I have just joined a new forum for Aussie Christians, and I was asked to post something on prayer. This is what came to mind:
I was asked to write something about prayer, which is a huge topic (and I don’t know what sort of thing you had in mind!)
So what came to mind was the simplicity of prayer. I have a growing conviction that we make prayer a lot more complicated than the bible does. When I look at some significant answers to prayer in my own life, none of those prayers had anything ‘magic’ about it, Ever noticed how, when you’re seriously engaged on some issue, techniques and other people’s systems tend to get thrown overboard?
I think it is significant that when the disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray they didn’t get a lecture on developing more impressive faith or get shown some deep doctrinal secret, they got given a model prayer whose most outstanding characteristic is its .. simplicity! What do we find here?
# an acknowledgement that we come in prayer to a father who loves us
# He is holy, and He is about the business of His kingdom, and expects us to want that too – our values in prayer should be kingdom values
# We can bring Him all our human needs (daily bread) we don’t have deny our humanity or spiritualise everything. He knows what we are and he knows how needy we are (do we?)
# we always need forgiveness (and we are never so messed up that we can’t ask for it)
# we need His protection
I think the heart of prayer is nakedness – to seek God in that way is to take off all our pretenses and simply be our needy selves before him.
If there’s a second principle it is to let our prayer be Spirit-led. Half the time we don’t even know how to pray for the things that are most important to us .. so why not acknowledge that as part of our neediness and let Him teach us that too?