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Model Prayer

February 12, 2017
Pater Noster Chapel, Jerusalem, with multiple translations of

Pater Noster Chapel, Jerusalem, with multiple translations of the Lord’s Prayer on chapel walls, Author Magrietha Knight (CC BY-SA 4.0 International)

My prayer life is no model for anyone.  Prayer can bring me to tears.  But I sometimes abandon it altogether, overwhelmed by the emotion it can evoke.  Other times, I avoid prayer out of a feeling of abject unworthiness.

Snippets

During the day, I pray most often in short snippets:  “Jesus, bless those boys over there with the basketball.  Keep them from harm.”  “Would You help me find my glasses, Lord?  I’ve managed to lose them again.”  “Draw their hearts back to You, Lord.  I beg You.”  “Father, forgive my impatience, my anger.  Will I never learn?”  “Oh, my God!?  Please, protect the Syrian refugees, and civilians being bombed.  Please, please, watch over our troops.”  “Tell me what to do, Lord!”

I do not know what the Lord makes of these pleas.  However, if I delay in addressing Him, I fall immediately prey to perfectionism.  That only serves as an obstacle, interfering with prayer.

Confession

Growing up in the Catholic faith, I could confess my deficiencies to a priest, and be absolved of them.  God, of course, knew them already.

But an examination of conscience is as necessary as weeding.  It roots out the thoughts and behaviors competing with God for our time and attention, the thoughts and behaviors gradually drawing us away from God.

Brokenness

I pray when the world has taken its toll, and I am broken.  I pray when old, familiar demons plague me – anxiety, depression, migraines to name a few.

Night Watches

Most of my profound communication with God takes place during the stillness of the night watches.  It helps that I have insomnia (LOL).

I pray for friends and loved ones, and for those who write to me.  World events frequently move me to pray about people or issues.  And inspiration, for which I have no way to account, at times flows through my pen (these days, my computer). 

The Lord’s Prayer

But the Lord, Himself, gave us a model prayer as our guide:

Now it came to pass, as He [Jesus] was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, as John [the Baptist] also taught his disciples.’

So He said to them, ‘When you pray, say:  Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.  Your kingdom come.  Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven.  Give us day by day our daily bread.  And forgive us our sins, For we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us.  And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one’ “ (Luke 1: 1-4).

There is no magic attached to this prayer.  We need not repeat it verbatim or a specific number of times for the prayer to be effective.

” ‘And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do.  For they think that they will be heard for their many words.  Therefore do not be like them.  For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him‘ “ (Matt. 6: 7-8).

Our Value in God’s Eyes

What the Lord’s Prayer shows us is that we have a familial relationship to God, and that He is concerned for both our physical and spiritual well-being.

Unworthiness does not come into play.  We are all unworthy before an infinitely holy God.  But we are not worthless in His eyes.

Just the opposite is true.  God views us as having infinite value.  He gave His Son for our sakes:

For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him(2 Cor. 5: 21).

Because of that, we may approach the throne at will, unworthy and ineloquent as we are.

READERS CAN FIND MY VIEWS ON ABUSE AND ABUSE-RELATED ISSUES AT ANNA WALDHERR A Voice Reclaimed, Surviving Child Abuse http://www.avoicereclaimed.com

21 Comments
  1. Short snippets of prayer may be more acceptable to God than the prayers we make when we spend time just praying. When i offer short prayers I always mean what I pray. When I spend time in prayer I find that sometimes I simply go over the names on my prayer list without really thinking about the people I am praying for.

  2. Such a wonderful post! Thank you Anna.

  3. I agree with Clyde; snippets are great, and probably always a reflection of what is really on our minds, instead of some made up stuff just to fill time. I do that a lot. Thanks for this, Anna

  4. As long as you’re praying to Him, I don’t think He cares what form it’s in. I do the same as you. Sometimes I have a day long conversation in my head with Him…lol on those days I think, it’s a good thing He is Lord, or I’d have worn him out with all the talking to Him I did that day 🙂 God Bless you.

  5. Anna, I can’t even describe how good this post is! Every word is wonderful. I never worry about my prayers, because God has told me often enough that He doesn’t care about style or content–as long as I’m communicating with Him, we’re good! When I’m not doing well (alien invasion/depression), I tend to shut down–and shut Him out. When I recognized I was doing that recently, I began a prayer of apology–which He quickly stopped. He reminded me that I don’t need to apologize, explain, or defend myself to HIM–HE KNOWS EVERYTHING, and He’s not judging. He just wants me to “get it out”, so He can move the mountain and bring me into the green valley again. He is SO Good to me! God bless you, Angel Anna ❤

  6. I too pray in snippets and its amazing. Though, most times I catch myself doing it is when I need something from God. Like, the healing of a love one, God’s devine intervention on a situation, God’s wisdom. He always answers my prayer. Right now, I will like to be more Thanksgiving, even if its in snippets. I notice that sometimes, we forgot to Thank God after he had fulfilled our prayers.

    Thanks for sharing this reminder.

  7. Thanks Anna for the inspiration.. and love for others
    May you be blessed ~ Luke 6:38 🙂

  8. Lately I’ve been beginning my “quiet time”/concentrated prayer time with this: “Thank You, Lord, that I can come boldly to Your throne–because I am the righteousness of God, In Christ (2 Cor 5:21).” This has helped me to establish/remind myself (not Him) of my position–before I start a humble ramble of both gratitude and petitions. And it also reminds the enemy that he’s messing with the wrong gal! 🙂 God bless you hugely, Anna ❤

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