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.’
And he said to them, ‘Suppose one of you has a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say to him, “Friend, lend me three loaves of bread;for a friend of mine has arrived, and I have nothing to set before him.”And he answers from within, “Do not bother me; the door has already been locked, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.” I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, at least because of his persistence he will get up and give him whatever he needs.
‘So I say to you, Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for a fish, will give a snake instead of a fish? Or if the child asks for an egg, will give a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!’
During the children's moment, the kids and grown-ups wrote a prayer together. Here's the final product: Dear God (or, alternately, Hey, God, what's up), Guide me, please. Work with me to help. I pray for World Peace. Please help meet my needs for food shelter, love, strength, friends and family, rest, peace, patience, caring, happiness, hope, safety, fun, and prayer. Help me have the courage to apologize. I'm sorry. When someone apologizes to me, help me have compassion and understanding. Help me let it be. Help me say, "It's ok." Help me be fair and kind. Help me when I do something bad. Help me fix it. Help me make good choices. Protect me from myself. Help me not to judge others. Be with me during conflicts. Amen.
How Do We Pray? Luke 11:1-3
This week, Parker Palmer, the Quaker author, shared a poem on Facebook that caught my attention. It is called "Praying" and was written by the poet Mary Oliver. The poem reads:
It doesn’t have to be
the blue iris, it could be
weeds in a vacant lot, or a few
small stones; just
pay attention, then patch
a few words together and don’t try
to make them elaborate, this isn’t
a contest but the doorway
into thanks, and a silence in which
another voice may speak.”
Not only is lovely, but it reminded me of the scripture for this week. I feel like Mary was trying to respond to a similar request that Jesus was. Teach us how to pray. I am not at all surprised that Jesus, or Mary Oliver for that matter, felt like they needed to talk about how to pray. Prayer, an action that is as much at the heart of Christian faith as care for the poor and love of Christ, still befuddles many believers. Nearly 2,000 years after the Gospel of Luke was written, we still find ourselves asking, "Teach us to pray."
You might recognize the prayer that Jesus teaches his disciples. We pray a longer version, the one from a similar story in Matthew, each Sunday. Scholars note that this version contains one statement about God and 5 kinds of petitions directed to God. First, God is presented a parent, in this case a father... one with whom you have a close relationship and can count on to care for you, like the father in the parable of the prodigal son that Jesus will tell in chapter 15. This father loves and cares for his son no matter what. Jesus says that that is the relationship model for God and humanity: God, the ever-loving, ever-nurturing, ridiculously forgiving parent. With this model for God in mind, Jesus offers five ways to engage with God through prayer.
The first way to is to remember that our faith has a certain future orientation. While we will always work to make our faith relev