paradigmatic for Christian liturgical forms of prayer. He goes on to affirm that the Lord’s prayer is best understood as a declaration that the kingdom is God’s and the prayer for its ever fuller manifestation: when the kingdom is fully manifested, God’s name will be hollowed, his will be done, we will be forgiven as we forgive. Guided by N.T. Wright’s recent work How God Became King, Wolterstorff goes on to explore the content of what it means to pray “thy kingdom come.” He concludes by suggesting that when we ask God to accept our prayers, we’re asking God to accept our concrete longing for the coming of God’s kingdom.
Nicholas Wolterstorff taught at Yale since 1989 until he retired in 2002. Previously, he taught at Calvin College, the Free University of Amsterdam, and the University of Notre Dame and has been visiting professor at several institutions. He is past President of the American Philosophical Association (Central Division) and serves on its publication and executive committees. In addition to numerous articles, he has written the following books: Religion and the Schools; On Universals; Reason within the Bounds of Religion; Art in Action; Works and Worlds of Art; Education for Responsible Action; Until Justice and Peace Embrace; Faith and Rationality (co-author); Rationality in the Calvinian Tradition (co-author); Lament for a Son; and Keeping Faith: Talks for New Faculty. In upcoming years, he will be the Wilde Lecturer at Oxford University and the Gifford Lecturer at St. Andrew’s University.