Thursday, July 24, 2008
DO YOU KNOW HOW TO PRAY?
The painting is by Nicolaes Maes
One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, "Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples." [Luke 11:1]
If you are a Christian already, does the peak of your prayer life consist of nodding in agreement when the Preacher prays, while your mind wanders off in all directions?" You can do better than that. A lot of people who call themselves Christian do not know God as a living, personal God. They need to learn how to make that connection with him and to do that, you have to know Jesus. As you learn about Jesus, you come to know God for they are one and the same. I know there are poeple who were raised in the church, and yet they do not have a personal relationship with Jesus. No wonder they don't know how to pray! They don't know him.
The woman in the picture is giving thanks to God for her food. That is prayer in it's simplest form. Jesus gave us a perfect example of how to pray when he gave us the scriptures we know as the Lord's Prayer in Luke 11:2. Now, he was not giving us a prayer to memorize and recite. It was to serve as an example of how to pray.
In Psalm 100 it says: Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and praise his name. That's where you start. Thank him for the blessings he has given you. Praise him and give him all the glory for the good things in your life. Prayer is not about what you need. God knows what you need. Prayer is about spending time with him. Get to know the one who made you and loves you.
Prayer is not just words alone. It is the offering of our heart, mind, imagination and our whole self to God. Even if you just sit in silence, God is with you. He hears your silent prayer.
Let his peace surround you as you sit quietly. Let the hurry and worry of your life fall away from you. God loves you and cares for you. He is here with you now – and always. Speak to him slowly and thoughtfully.
Lord in heaven, please listen to all those who are praying to you now. Those who are sad and crying, those who have lost friends and family, those who are alone and frightened. Help them to remember, that you are there and you are listening. Amen