Praying Today: Practical Thoughts on Prayer

by Norman Pittenger

Dr. Pittenger, philosopher and theologian, was a senior member of King’s College, Cambridge for many years, then Professor of Christian Apologetics at the General Theological Seminary in New York City, before retiring in 1966.

Published by William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1974. This material was prepared for Religion Online by Ted and Winnie Brock.


(ENTIRE BOOK) For moderns who find difficulty with prayer, prayer is defined as the intentional and attentive presence of God, the purpose being the of alignment of self, in desires and actions, with divine love who is our heavenly Father. It is to open ourselves to God, to link our little selves with God’s divine will.


  • Preface

    Today a very considerable number of people who would profess themselves Christians do not find much meaning in prayer. And yet many young people seem to be much interested in prayer. Prayer is a valid exercise and is at the heart of Christian discipleship.

  • Chapter 1: Prayer and the Modern Man and Woman

    Prayer is not an attempt to fashion the world after our own desires, but is attentive communion with God conceived of as Love. Its end or goal is that men and women shall realize and be enabled to express their God-intended potentialities as they are being “made toward the image of God,” in cooperation with and sharing in the divine Love.

  • Chapter 2: Coming to Understand What Prayer Is

    Prayer gives us continuity with our Christian past. We need to know how we can now speak meaningfully about God, so that prayer can be practiced without the feeling that he who prays is running away from the real world.

  • Chapter 3: Praying in Words

    The author discusses various kinds of prayer in the traditional motifs — petition, intercession, confession, thanksgiving and adoration.

  • Chapter 4: Praying in Thought

    Our praying, whether in word or thought, whether in church or at home, should be grounded in two matters of supreme importance: the reality of God as Love, and the concrete place where we happen to be as human beings.

  • Chapter 5: Praying in Church

    Each person’s religion is one’s own, but purely individualistic religion can be equally dangerous. The Christian community of faith is a living social process that moves down the centuries, handing on its faith from generation to generation.

  • Chapter 6: Praying at the Lord’s Supper

    Christian prayer can be carried out in the Eucharist: It is an action of the Christian community, a remembering of Christ, a social matter expressing the joy of what Christ has done for us in his sacrifice for us.

  • Chapter 7: Making Prayer Meaningful Today

    When prayer is faithfully and regularly engaged in it will be the release of the praying person from bondage to cheapness and superficiality, from slavery to immediate instinct and unworthy desire. The consequence of this will be the growing awareness of a cosmic Love, a cosmic Lover, that holds us tight, that never lets us go, that stays with us in all our problems and troubles and sufferings as well as in our joys and delights.