Sunday, September 14, 2014

Teach us to pray

Teach us to pray

All religions pray. God and prayer are inseparable. The ideas may be crude and cruel in pagan peoples, but they belong to the universal institutions of the human race. Only human beings pray.  The basis of prayer is sonship. It is natural for a child to ask of its father, and it is reasonable for the father to listen to the request of his child.  See Matthew 7:7-11, Luke 11: 5-13.


The apostles once asked the Lord – “Teach us to pray” Can prayer be learned? Some people pray using Rosary beads, just as others use prayer books- such praying may be perfectly sincere, and the devout may find in provided prayer a real help to devotion.

But it is not other people’s prayers that make the man of prayer. True prayer, the prayer that prevails, is personal, intimate and original. Hannah said “I have poured out my soul to God.” That is a prayer that is both acceptable and articulate. Elijah prayed in his prayer (prayed earnestly). He did not say prayers; he prayed in praying. His whole personality was in his supplication. He really wanted what he asked, and fervently meant what he said. Can that kind of prayer be taught?

The prayer that prevails is personal, intimate and original. [Tweet]

In prayers that prevail – routine reading of other’s words are neither acceptable to God nor profitable to man. They are what Jesus Christ called ‘vain repetitions’. Prayers are not judged or measured either by time or number, but by intensity. Jesus prayed long prayers – all night in prayer and He also prayed short prayers. But one thing is sure – He prayed persistently and frequently. There is no other way to learn to pray but by praying. If we do not know how to pray, we should not be discouraged but should rather pray more to know how to pray. Prayer has no language or vocabulary. We pray as we talk.

The song writer put the fact in the following words:

Prayer is the soul’s sincere desire
Uttered or unexpressed
The motion of a hidden fire
That trembles in the breast


Prayer is the simplest form of speech
That infant lips can try
Prayer the sublimest strains that reach
The Majesty on High


Prayer is not measured by your fluency and grammatical phraseology. It is not even measured by the number of Bible passages and promises you squeeze into it. It is measured by its sincerity, intimacy and originality.

Prayer is the greatest power under the heavens and without prayer we can do nothing, and with it we can do all things. Teach us Lord, how to pray.

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