How to Pray
Jesus encourages us to find a quiet
place where we can meet with God and he also encourages us to pray at other
times----while we are walking or working, dressing or relaxing. He also
teaches us what to do when we are in God's presence:
'"This is how you should pray." He says.
"Give us today our daily bread." (Mattew 6:12)
Here Jesus is
encouraging us to ask God to give us the things we need for the coming
day: food, clothes, health, friends, support.
persuades us to ask for these ordinary things, we must assume that he is
trying to tell us that God really cares about us. He wants to look after
us just as a good earthly father or mother wants to look after the children
of the family --- not letting them starve or go cold or lonely or homeless.
And because God is so caring, he wants us to ask: 'Ask and it will be given
to you.....,'Jesus says (Mattew 7:7)
'You do not have because you do
not ask,' claims James ( James 4:2).
Asking is not
selfish, as some Christians seem to think. Asking puts us in a right relationship
with God because it reminds us that without him our needs will not be met.
It also reminds us that everything we have and everything we are in God's
gift. The Bible calls this grace ( Ephesians 2:8 ). Our hearts are stregthened
by grace (Hebrews 13:9). By the grace of God we are what we are (1 Corinthians
15:10). His grace is all we need (2 Corinthians 12:9).
When we ask
and when we receive the answers to those very simple prayers, our hearts
are full of thanksgiving to God. That is why, each day, I like to like
to look ahead to the coming twenty-four hours. In a note-book, I write
down the things which I think I will need during that time and I mention
these to God. The next day, as I look back, I see the way he has responded
to my requests and I give him thanks.