Prayer Is Not Difficult

Jude, the next-to-last book in the Bible, warns us about the dangers of trusting and following the wrong people. The writer advises prayer as the answer to building us up and keeping us on the right path.

When I first started on the meditative path many years ago, I was frustrated (I guess like the disciples) about the supposed lack of teaching about how to pray and meditate in the Bible. We are instructed to pray and to meditate and contemplate the Word.

Jesus went alone to pray, but we know nothing about his usual prayers. He did teach one time on the subject. The answer was not to pray like the religious people with big words and gestures and spectacle. He said to go by yourself and pray simply. He gave an example which we have turned into ritual–the Lord’s Prayer (or the Our Father).

This is basically just a conversation. Simple words. From the heart.

Last week at Willow Creek, Bill Hybels taught on the scene from ancient times when Elijah challenged the priests of Baal who had captured the official religious life of Israel. The priests of Baal prayed by shouting, dancing, cutting themselves. Elijah prayed just a simple prayer.

Sometimes in prayer, our focus may wander. So, we may repeat a phrase. Maybe one of the phrases of the Lord’s Prayer. Or a favorite verse. But this can be continually simplified.

It’s like when I first learned guitar after having been a percussionist. My friend said, remember that just two notes can be a chord. Just so, you can go to just one or two words. I repeat the word “God”. Others make like spirit. Or love. Just by sitting (or standing or walking or lying) and focusing on your word can calm your thoughts and cause you to enter into the presence of God.

Then you can focus your heart on what matters to you at the time. Even without words. Just focus on others, your ministry, yourself, whatever is a burden at that time.

Prayer is both simple and powerful. Try it sometime.

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