Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Prayer is NOT Random Thoughts

So often I hear people pray at conferences, ecumenical gatherings, and even during Orthodox retreats, and I am saddened to hear what could otherwise be called a string of random thoughts. “Father this,” and “Jesus that,” often “Please Lord.” But when Jesus was asked how to pray, He offered a different example:
Gospel Reading: Luke 11:1-10 (RSV) - At that time, Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he ceased, one of his disciples said to him, "Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples." And 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 every one who is indebted to us; and lead us not into temptation.'" And he said to them, "Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, 'Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him'; and he will answer from within, 'Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything'? I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him whatever he needs. And I tell you, Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened."

The Orthodox Christian way of life is designed by God to assist us in preparing for eternity. When we attend Church services and read the prayers in our prayer books, we are learning to pray. Since the very first days of the Church, the Holy Apostles continued in the Holy Tradition of Christ by teaching us how to pray. Let’s face it. We are too wrapped up in our own agenda and ego to “create” words for a prayer. I guess that why it ends us sounding like a string of random thoughts so often. Let’s break the pattern and pray as we have been taught by the Church.

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