Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Teach Me How To Pray

Monday, May 30th, 2011
Today’s scripture: Matthew 6:5-13 (NRSV) (The Message) What might God be saying to me?

My thoughts (Robert Ferguson):

One of the most challenging aspects of this Christian walk (for me, anyway) is the instruction to pray daily and dedicate some of my time for conversation with God. For many years I have struggled with exactly how to pray, what to say while I am praying, and how to listen for responses from the Holy Spirit.

Our verse for today begins, “and when you pray”, an assumption that all of us surely do know the importance of prayer and act upon that. However, between the daily chores of life and the demands that others put on us we are sometimes hard pressed to find even a few quiet moments for time with God.

Event though we understand that the benefits are great, it seems like a daunting task. I have found that the early morning hours are the best time to sit down and talk with God. When we find a quiet time and go before God in sincere and earnest prayer God will deal with us directly, calm our minds, and prepare us for the everyday challenges that may lie ahead. Matthew encourages us today to find a private space, close the door, and speak to God.

When I was younger I felt unworthy to talk with God. I believed the only people who could pray to God were people in white robes — or at the very least, people in big hats. As I’ve gotten older I understand that God wants to hear from my heart. God wants an honest, genuine conversation with me without formalities and hype. It is so easy to get caught up in “proper” language and the “proper” position and the “proper” order of the words. But God tells us that when we pray, pray with sincerity of heart and a genuineness of spirit.

When I was 10 years old, my father moved out of our home. I lived for those times when he would come to visit me. I felt special and important. I was so excited when he would visit that I would talk his ear off, bringing him up to speed on all the happenings in 6th grade. During our long conversations, I wasn’t particularly concerned with the fact that he was my Dad and I was his son. I was more concerned with the fact that he wanted to listen and cared about my well being. That is how I should talk to God.

Free flowing conversation — my gratitude for another day, what it is that I should do with this day, my disappointments, my concerns for others, my accomplishments, my shame, my fears, and my dreams. Most importantly, we need to discuss with God what it is that God desires for us. We can talk about all these things with God just as easily as discussing the day’s events with a loved one.

Thought for the day: Have I dared to talk to God like I would my best friend?


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