‘…Lord teach us how to pray…’ (Luke 11:1)
Prayer is the most powerful ‘gift’ we have been given by our Lord, yet, sadly. It is perhaps not used as often as it should be or in the way it should be. Prayer is essentially a dialogue between ourselves and God and in these few short verses, Luke 11:1-4, Jesus, in answer to the request of His Disciples, outlines what lies at the heart of any personal prayer we might take before the Lord. An acknowledgement of the holiness and glory of God, an acknowledgement of our dependence upon Him to supply our needs, an acknowledgement of our need for His forgiveness, an acknowledgement of our need to forgive others and an acknowledgement of our need for His strength and guidance to help us through each day.
But of course we can come to the Lord in prayer for many reasons other than personal reasons. Praying for the specific needs of others, praying for those in authority to govern us in accordance with the teachings of God, praying the Church of our Lord that it may flourish and grow, praying for those in areas of the world where there is famine, drought, conflict, poverty and depravation, praying for the homeless and the refugee – and I’m sure there are many more you could add.
No matter what form our prayers take, however, there are a few things we need to remember. First of all we need to believe – we need to believe in our heart and soul, with every ounce of our being, that God will listen and God will answer. However, we need to accept that the answer may not come in the manner or timeframe that we want it to. We also need to remember to allow time in our prayers to listen – to listen for that small voice of God speak gently to us as we speak to Him.
Prayer is not, or should not be, a ‘mechanical ritual’ that we go through. It is an opening of our heart to the Lord that we might commune with Him and draw close to Him – and there is nothing else compares to it when it comes to entering in to a deep and meaningful relationship with our Lord.