Prayer. Probably one of the most opinion-rich topics in Christianity, how you learn to pray depends on who you are learning from. I have been taught many different ways to pray. But I have felt like one things was lacking….did I know what the Bible had to say about it? That answer was, not fully. Once again, this bothered me. I don’t feel as if I need to have a complete mastery of the nuances of prayer, but I think having a good handle on the basic premises would be a great idea.
One thing which hit me in this study was the question, “Have you ever seen God respond specifically to your prayer in a supernatural way?” I’m not sure if I can answer “yes” to the question. I would like to think I have seen a supernatural answer; like an on-the-spot response from God. But one doesn’t readily come to mind. I have seen prayers answered, but not the in-a-flash answer I think of.
I don’t see myself praying like the early church. My prayers seem so shallow and off the mark when you compare them with what we see in Scripture. My devotion to praying is lackluster and I can find a hundred reasons to skip it. I cannot help but wonder why that is. I can do a lot of the other markers such as taking time to read the Bible, gathering with other, and so forth. For some reason, I cannot seem to get into the habit of walking in a pattern of prayer.
The content of my prayers is very different from the prayers I find in the Bible. I tend to pray selfish prayers. I tend to pray small prayers. I pray for things I can accomplish myself. While I think it is ok to pray about the small things, I often wonder if God gets sick of my lack of faith in his ability to pull off the big stuff. I’m sure he cares about the nickel and dime stuff, but I think God may want to hear about the million-to-one long shots too.
When it comes to The Lord’s Prayer, found in Matthew 6, I was never told to pray those exact words. I was always told we were to pray “like” that…as in the same themes. But I don’t see that when I read the words Jesus said. He said, “This then is how you should pray…” Not “like this”. This. I don’t think I have ever prayed the prayer.
One thing really stood out to me as I went through this module. I have glossed over the words “Give us today our daily bread” time and time again as I have read these verses and it has never dawned on me that this prayer was supposed to be prayer in a group of people. Give “us” this day “our” daily bread are the words used. How many times have I prayed this prayer by myself thinking I was doing what Jesus said to do. I was so off the mark.
God wants to answer our prayers, just like a loving father wants to give his kids good gifts. He wants us to ask him for things. He wants us to communicate with him (even though he knows what we are thinking). That’s what relationships are all about.
My understanding of prayer has always come from what other people have told me to be true. I have never investigated what Jesus himself has to say about it. I think it may be time to change that. I pray the Holy Spirit gives me a new outlook on what prayer is and how to do it properly.