Thursday, January 17, 2008

Do we know how to pray?

Do we really know how to pray? We know how to ask for things. We know how to get frustrated when God doesn't give us what we want, the way we want it, and in the time we want it. But prayer is more about seeking God's wisdom, listening to God, and giving ourselves over to God. It is more than taking time out of our day for a particular "time" of prayer. It is about communing with God throughout the day. (For more on this you can see my blogs on "The Practice of the Presence of God," June 21, 2007 - October 24, 2007)
The disciples realized that they didn't know how to pray. So they specifically asked Jesus to teach them to pray in Matthew 6:9-13. Jesus' answer has become known as The Lord's Prayer. 9"This, then, is how you should pray:
" 'Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10your kingdom come,
your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
11Give us today our daily bread.
12Forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.'"
It is a prayer that reminds us of the holiness of God and God's name, the importance of seeking God's will and God's purpose, the understanding that our basic needs are provided by God, our need to be forgiven and to forgive, and seeking God to help us from succombing to temptation. While it is good to know and pray this prayer, it should also be used as a guideline of what prayer is (a communing between us and our creator), and the kind of things we should pray for. Do you notice that there isn't any praying for material possessions, or for fame or success?
In my next blog I will continue this discussion. Tell me what you think.