Praying it is what we as Christians are asked to do on a daily basis, in good times, and bad times. Prayer is suppose to be as precious to us as breathing. Why then is it so intimidating to do? Why do people balk at praying? Why does everybody look to the pastor as the person who is the prayer professional? I think we are very much in the same boat as the people of the 1st century for whom this text was written. We feel that God only listens to the right language. The prayers we hear on television, on the internet, and in church seem to be full of flowery, theological (church language), and polished rhetoric. How can we as people who don't have reverend in our name hope to get God's attention?
This is where Jesus steps in today and shows us how to pray. Some interesting things about the prayer he teaches: (1) it is in Aramaic instead of Hebrew which is the language of most folks at the time where Jesus was at; (2) it is direct, in that it starts out "Our Father...", no fluffy language; and (3) it is for all, Jesus says anybody can do it, meaning you don't need any initials behind your name to pray. What Jesus was concerned with is what is on people's hearts. He wanted to give us a frame work so that we would feel at ease when we talked to God.
Now the prayer we hear Jesus pray in this text is not the Lord's prayer, which is a remix of some text from the Gospel of Matthew as well as the Gospel of Luke. However both of these prayers the one that Jesus uses and the Lord's prayer both help us do the same thing, which is to give us words and a frame work to use when we want to pray.
So what is holding you back from praying? Can't find the right words? Don't know how to begin? Jesus says God knows what is in your heart. God doesn't care whether you prayer is perfect. God just wants to hear from you, talk to you, and listen to you. This week, take some time, five minutes and just pray. Don't worry what to say, don't worry that it isn't "the right thing to pray about", and don't worry if it is too short. Give it a try. Then try it again, the next day and the next. When we do this, we begin to go from just believing in God to believing God. Then we can begin to see how God wants us to live, which is in relationship with God and that changes our lives.
Pastor Paul. I hope you find these reflections insightful and help you in your faith journey!