Simple Prayers

Mar 07, 2003 03:56 PM EST

Mark 6:45-46 (NRSV)

Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. After saying farewell to them, he went up on the mountain to pray.

[Jesus] 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 (NRSV)

THAT Jesus prayed is reason enough for us to spend time in prayer. But how do we pray? How do we talk with God?

When I was home from the university, I always attended weekly prayer meetings in my church. The simplicity with which ordinary people prayed made the meetings memorable. They used few prayer-book phrases and prayed as if they were talking to a friend.

One prayer I will never forget. I normally closed my eyes for prayer, but I opened them whenever a particular woman prayed because her face became radiant with love and compassion. She simply talked to God. What was the prayer I remember? "Lord, one of our lads here is going to be one of your ministers. He's a bright lad, Lord, got a lot in his head; but Lord, please drop it a foot!" As she prayed she moved her hand from her head to her heart. If ever I had a vision of God's desire for me, it was then. Knowing about God is no substitute for knowing God in our hearts as a friend to whom we can talk openly.

Prayer: God, grant that what we learn about you changes our hearts. Amen.


What we know about God must descend from our head into our heart.


Those who model heartfelt prayer

By E. Philip Schofield (Cheshire, England)