Explore the profound significance of prayer in the Christian faith through lessons on obstacles, history, theology, personality, and transformative practices, with a focus on Augustine's insights into the Psalms.
Number of lessons: 19

About This Class

This class on prayer offers a rich tapestry of insights and wisdom, drawing from various perspectives and historical figures. Throughout the lessons, you'll uncover the profound importance of prayer in the Christian faith. It begins by addressing the challenges faced in a secularized world, where prayer often seems inadequate. You'll explore the historical backdrop of faith missionaries who relied solely on prayer, like George Müller and Hudson Taylor, and the personal journey of the speaker who grappled with feelings of inadequacy. The journey continues with a deep dive into Augustine's teachings on prayer, where you'll discover his profound views on the Psalms and their transformative potential. Ultimately, this class emphasizes that prayer is not a mere ritual but a dynamic and...

About the Professor

James Houston

James Houston, pivotal in Regent College's inception, served as its Principal and later as Chancellor and the Board of Governors’ Professor of Spiritual Theology. Originally an Oxford University Lecturer, he facilitated Regent's affiliation with the University of British Columbia in 1974. Houston also co-founded the C.S. Lewis Institute in Washington, DC. His academic focus spans Christian classics to historical theology. A notable author, his works include "The Mentored Life" and collaborations like "The Psalms as Christian Worship: A Historical Commentary." Houston's contributions to Christian academia and literature are profound.
James Houston


  • Insight into struggles in prayer, influence of great prayer warriors, historical background of faith missionaries, breaking through barriers, unique prayer relationship, theology and prayer connection, paradoxical detachment, prejudice against contemplative prayer, embracing authenticity in prayer.
  • Gain insight into the significance of prayer in Christianity. Despite secular endorsement of meditation, Christians often overlook prayer. Balancing cognitive approaches through meditation fosters transformation, while struggles with intangibility and sustainability persist. Honesty, transparency, and trust in God are crucial.
  • Gain insight into the indispensability of prayer for salvation, its central role in the Christian faith, and the need to cultivate a prayerful life for growth and holiness. Understand prayer's transformative power, sensitivity to sin, and rejection of cultural obstacles. Embrace a counter-cultural stance and discernment in action.
  • Discover the misunderstandings surrounding prayer, such as perceiving it as a habitual practice, reciting prayers without genuine belief, relying on it as a magical substitute, and recognizing prayer as a profound spiritual relationship.
  • This lesson discusses the importance of prayer companionship and journaling, and the barriers to prayer such as anger, unforgiveness, timidity, woundedness, prejudice, childhood emotions, and distorted self-images, emphasizing the need for simplicity, rejoicing, constant prayer, gratitude, and humility in overcoming these obstacles.
  • Explore theologians' perspectives on prayer, from absolute dependence to God's rule. Discover Bonhoeffer's friendship concept and Von Balthasar's contemplative approach. Embrace parrhesia, boldness in prayer.
  • You will gain knowledge and insight into the relationship between prayer, temperament, and personality, understand the influence of the herd instinct and the dangers of exaggeration, explore different prayer styles, and grasp the importance of individuality and authenticity in personal prayer, along with an understanding of diverse experiences of God's presence in the Gospels.
  • You will gain insight into the cultivation of gracious affections for God, understanding that they are initiated by God's grace, implanted through a new heart and spirit. Gracious affections are directed towards God, bringing about new sensing, a profound conviction, and a transformed life of humility, gratitude, and praise.
  • Expand your understanding of the transformative power of religious affections. Discover the distinction between temperament and personality, the signs of change, and the practicality of living out these affections in day-to-day life. Embrace gentleness, simplicity, and an insatiable hunger for God.
  • By engaging with this lesson, you're embarking on a journey to understand the transformative power of art through Rembrandt's works and how different personality types influence our spiritual practices, based on psychological theories developed by Carl Jung and others.
  • Engaging with this lesson provides you with an understanding of the Enneagram, its benefits, and potential risks. You gain knowledge about self-awareness and uncovering addictive tendencies. The lesson emphasizes the dangers of overreliance on the Enneagram in an individualistic culture. It explores the fears driving addictive behaviors for each Enneagram type. Additionally, the lesson delves into the connection between the Enneagram and different prayer approaches, such as meditation, expressive prayer, and quiet prayer. Various books on the Enneagram are mentioned, offering diverse perspectives and applications.
  • This lesson offers a deep exploration of prayer, particularly Hesychasm, emphasizing the importance of the heart as the center of prayer and personal encounter with God, bridging the dichotomy between heart and mind, and viewing prayer as a sacrificial offering reflecting God's presence within us.
  • The lesson explores the significance of the desert in spiritual traditions, emphasizing solitude, silence, and poverty of spirit. The desert is a metaphor for the soul devoid of God's presence. Solitude creates space for God, silence brings peace, and poverty of spirit liberates from attachments. It's a transformative journey of self-renunciation and spiritual growth.
  • The lesson explores the importance of stillness, silence, non-verbal communication, prayer, tears, and balanced asceticism in your spiritual journey, helping you integrate your whole person before God, express love through eye contact, and attune yourself to God's whisper of love guiding your actions.
  • In this lesson, Dr. Houston dives deeper into asceticism and its understanding of unselfishness. He will provide further insight into spiritual growth, enriched prayer, balanced discipline, and contextual forms promoting the Gospel. Through the lesson, you will understand the significance of celibacy, the reform against excesses, and the value of Hesychia for balance and symmetry.
  • Studying Augustine's life and teachings provides a comprehensive understanding of prayer, emphasizing inner reflectiveness, God consciousness, the exploration of inner space, dialogue between the city of man and the city of God, the concept of "memoria," the balanced view of the body, and the pursuit of true happiness in God.
  • In this lesson, you will learn that Augustine teaches that the inner life is a journey toward God, with constant change and new insights. It involves looking inwardly and upwardly, using our abilities of reflection and relying on grace. Love, selflessness, and indwelling of Christ are emphasized. Memory becomes a treasure house of experiences with God. The city of man is self-love, while the city of God is ruled by love. Amor Dei encapsulates Augustine's teachings.
  • Gain insight into Augustine's transformative interpretation of the Psalms, which guide prayer, anticipate Christ's work, embody the community, inspire new songs, and provide moral guidance in personal and historical contexts.
  • In this lesson, you'll gain insight into Augustine's interpretation of the Psalms and their role in prayer. They symbolize union with the Trinity, cleanse us from sin, and lead us to praise and find joy in God's presence.

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