We generally don’t consider the Lord’s Prayer a particularly exciting passage. Many of us have prayed this prayer since childhood. We think we already know how to pray. But in this passage we hear the disciples asking Jesus to teach them how to pray. We would think they would already know how.
In church we often assume others already know how to pray. This passage confronts us and our culture at a time when people are seeking prayer rituals, reading self-help books, and desiring genuinely deeper spirituality. Perhaps we should examine all of these “spiritual” things in light of the prayer Jesus teaches his disciples. Surely, Jesus’ life was prayer-filled. We read about his praying in a variety of situations: at baptism, before choosing the Twelve, while on the Cross. Jesus models prayer for those who follow him. We know his disciples pray and fast. Yet, they want a deeper understanding of how to pray. And so begins the lesson.
Half of this prayer discusses what God wants from us. Jesus teaches us that prayer is grounded in humility and dependence upon God to keep us spiritually strong. Acknowledging these helps us approach prayer and leads us to the genuine spirituality we seek.
Still, knowing how to pray is never as important as the act of praying. And, while there are many ways to pray, trust your own heart. Let your needs spill honestly from your heart. Praise God sincerely for blessings and goodness. Thank God for the deep love we know through Christ. And wait patiently.
As you pray today, be concerned with your “how,” but be more concerned with your “what.” You can even just sit still and spend time focused on God. Let your soul have fellowship with the heart of God and be nourished by God’s presence.
Lord, when I don’t know how to pray, open my heart to feel your love in the quiet stillness. Amen.
Hosea can be a difficult book. This prophet is called to live with an unfaithful wife as an image of how Israel is unfaithful to God. Yet even in this initial statement of judgment, God includes a promise of restoration. Psalm 85 appeals to God’s steadfast love. God has become angry with the people for their unfaithfulness, and the people appeal for God’s mercy, which they are confident they will receive. The Colossians reading warns against replacing or even supplementing the simple truth of the gospel with human wisdom, religious rules, or anything else. We have fellowship with Christ through our faith. Jesus teaches us to ask God for what we need and for what we want just as we would ask a human parent.
Read Hosea 1:2-10. How is God reminding you of your covenant relationship?
Read Psalm 85. When have you needed to pray for restoration in your life? in your relationships with family and friends? in your relationship with God?
Read Colossians 2:6-19. Paul teaches us the value of community. How has your community restored you as you seek to be like Christ?
Read Luke 11:1-13. How has praying regularly changed you? If you do not pray regularly, start a practice now. Look for the ways it changes you.
Respond by posting a prayer.