Thursday, December 15, 2011

How to pray when you don't know how to pray

When Jesus' disciples asked Him to teach them how to pray, He gave them what we call "the Lord's prayer" -- "Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name..."

When I don't know how to pray or what to pray for, I often pray this prayer. When I lie in bed at night, I often pray this prayer. In the morning when I wake up, I often pray this prayer.

The more I pray it, the more I realize it is not merely a formula of specific words to use like a mantra. These are categories of prayer . . . an outline of the theology of prayer . . . prayer launchers from which my prayers can rise and form . . . lessons about what and how I should pray . . .

The more I pray this prayer with understanding, the more I realize how little my prayers sometimes reflect the revealed will of God, or are qualified to be prayed "in Jesus' name" since that implies it would be what Jesus would pray for.

Here's a great discussion of the Lord's prayer by Francis Chan:

Lord, teach us to pray.

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