Pentecost 10 :: Learning to Pray

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Norwich, England at dusk

How do you pray? Do you get on your knees and clasp your hands together and entreat God for whatever you need or want? Do you sit quietly in your favorite chair and still yourself before the presence of the Holy One and wait to hear? Do you send out little prayers throughout the day? \[I call these “popcorn” prayers, because they just “pop” into my mind and “pop” out into the world.] Do you spend long periods of time with God in conversation?

I suppose there are just as many different ways to pray as there are sands on the beach or stars in the heavens. Most folk probably pray for all sorts of things and people and conditions. Others don’t pray for anything in particular; just sitting in the silence, waiting for that “still small voice” seems enough for them.

Jesus spent a lot of time in prayer to God, whom he addressed as Father. We don’t know much about his private prayer—whether he assumed some particular posture or what he might’ve been praying about \[save for that time in the Garden of Gethsemane]. But we do know that his must’ve been powerful prayer indeed, for it gave him the strength to engage in the ministry to which he had been called, the ministry which culminated in the self-sacrifice of his life.

I guess that’s what he was trying to tell his disciples when they asked him for a prayer how-to: Prayer may be about asking for something, but it’s real purpose is to teach us how to give.

“Our Father in heaven…”

Link to RCL Lectionary for the Tenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year C

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