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Lord, teach us to pray …

Some thoughts on prayer …
Prayer should be one of the most important and natural activities of Christian life. It is the main way we develop a relationship with God. Prayer is a relationship, not a ritual. It is not a torrent of mechanical and mindless words. It is a conversation with a loving God, Who we may call ‘Father’, or ‘Mother’, or ‘Lord’. There are many ways to address God given in the Bible. It is a vertical conversation, not a horizontal one.

woman_contemplatingHere are some steps you might take …
Find the time, find the place, plan what you’re going to do – are you going to read from your Bible, are you going to pray for groups of people, or an event in the news, or something that’s troubling you? Divide your time into three parts.

Preparing …
Maybe your Bible reading, or sitting and thinking about some situation on your mind.

Silence …
We find it increasingly hard in our noisy world to be silent. But it is something that helps us and calms us when we do it and become accustomed to it.

Praying …
Then pray, and perhaps divide the praying time into these parts: Thanking: Saying sorry (confessing): Asking (for yourselves, for others).

Some people will then say the Lord’s Prayer to round things off. After all, when the disciples asked Jesus, “Lord, teach us to pray”, this is the prayer that Jesus taught them.

Our Father
Which art in Heaven
Hallowed be Thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth
As it is in Heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the Kingdom, the power and the glory.

Some people keep a prayer diary, writing down the things they’ve prayed for, and reviewing it some time later to see how prayers have been answered, or not.

Remember, God has three different ways of answering our prayers – God can say yes, or no, or not yet. All are legitimate answers, whether we like them or not! A famous preacher once said, “I thank God that He is not prepared to do anything that I may chance to ask Him; I am profoundly grateful to God that He did not grant me certain things for which I asked, and that He shut certain doors in my face.”

It is sometimes hard when, in our prayers, God says no, or not yet. Sometimes we will not know during this life why this was the answer we got. The purpose of prayer, however, is not about how we may attempt to persuade God to do what we want, but to allow God, through our prayer, to shape and transform us so that we may become part of the answer to our prayer.

Please click here for more thoughts about prayer from the Church of Scotland website.