Teach us to Pray

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He was praying in a certain place, and after he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray…’      (Luke 11.1)

            “LISTEN UP disciples. I’m going to teach you to pray. Now write this down. It’s called the Lord’s Prayer” and I want you to learn it word for word and recite it every day. Three times. That should do it!” Does this sound like the Master? No. It’s nothing like him and yet religion can sound and behave very much like this.

Jesus never meant to teach us how to do religion. He came to show us that the kingdom of heaven is here, all around us, breaking in on us. It is within each one of us. The Christ came to show us what God is like so that we can know God as God lives in us and in all creation, cosmically and personally, within time and without time, all the time and through All Time.

Jesus of Nazareth lived his faith, so much so that he was Christ and is Christ. The same Christ is in the letters on this page, in the words and in the white spaces between the words. This Christ is alive in your heart as you read and as you fall into prayer looking at the picture or contemplating the words. He came to show you who you are and he is still showing it to you now. The student Apostles saw the way Jesus was, how he behaved when the crowds pressed in on him, demanding attention from him, just wanting to be in his presence, jostling him, sometimes assaulting him. They saw how he handled everything, how he poured out the light and love of God, how he healed and quenched the thirst of the people with living water. They saw how he went out on the mountain or down by the sea alone to pray. So the Apostles began to make the connection between Jesus’ action life and his prayer life. Jesus just did his prayer life, kept the spiritual rhythm of it, and they noticed and wanted to know his secret, his art of prayer. And Jesus told them.

It is good that we use the Lord’s Prayer a lot and I find it helpful to my own spirituality. But I don’t really think Jesus was literally giving us a formula at all. I think he was saying, “Look. Just keep it simple. You don’t need a lot of words. God knows what’s in your heart but it will help you to put the God who loves you, like your daddy or mummy, first. Trust God. Give thanks and praise to God and just know that if you make God’s will your will, then you are already alive to the kingdom of heaven here and in all eternity. You have eternal life”

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~ by Fr Tim Ardouin on July 27, 2016.

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