Time with God: An Interview with J.I. Packer - page 3


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Knowing & Doing

From the Winter 2016 issue of Knowing & Doing:  

Time with God: An Interview with J.I. Packer

Professor of Theology at Regent College

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  Then, it comes around in due course that it’s breakfast time and on with the day’s work. I try during the day to remember whom I belong to and whom I’m serving. I do try to cultivate, to practice what they call “arrow prayers,” when you’re constantly making remarks or offering questions or reactions or praises to God as you go along. It’s called in some circles “the practice of the presence of God.” I’m not very good at it, but I try to do it, and it does become more and more of a habit the more you try. So that I’m attempting, you see, to live consciously in God’s presence as the day goes on.
  In relationships I try to remember that I must behave godly, and I try to control my tongue and my temper and sometimes my impatience. And certainly when I’m in any sort of relation to another human being, I try to focus my interest on that human being and ask myself, do I have any ministry to this human being? The answer may be yes, the answer may be no, but at least one tries to act friendly and respectful and affirmative and warm in all these relationships.
  I have to fight my natural tendencies to shy withdrawal; that’s the error in my make-up, and I have to counter it; well, I try to counter it. None of us ought to allow ourselves to fall victims to our own temperaments, so it’s rather important that at some stage we should do an inventory of our temperament and discover what our natural inclinations are and discern where there are weaknesses and where there are changes that could be made with advantage.
  And then eventually comes bedtime, but by bedtime, I am personally bushed! So I don’t attempt to do any serious praying at night. I wish God good-night, and off to sleep.

  What counsel would you give to those involved in church planting and disciple making?
  I would say, understand that making disciples means making learners. A friend of mine, recently deceased, published a book on this subject with this arresting title, Go Make Learners. That was his way of paraphrasing “Go and make disciples.” Disciples are learners. That’s what the word means, and of course there won’t be learning unless there’s teaching.

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