Learning to Pray

on Sunday 14, November 2010

Every religion on earth teaches its followers to pray.  From tribal rituals to eastern mosques, from the Vatican to the bells and gongs of Tibet, from eastern synagogues to western churches, prayers have ascended for millennia to the gods and deities of heaven and earth.  Whether vocal or meditative, the human soul reaches out toward something or someone who can hear and respond – something or someone who is unfettered by time and space – a power that may alter or improve the current human condition.  The people of the earth pray.

When the disciples came to Jesus asking him to teach them to pray, I am sure they were motivated by Jesus’ relationship with his Father and the results that came from that relationship.  Jesus had much to say about prayer: 1) Don’t pray from ritual, but from the heart, 2) Don’t recite prayers just to be seen or heard, 3) Go to a private place and close yourself off with God, 4) Pray in faith, 5) Be persistent and be forgiving, 6) Be confident that you are heard by a living God and a loving Father.

The Psalmist David prayed, “Let my prayer be like incense - fragrant, sweet and worshipful.”  In Revelation we see the results of fervent prayer.  As the prayers of the saints of all the earth were being offered on the golden altar and ascended to God, His response was to answer by fire, just as Elijah experienced.  And so again today we pray, “Let the God who answers by fire be God.”