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Thursday, September 15, 2016

Today’s Reading | Luke 11:1–4 

He was praying in a certain place, and after he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” He said to them, “When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us. And do not bring us to the time of trial.” (NRSV)

How is your prayer life? Do you pray naturally with joy and a sense of confidence, or is it a struggle and a sense of obligation? If totally truthful when we reflect on our personal prayer habits, might we each discover how normal it is that we may actually forget to pray? If you are like me, you may feel confused or inadequate searching for the right words and method to pray. How humbling to know that we, like the disciples, ponder and struggle with the same burning issue 2,000 years later. How and why do we pray?

The disciples observed and were aware of how Jesus prayed frequently and everywhere; of how he lived his life with passion and love in the face of a cruel and difficult world. How did he gain his strength and courage, wisdom and power, to spread the word of his Father? I am eternally grateful that, because of the disciple’s curiosity and desire to understand the mysterious power of prayer, they asked Jesus to teach them to pray. Jesus gave them—and each of us—the Lord’s Prayer to have and to use as we choose. Whether we pray it verbatim or use it as a template, alone or united with others, we have the enduring gift of the Lord’s Prayer as the foundation for developing a more energized prayer habit.

By making prayer part of our daily routine, we can slow down, contact our true selves, and understand what our heart and soul really want. How might we bring more joy and confidence to our prayer habit?

Our Father who art in heaven, who taught us to pray, clasp our universal hands and hearts together so that there shall be love and peace on earth, brotherhood among races, and freedom from fear and injustice. Share your strength and love with us to live courageously in this angry and dangerous world. Let each person know in their heart and mind that forgiveness and love is the only way to eternal salvation. Amen.

Written by Cris Ohr, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

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