James Torrance on ‘Prayer and the Triune God of Grace’

James Torrance 4In 1997, Professor James Torrance gave four lectures on the theme ‘Prayer and the Triune God of Grace’, a theme beautifully articulated in his essay ‘The Place of Jesus Christ in Worship’ (published in Theological Foundations for Ministry, edited by Ray Anderson) and in his 1994 Didsbury Lectures (published as Worship, Community, and the Triune God of Grace), among other places.

The titles of the lectures were:

1. Prayer as Communion: Participating by Grace in the Triune Life of God
2. Prayer and the Priesthood of Christ
3. Different Models of Prayer: Stages in the Life of Prayer
4. Covenant God or Contract God: Is Prayer a Joy or a Burden?

I posted the links to these just over 4 years ago, but those links are now dead, and a number of people have contacted me recently asking me to make them available again. So here they are, resurrected!

Part 1 [MP3]

Part 2 [MP3]

Part 3 [MP3]

Part 4 [MP3]

Part 5 [MP3]

Part 6 [MP3]

The substance of the lectures – indeed, the substance of JB’s public ministry – is articulated in his hymn, ‘I know not how to pray, O Lord’:

1. I know not how to pray, O Lord,
So weak and frail am I.
Lord Jesus to Your outstretched arms
In love I daily fly,
For You have prayed for me.

2. I know not how to pray, O Lord,
O’erwhelmed by grief am I,
Lord Jesus in Your wondrous love
You hear my anxious cry
And ever pray for me.

3. I know not how to pray, O Lord,
For full of tears and pain
I groan, yet in my soul, I know
My cry is not in vain.
O teach me how to pray!

4. Although I know not how to pray,
Your Spirit intercedes,
Convincing me of pardoned sin;
For me in love He pleads
And teaches me to pray.

5. O take my wordless sighs and fears
And make my prayers Your own.
O put Your prayer within my lips
And lead me to God’s throne
That I may love like You.

6. O draw me to Your Father’s heart,
Lord Jesus, when I pray,
And whisper in my troubled ear,
‘Your sins are washed away.
Come home with Me today!’

7. At home within our Father’s house,
Your Father, Lord, and mine,
I’m lifted up by Your embrace
To share in love divine
Which floods my heart with joy.

8. Transfigured by Your glory, Lord,
Renewed in heart and mind,
I’ll sing angelic songs of praise
With joy which all can find
In You alone, O Lord.

9. I’ll love You, O my Father God,
Through Jesus Christ, Your Son.
I’ll love You in the Spirit, Lord,
In whom we all are one,
Made holy by Your love.

[For those who may be interested, I have included this hymn in my essay ‘“Tha mi a’ toirt fainear dur gearan”: J. McLeod Campbell and P.T. Forsyth on the Extent of Christ’s Vicarious Ministry’, published in Evangelical Calvinism: Essays Resourcing the Continuing Reformation of the Church (eds. Myk Habets and Robert Grow. Pickwick Publications, 2012).]

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