Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Teach Us To Pray (part 1)

I sympathize with Jesus’ disciples when they asked Jesus to teach them to pray. Like them, Jesus has taught me so many other things that fly in the face of the religion I used to serve so devoutly. So what about the way I learned to pray? Hey Jesus, will you teach me to pray too?

Jesus has taken me through a long hard examination on the way I pray. It’s taken a long time, and I am not through yet. But with his steady support and help, I have learned more about what prayer really is. I’ve learned so much from my friend about what authentic prayer looks like. I love him for teaching me. I don’t claim to know everything by a long shot, and this is definitely not a formula to prayer. These are just tiny bits from my lessons from Jesus.


The first thing Jesus showed me personally about prayer, concerned the actual words I used when I prayed. Now, I would have never thought this really mattered to him, but I found out that it most certainly does. You can read his take on it in Matthew chapter 6. Jesus tells us not to use many words when we pray like the pagans do. What does he mean? Easy. He means not to use many words like the pagans do.

I used 100 words to say something that only required 10 words. I would never talk to my wife that way. I would never say, “Honey, I just ask right now, that you would reach your gracious arms down into the cloudy, dirty, and murky dishwater, and scrub the dishes with all your powerful dishwashing might. Oh yes dear wife! Right now in your name, dear Honey, I ask that you would wash. I come before you now and ask you to wash, dear Honey! Thank you dear Honey-bun, I know that you hear me and that you are going to wash the dishes because you promised you would Honey. Thank you my Honey. In Honey’s name, amen.

I’m sorry for the crude example, but it illustrates what Jesus showed me so clearly. He desperately wants to be our friend, but he can’t if we keep making him our religious statue. Jesus showed me that he wants me to really talk to him. Not chant to him.


Another important thing Jesus taught me about prayer concerns my own selfishness. I used to spend 99% of my prayer life asking for things. After all, I thought this was what prayer was. I came before God like I used to sit on Santa’s knee in the shopping mall. “Um, I want a bike, and a football, and…”

One night, I found in my concordance that the Greek word Jesus commonly used for prayer was a word that also meant to “worship.” In the Matthew 6, Jesus didn’t use the Greek word meaning to “beg,” he actually used a word that meant to “worship” and to “supplicate” as well.

What kind of friend am I, if the only time I ever speak to Jesus is to ask and beg for things? If my wife never spoke to me except to ask me for something, I wouldn’t have much of a marriage. If I never heard her speak except to ask questions, I would think that she was rather selfish. I want to know my wife’s heart, and how she feels. I want her to talk to me with complete honesty and vulnerability.

Asking for things is not terrible. In fact, Jesus wants us to ask and rely on him to supply our needs. I am not suggesting that we cease to ask God for anything. However, Jesus also wants us to simply hang out with him, and to listen to him speak. He wants us to love him and spend time with him, not just ask him for more toys. authored by Sean Dietrich www.seandietrich.com


At 9:51 AM, Blogger Ana Carolina Garrido said...

Hey!!! I love that you guys "blog" about the Word of God!! It's always a comfort to know that there are people who still cherish His Word and Wisdom in times of war and despair!!
May His LOVE be constantly with you all!!
Ana Carolina


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