Lord, Teach Us To Pray

Monday’s post looked at how many people want to know things about prayer, but they do not want to learn and practice prayer itself.

My wife was raised in an independent Baptist church. She was taught that all prayers must come directly from the heart. She was disturbed when a pastor had written a prayer and read it as part of a service. It couldn’t have come from the heart because he read it. But, I would ask, wasn’t it in his heart when he wrote it (Baptist, had to be a “he”)? 

Similarly, she was trained to be derisive about “reciting” the Lord’s Prayer (the Our Father). If you are merely reciting words written 2,000 years ago, it obviously isn’t from your heart.

I would say that “praying” the Lord’s Prayer gave a structure to a prayer. It reminds me (us) of the different things we should be weighing on our heart. 

  • Oh, yes, there is someone I need to forgive.
  • Oh, yes, I can pray for something I need today.
  • Oh, yes, I can ask for protection from something bad that may happen to me or others.
  • I need to remember to acknowledge God as the power in my life as in others.

This Renovaré podcast conversation with Nate Foster (Richard J. Foster’s son) and Mon­i­ca and Jere­my Cham­bers about how they pray the Lord’s Prayer inspired me to go deeper into using this short and simple, yet deep and comprehensive, prayer template in my own daily meditations.

Here is a version translated by the ever thoughtful Dallas Willard:

Dear Father, Always near us,

May your name be treasured and loved,

May your will be done on earth in just the way it is done in heaven.

Give us today the things we need today,

And forgive us our sins and impositions on you

As we are forgiving all who in any way offend us.

Please don’t put us through trials,

But deliver us from everything bad.

Because you are in charge,

And you have all the power,

And the glory too is all yours—forever—

Which is just the way we want it!

Dallas Willard

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