We remind each other often that we are people of prayer. We know that prayer is many things. Prayer may quiet our restless minds. As such it may be our therapy. As the children of God in Christ we are invited to pray. When we fail to pray, or neglect our prayer life, our Christians spirits starve.
Last Sunday we discussed the word of God as the source of our life. Imagine the word as the air we breathe in, and prayer as the air we breathe out.
Prayer pairs well with many activities that fill our day–commuting, exercise, gardening. In fact these activities may be prayers. Begin with a trinitarian invocation–in the name of the Father, and of the Son….– and end with a word of thanks for the time you spent doing whatever you did.
Prayer need not be eloquent and measured and perfect. Sometimes prayers in public sound like short speeches to me, or like declamations or resolutions about one thing or another. These prayers may be earnest and well-meaning but sometimes they seem manipulative or coercive.
Prayer is nothing other than the humility of the Christian life–loving God and loving neighbor–alive in your day.
Prayer directs our attention and our thoughts in the two ways Jesus recommended–toward God and other people -Matthew 23 Prayer may be private and quiet but even when we pray alone we are joining the saints in heaven and on earth. So prayer is always a corporate event. The whole church in heaven and on earth joins us when we pray.
Often we think of prayer as asking for things or as putting in an order or a request for something we desire or need, or something we think others might need. We should try to resist the assumption that prayer means asking for things or asking for an outcome or asking that the events change to fit our ideas of right and wrong. I am always in favor or simply raising up names of those who are sick, worried, alone, or… celebrating, happy, going through transitions, etc, or raising up problems and unpleasant situations.
Prayers may sound like praise and thanksgiving. We need more prayers that sound like this.
Prayer might be formed without words. Prayer might be silent openness to God.