Kevin J VanderVeen
As a lover of theology and theological reflection, I am deeply convicted that theology not only articulates the foundation of our world and live view but is both spiritually formative and life-giving. Herman Bavinck shares this deep conviction as he writes, “Good theology puts this knowledge of God on public display. It resists allowing theology to degenerate into rhetoric, a theology merely of words; it seeks the heart of the matter, knowing God in order to worship him, love him, and serve him.” He continues by writing, “Such theology is never a dry and academic exercise; it is eminently practical and superlatively fruitful for life.” As he eloquently suggests, good theology is always both practical and fruitful. That means that good theology is always given expression in practices that foster a deep love for God and a meaningful experience of his love and grace. One practice that is both deeply theological and spiritually formative is prayer. The practice of prayer is one of the primary expressions of the spiritual life, and prayer is also an integral component of our spiritual formation and our transformation. When reflecting on prayer, David Benner writes, “Prayer would not be worthy of being called a spiritual practice if it did not play a central role in this deep inner work of transformation.” As he makes clear, prayer is an integral component of our spiritual transformation. This leads me to the conclusion that a vibrant spirit life includes the practice of prayer in its many forms.