Teach Us To Pray

The disciples who followed Jesus around noticed that he often went away by himself to pray. They wondered, probably like I’ve always wondered, what did he say? How did he say it? Or was it listening in contemplation?

So, they asked him. Must be nice to go right to the source. (This is the way the story is told by Luke. Matthew records it as part of the Sermon on the Mount.)

And he gave them an example prayer—some call it the Lord’s Prayer and others call it the Our Father.

When you pray, this is what you can say.

This is a good template for certain kinds of our prayers. Jesus continues in Luke’s recording to teach on persistence. That is, don’t just sit and pray these words once. Make it a daily practice.

Are you like me? This prayer touches on essential things. Of course, when we pray, we most likely need to add personal examples.

But Jesus went off for hours. Surely he didn’t pray the Our Father continually for hours? I have sat often and prayed the Jesus Prayer for almost 30 minutes at a time (Lord Jesus Christ, son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.) But for hours?

One thing I do know—more people seem to want to talk about prayer than will actually practice prayer.

If you ask me about how to pray when we’re alone, I’ll lead you into how to sit, stand or lie; breathe; focus; relax; listen. Don’t be like when Janis Joplin sang Kris Kristofferson’s words, “Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz? My friends all drive Porsches, I must make amends…”

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