by Pastor Becca McCary
Prayer fascinates me. It's so simple that anyone can do it. All prayer consists of, at its essence, is to be in the presence of God. Even babies in the womb can sense God's presence and dance with joy, in a prayerful state. Prayer is so ubiquitous even atheists often find themselves praying when they are truly in need. Prayers like The Lord's Prayer that Jesus taught his disciples are memorized and recited by countless individuals.
Any yet, prayer can be remarkably toilsome, elusive, and intricate at other times. It's in these moments when prayer is the most fugacious and difficult to achieve that I'm reminded that prayer is much more of a dynamic relationship than a static pious act.
This week I get to preach on the Lord's Prayer and this prayer in particular I find it difficult to pray with a sincere heart unless I'm really investing in my relationship with Jesus. It's a good barometer for me in my faith. When I pray "our father", do I feel a sincere connection with God as the one who cares for me and provides for me? When I pray "Your will be done" I have to ask myself if I've actually been letting God lead my life lately or have I been too busy?
To pray the Lord's Prayer with a sincere heart takes a lifestyle of turning to Jesus. I found this anonymous quote that really spoke to that sort of attentive heart... "Practice the pause. When in doubt, pause. When angry, pause. When tired, pause. When stressed, pause. And when you pause, pray." The humble act of pausing throughout my day, to turn my heart to Jesus, brings so much more depth to my prayer life. Prayer becomes so much more engaging and powerful when I think of it less of a routine and remember that I'm checking in with a real person who is King of my life.
Still, I believe Jesus put it best when he spoke in Matthew 6 saying:
And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. "This, then, is how you should pray:
"'Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.