The disciples ask to be taught to pray by Jesus, right after he has finished praying. They have seen him do this a number of times in their sojourn with him and have finally gotten up the nerve to ask, So just how do you do that thing you do?
Jesus gives them what we have termed "The Lord's Prayer", or in more catholic circles "The Our Father". This is a fairly simple and straightforward teaching and manner of prayer. There are five steps: 1)Praise God's name; 2)Acknowledge God's will in the world and ask that God's kingdom come among us; 3)Give us food to sustain us; 4)Forgive our sins and trespasses as we are to forgive all those who sin/trespass against us; and 5)Save us from doom. Pretty simple and direct and at the same time pretty mysterious.
Jesus goes on to say pray constantly, pray incessantly, keep asking, keep knocking...be persistent for as parents provides for their child, so too God will provide for us. I think if we live in a state of prayer, where we are constantly praying, God does respond, in surprising and sometimes un-noticed ways. By praying A LOT, our world view changes. We start to realize that all that we have, and all that we are, and all that we can and will be, are God's doing. By praying constantly we are in communication with God, we are in a conversation: perhaps sometimes seemingly a one-sided conversation, but in truth that is only a "seemingly thing". We declare ourselves as one of God's people by following these five simple prayer steps and our world-view changes: we realize that everything we have is God's, and that makes it easier to share with those who don't have, are not as fortunate, are in need of seeing God through our generosity.
Praying transforms lives: perhaps not immediately, but over time, over a lifetime, we are different people. We are God's people.
Copyright 2008, John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.