Today there was a scenario in the church that protrays the emergent of Christian Existentialism in the early 20th century. The scenario goes this way between Louis (chairman of the youth commitee) and Joel (one of the youth):
Louis: Where/how does prayer begins? Joel, what's your answer?
Joel: er... begins with "dear God..."
Louis: No. Prayer begins with us. Prayers begin with you and me.
Joel's answer represents the dead orthodoxy of the late 19th and early 20th century where Christianity has lost its theology to the critical inquisition and higher biblical criticism of the liberals. The gospel was been seen as a mere work of morality and good works. In James Sire's word, Christian theology was some kind of theological nihilism. Then rised the neo-orthodoxy (Karth Barth & Emil Brunner etc) that worked out a theology that is existential. Though Soren Kiekargaard was the first who founded this form of theology, it is not until the 20th century for it to came into wide recognition.
But then, neither are the right answer to Louis' question. The right answer was later presented by Ps. Peter Poon: "Prayers begin with God".