Teach Us to Pray, Part 2

The problem of praying in relationship with God rather than just speaking a list of requests in prayer, mentioned in my previous post, always seems to come down to a problem of hearing. That's because we can speak to God, but we often have trouble hearing God, distinguishing God's voice from the voice in our head, or the voices around us. Or perhaps we listen but hear only silence. This is not a new problem. Christians have throughout history--ever since Jesus taught us to pray, and I will post on the LORD's prayer in the near future--struggled to hear God's voice in their praying. We are not used to sitting with silence, or quieting our own and other voices in our heads. We don't know how t

Teach us to pray....

Luke 11:1 "Lord, teach us to pray...." Why did the disciples, who grew up in a culture where they'd surely learned about and practiced prayer, ask Jesus to teach them how to pray? Why would we, a group of Christians who have devoted much of our lives to walking with Jesus and have certainly absorbed SOMEthing about prayer, need to learn to pray? A widespread teaching about prayer in evangelical circles is offered in the acronym ACTS (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication). Prayer should do all of these things, so the teaching goes; these four functions of praising, confessing, thanking, and requesting of God show a broad range of types of things humans might need to communicate

Prayer. Useless.

"I should pray more." So many Christians live their lives with the sense that if only they could find time and discipline to pray more, it would solve their problems--with God, with others, with themselves. In their understanding, prayer may be a useful practice that invites God to participate in their activities and pleads with Him to act on behalf of the world, their loved ones, and themselves. Prayer gets things done. Prayer changes the world. Prayer changes God's mind. But what if prayer is not useful at all? If "useful" is taken to mean a helpful means of accomplishing our own objectives and our own will--as in deciding ourselves what we need and begging God for it, because we think we


The Christian faith is all about love. It's been called the "world's great love religion." The most basic principle of Christian teaching is that the Incarnation of Jesus, his becoming human, happened because of God's love for us. Our kids' songs proclaim it: "Jesus loves me, this I know...." If Yet I know a woman who after more than two decades of following Christ was still struggling with this most primary teaching, to the point that she found it difficult to tell the preschoolers in her Sunday School class that Jesus loved them. She knew the teaching, but she realized that she wasn't experiencing God's love in her daily life. Whenever she talked about how much God loved them, she felt sh