Prayer is basic. Prayer is Faith 101. Prayer is to faith what breathing is to life. We just gotta do it. Eugene Peterson writes in his The Jesus Way, “Prayer is the street language that we use with Jesus who walks the streets with us. It is the only language available to us as we bring our unique and particular selves” to God.
The challenge of prayer, though, is how easy it is to cheat. I’m thinking about God. Doesn’t that count? Maybe, but not necessarily. I’m singing along to Q102.7. Doesn’t that count? Maybe, but not necessarily.
I’m trying. Doesn’t that count? Actually, yes, that does count every time.
Jesus taught us to pray, “Our Father in heaven…” (Matthew 6:9-13; Luke 11:1-5). This Lord’s Prayer is not the only prayer we’re ever to pray. Jesus himself uses other words in prayer, so clearly he can’t intend these to be the only words we speak. Instead, we understand that his prayer serves also as a sort of outline for authentic prayer as God intends it.
The Lord’s Prayer teaches us that authentic prayer is God-centered. It’s addressed, after all, to God. Not luck. Not fate. Not the universe. Prayer begins with God. [Read more…]