How We Ought To Pray

Posted in Uncategorized by Stephen Stonestreet on May 29, 2011

“When you are praying, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Pray then this way.”

“Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed by your name,
Your kingdom come,
Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins,
As we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial
And deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and forever. Amen.

I just began a new book this evening called Lord, Teach Us: The Lord’s Prayer & the Christian Life by William H. Willimon & Stanley Hauerwas. The first chapter, as the last book I read by Willimon, has blown me away already. Here are some quotes from the book:

Think of Christianity, not primarily as a set of doctrines, a volunteer organization, or a list of appropriate behaviors. Think of Christianity as naming a journey of a people.

To be a Christian is to have been drafted to be part of an adventure, a journey called God’s kingdom.

Prayer is a bending our lives toward God… This prayer is not getting what we want but rather for bending our wants toward what God wants.

Most of us have been taught that religion is something we ought to choose for ourselves. We don’t remember being taught this because choosing for ourselves is a value so widely held in this society, so firmly sanctioned by the economic order and the government, that choosing for ourselves seems natural, innate. In so believing we demonstrate how well a consumer society has formed us, turning our lives into a mere matter of consumer preference without our even remembering when we were taught this.

Salvation, Christian salvation, is not some individual relationship between me and God. Rather, salvation is being drafted into an adventure, having our lives commandeered by God to go on a journey called the Christian faith.

Being saved is not some individual achievement, not the result of some flash of personal insight, not the securing of life’s sense of meaning… Salvation is the delightful surprise of having your little life caught up in the purposes of God for the whole world. 

I look forward to expressing further thought on The Lord’s Prayer, probably one of the most important teachings from Jesus. It seems that most everything of true and utter importance that anyone should follow is found in this prayer.

And it wasn’t a prayer like the Gentiles (or pagans — or modern day Christians who like to try and get God attention and make him do something for us, if he didn’t know what we needed already). It is so important to realize the importance of prayer in simplicity.

As my Grandfather said several months before passing –

“Why don’t we stop praying and DO SOMETHING.”

I think it is about time this started to take root.

Lets not stop praying, but stop praying with aimless amount of words. Lets pray this prayer, “Our Father”, over and over and over again, embedding like HTML coding the words in our minds, so that our response to God through this prayer will drift like flood waters into our daily actions.

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