In the section on Faith and Prayer, Kelly draws out how the church has always held to the necessity of prayer and the help of the Holy Spirit to do theology properly.

In one interesting segment, he mentions the Jesus Prayer which I was first exposed to while reading [[ The Way of the Pilgrim ]] which is a classic in Orthodox literature, and is mostly about the Jesus prayer. I was turned off by the book as I felt they had supplied a magical incantational, eastern spirituality type of force to voluminous repetitions of this fact. However, Kelly mentions its ancient history and says

No doubt, this ‘Jesus prayer’ was connected to the much earlier kyrie eleison! found in the Mass of the ancient, undivided Church.

This gives me pause about rejecting the prayer outright, even if I wish to stay away from mystical abuses of it.

On the general topic of prayer as a pre-condition of theological understanding, he quotes #Calvin helpfully:

When we come to hear the sermon or take up the Bible, we must not have the foolish arrogance of thinking that we shall easily understand everything we hear or read. But we must come with reverence, we must wait entirely upon God, knowing that we need to be taught by His Holy Spirit, and that without Him we cannot understand anything that is show us in His Word.


  1. Kelly, Systematic Theology - Volume 1 pp. 52, 58
  2. [[ Calvin, Commentary on 2 Tim. ]] 3:16