Sunday, December 4, 2016

December 4, Luke 11:1-13 The most powerful prayer

The text says that John the Baptist taught his disciples to pray. I'd be curious exactly what he taught them. Jesus' disciples ask Him too for instruction in prayer, I think it's something in us that looks for a magic formula. There are a lot of prayer books, specifically I think of the old church liturgy and some of Sturgeon and Wesley's prayers are in books that people still pray. But there's really nothing special about the words used. The most powerful prayer recorded was prayed by Peter, he was sinking and he looked to Jesus and simply said "Lord, save me!" Yet here Jesus gives His disciples a model to follow. Begin by acknowledging God is sovereign, that all things are subject to His will. Ask for the things you need for today, for forgiveness for your sins and forgive others, and for guidance away from evil. I taught a class several years ago using the Cotton Patch Gospel, it's a colloquial translation for cotton farmers done in the 50's and later published in the 60's. Here is how he translated this model prayer; "When you pray, say, 'Father, may your name be taken seriously. May your Movement spread. Sustaining bread grant us each day. And free us from our sins, even as we release everyone indebted to us. And don't let us get all tangled up!" I always liked that simple translation. Prayer isn't about special words, it's not ritual, if that's so then it becomes about us and not God. Prayer is simply speaking to God how you feel, He already knows but wants us to tell Him. If we follow the simple pattern, remembering first that God is holy and sovereign then you really can't screw up prayer.

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