Thursday, August 18, 2011

How Do We Pray?

We all know what our prayers sound like: gimme. Gimme health, gimme comfort, (sometimes) gimme wisdom. But basically, in the church, we ask God to make people well. Our prayer requests are long lists for the doctor's office.

Our prayers don't look anything like Jesus's prayer. Remember? We all have it memorized.

Father in heaven, your name is holy.
I want this world to be ruled by You, just like heaven is. Right now. That's my first request.
Give me what I need to eat today, and don't give it to me until right when I need it.
Only forgive my sins when I've forgiven those who've hurt and damaged me.
Keep me away from Satan and sin. (my paraphrase)

That's pretty much it. No request for anything tangible, except for my next meal.  Oops - no, not my next meal. My meal right now. I'm not even supposed to ask God to show me where my next meal is coming from.

Jesus's prayer isn't a laundry list of anything. It's a practical acknowledgment of God's holiness, supremacy and power over everything, particularly me.

I woke this morning, thinking about that phrase, "Give us this day our daily bread." In other words, "Feel me just like you did the Israelites in the wilderness." Imagine spending 40 years wandering in a desert, with absolutely no food reserves. Hmm.What kind of child-of-God is that supposed to produce? A dependent one.

"Give me today, only the food that I need for today." Give me light only for the next step. Give me only my immediate needs, so I'll rely fully on you.

Yeah, that sounds so spiritual. Remember, you're asking God to do this to you. Do you really want Him to do it? Do you want Him to reduce you to the point where you don't know where tomorrow's breakfast is coming from? Where you don't have the  money to buy it? I doubt it. Do we realize that in that simple, memorized prayer, we are asking God for poverty?

Our poverty -- but His riches? How much do you trust Him?

I only ask these questions because our family is closer to this than we've ever been before. When I see friends post things online about loving a faithful God, trusting Him for everything, I wonder -- are they praying for God to impoverish them, so they will trust Him even more?

Next time you pray our Lord's prayer, pause before that phrase. Leave your laundry list of bodily ills at home. Pray for dependency. That's what Jesus prayed.

1 comment:

  1. the Lord bless you and keep you and cause his face to shine upon you and give you peace. My heart aches for you all. please send me your snail mail address. sending love and concern. liz

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