In the process of completing theÂ Christian Devotional ClassicsÂ series, I was inspired to digÂ into material which I wrote on the prayer life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer forÂ Theology and Practice of Prayer.Â My intention had been to do such last fall, but I found my time too pressed with transitioning into my new role as Associate Director of the Emerging Scholars Network. I will begin the series with the introduction toÂ Who Am I? Dietrich Bonhoeffer as a Historical Mentor in Prayer. I am very interested in your thoughts/insights regarding the life, ministry, and academic writing/study not only of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, but also of the people of God whom he served (and/or tried to serve) during a significantly challenging period of German (and international) history.
How Dietrich Bonhoefferâ€™s (1906-1945) â€œtheology is interwoven with the course of his lifeâ€ (Eberhard Bethge 1997, viii) and the various influences upon it attracts attention from many circles. In addition to his writings, libraries abound with publications by popular biographers, family who survived World War II, close friends and acquaintances, pioneers of the liberation movements, members of the â€œdeath of Godâ€ movement, advocates of religionless Christianity, and those engaged in dialogue with patriotism, pacifism, and resistance. A number of movies, plays, and television shows attempt to act out the drama of Bonhoefferâ€™s involvement in the resistance to the Nazi party before and during World War II, which ultimately led to his hanging 23 days before the surrender of Nazi forces.
In what manner does one find Dietrich Bonhoeffer, whom Eric Metaxas calls Pastor, martyr, prophet, spy (Thomas Nelson,Â 2011), also a prominent figure in the history of Christian prayer for the church? Bonhoefferâ€™s conversion led to his acknowledgement of Christ as the Lord of all of life and the world, even in its â€œreligionless form.â€ He found and taught the historic liturgical practices of the church as vital to daily discipleship and the pastoral vocation. Bonhoefferâ€™s â€œrule of lifeâ€ incorporated the praying of the Psalms with an emphasis on their value at the beginning of a day filled with â€œrighteous action.â€ [Read more…] about Who Am I? Bonhoeffer as a Historical Mentor in Prayer: Part 1