Will You Pray With Me?

Did you ever look at the world and all that is going on and just feel powerless?  Well, the truth is, a lot of the time, you're right!  We don't have the power to prevent a hurricane.  We had no power from our homes to save the lives of those 13 brave soldiers serving in Afghanistan.  And while there are certain things we can do to prevent the spread of viruses, there are some thing we just can't control.  But let's not allow that to trick us into thinking that there's nothing we can do.  There is something we can do even when it seems like there's nothing that can be done.  We can pray.  So, let's do that!

I know that prayer can be intimidating.  We can sometimes feel the pressure to say the right words, to say enough words, to not say too many words.  The truth is, the whole point of prayer isn't about what we say or how long we say it.  The point of prayer is simply that we do it.  Jesus said the best prayers are the ones we say silently; the ones that are just a conversation between us and God.  So, we shouldn't let the intimidating sense of expectations get in the way of our conversations with God.  God doesn't want fancy words.  God simply wants us.  

But if you feel like you would like to try a structured prayer, I do have some resources for you in my office.  Let me know if you would ever like to borrow one!  One very helpful resource in particular is a book called "Let the Church Say Amen" by Laurence Stookey.  In it there are a lot of different forms of prayers and examples of prayers to be used in different situations.  I believe the most helpful is the basic form of prayer.  This, to me, is something we can all do no matter how experienced we are and no matter what we are praying for.  Here's a brief explanation of how to pray this basic prayer:

1.  Begin with the address...acknowledge who your prayer is for.  Of course, our prayer is for God.  Get on a first name basis with God.
2.  Attribution...giving God credit for something great that God has done.  This is a spiritual discipline that invites us to be intentional about looking for God's glory.  
3.  Petition...tell God what you are praying for.  Yes it is ok to ask God for things.  This form of prayer is teaching us that the petition shouldn't be the ONLY part of our prayer.  But it is certainly one part of it.
4.  Purpose...why do we want this thing that we are asking for?  What is the purpose of this prayer?  How are we going to make a positive difference in the world if this prayer is answered?  This keeps us in check, making sure we are asking for appropriate things that will benefit others, even if it also benefits us.  
5.  Closing...don't be shy about proclaiming the powerful name of Jesus!  "In Jesus' name" is always a great way to end a prayer!

Here's my example.  Let's see if we can identify the 5 pieces in my prayer.
"O Lord our God, thank you so much for giving all of us everything we need for healthy living; oxygen, the sun, food, drink and community.  Today I pray that you will guide us in our efforts to find ways that we can reach out in love to the family and friends of those who have been killed in our military, those who are suffering from disease and those who have lost their homes, their valuables or their lives in natural disasters.  We want to be the hands and feet of Christ, entering into the pain and bringing hope and love as we rebuild homes, lives and emotions.  I pray for all of this in the powerful name of Jesus the Christ.  Amen!"

Of course, when we just don't have words of our own, we can always say the Lord's Prayer.  Again, the main message here is that the act of praying is more important than the words we actually use.  Some prayers have no words at all, and that's ok.  What matters most is that we are intentional about communicating with and relating to our creator.  Amen.

1 Comment

Donna Hill - September 1st, 2021 at 2:38pm

Prayers and praises. Keeping it simple. Thanks for your message and example





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