"Our Father who art in heaven.
Hollowed be thy name,
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for
Lately I've been wrestling with my own powers of logic wondering if my prayer is specific enough. It seems as though many of my prayers are answered, but the short few, hanging in the rafters, swing listlessly with each breeze unanswered. What would happen if I became more specific in my requests, I wondered. And so I began, praying for tidbits, or so they seemed, looking for exact prayers to handle exact requests. Maybe I'd been too hurried in my prayer lately, requesting items that required more blessings than the one I was specifically looking for. Maybe all those blessings being bestowed after a lengthily prayer session were going unnoticed since the EXACT thing I wanted was not being offered.
And so I went on, praying more specifically for what a wanted. Then a funny thing happened. As I became more specific in my prayer, I was answered with more specific blessings. I had been praying for my son to pass a major test his senior year. Each prayer revolved around passing that test. I pondered, if I prayed a bit differently, would an effect be noted? And so I began praying for sharpened test taking skills. After all, wasn't that what I was after to begin with? All of a sudden his test taking skills began to gain strength. Not just a little strength, but an increase of 15 points with each summative test he was taking in class. I was thrilled! We have not come close to the next major testing date, but I have renewed optimism when we do.
We don't need a lot of words to pray effectively. In fact, Jesus gave us the Lord's Prayer to model how few words can hit the spot. With just a few clauses, he teaches us how to offer praise, to pray for God's will, to ask for basic needs, and to request forgiveness and protection. Everything we need to get through the day!
As an English teacher, I am always praying in essay mode. I must tell God what I'm going to say, say it, and summarize it again. But I don't need those five long paragraphs to get my point across. I can just ask for his provisions with something short and reliable. Get to the point, be concise are words I share with my class. He already knows our long list of reasons. We must trust he knows everything we need.
Right before he gave the disciples the Lord's Prayer, Jesus said that some people prayed empty words over and over in hopes that their many words would gain an answer. In other words the more we spout off in redundancy, the more we hope to gain priority. This is so untrue. God doesn't need to hear a lot of words. He wants our sincere hearts to trust in his goodness. Keep your prayers to the point. Make sure there is sincere feeling behind each one.
Thank you for taking care of me.
Forgive me for times I haven't done your will.
Keep me mindful to forgive others.
Remind me to pray from the depths of my heart.