2013 - Dwelling Spaces

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Learning to pray

In a couple of weeks time I will have been a Christian for 13 years. I guess I was pretty arrogant, and just expected that I would become a great Christian quickly and having done that would go onto the next thing! Growing in humility in the time since then has been one of the best and one of the hardest parts of the journey that God has me on. The last few months I have been thinking a lot more about prayer, and how we participate in God's kingdom through praying: "YOUR kingdom come, YOUR will be done", this is not something that you can say with integrity from a heart of pride. Ideally my motivation will always be seeing God's kingdom rule and reign becoming a reality around me, but the process of creating in me clean hands and a pure heart (Ps 24:4) is not complete yet! So one thing I have been learning that helps with right motivation is that Jesus wants to be engaged with us as we pray. This has been an odd revelation since it isn't like I have only just started to pray! But pausing and waiting to see what He wants to say to me or to those I am praying with has introduced a new dimension to prayer for me.

In my homegroup over the last couple of weeks we have been looking at the teaching of Jesus on prayer, and we did a great exercise that I would recommend to anyone. Taking the Lord's prayer in Matthew 6:9-13 as a framework, we read out each line and then each of us privately wrote our own version. It made me realise what a powerfully concise set of words it is, and helped me see this very familiar prayer in a new light. This is what I wrote:
Daddy of all of us, you are holy and you are in heaven watching over us...
We want things to be like they are heaven all around us
which means everyone loving you as our king and doing things the way you know is best.
Give us all we need to live well today.
As we release people from the things we think they owe us,
please take the burden of things we don't need to carry away from us.
Help us to turn away from all that distracts us from you and your plans for the world.
Your kingdom rules when we love, show mercy, act justly and walk humbly,
it is only your Holy Spirit that gives us the power to do this
and it is for your glory when people see you in us.
Thank you that you are present in every moment of time.