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Teach us to pray....

September 7, 2019

 

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 to their heavenly Father. 
The problem is that this approach makes prayer into a monologue, where we do all the talking. 
How can we reframe our understanding of prayer to avoid monologue? Instead of feeling we have to do all the talking, we can open ourselves to receiving from Him. Rather than reciting a lengthy list of requests, why not present our minds and hearts to him, and let him know we'd like to hear from him and are open to receiving from him. Prayer is not just about communicating to God. It's about listening to him as well. The goal of prayer is relational: a loving personal encounter with God.
Questions for reflection:
1. How were you taught to pray?
2. How do you pray now?
3. How do you listen for God when you pray?
4. Do you feel your prayer is a loving, personal encounter with God?

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