Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Teach Us to Pray

Jesus  was praying in a certain place, and after he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” He said to them, “When you pray, say:
Father, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread.
And forgive us our sins,
for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us.
And do not bring us to the time of trial.”
And he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; for a friend of mine has arrived, and I have nothing to set before him.’ And he answers from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been locked, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, at least because of his persistence he will get up and give him whatever he needs.
“So I say to you, Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for a fish, will give a snake instead of a fish? Or if the child asks for an egg, will give a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” Luke 11:1-13 

It has been difficult for me to write these past few weeks and even harder to know how to pray. Being human, when health and other challenges confront the people I love, I want to do something. Sometimes the only thing I can do is to pray. We all want to help in some way and hate feeling helpless and untethered. This daily time of reflecting on the scriptures and praying helps me to be re-grounded and shape my heart for gratitude, grateful for the incredible gift of a loving family and time with them.
The disciples come to Jesus to learn how to pray. He teaches them what we now call the Lord's Prayer, but in fact is a simple model of all prayer. Simple gratitude and simple requests are the language of prayer, the words that move us from distance to intimate relationship with God. God is always more ready to provide than we are to ask, more ready to release, forgive and make new than we are. So let this be a day of prayer, where we weave all our needs and thanksgivings into a wonderful tapestry of love for God and one another.
Today I ask God to teach me to pray in every moment. What lies before us is out of our control, and what was behind is the past. May our prayers this day bring us every closer to God and to one another.

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