Learning How to Pray…Again
A walk through the Lord’s Prayer
For the past couple of years, I’ve been struggling with prayer. My challenges ranged from trying to understand the scope of prayer – does God want to hear about everything? – to questioning its efficacy – is God even listening? I have stopped praying at times, and other times focused only on thanksgiving, omitting any petitions. I have been thirsting for intimacy with Him, and fighting off doubts that threaten to eat away at my deepest held convictions. My struggles challenged my faith and my theology. I’ve careened between anger, discouragement and resignation. I’ve read the plethora of Scriptural promises concerning answered prayer and concluded they were written for someone else.
Recently I decided to open myself up and try again, this time using prayer walks to find solitude and just listen to God. On one walk I kept saying over and over, “Lord, teach me to pray.” Suddenly I realized that I had heard that request before. Luke records that the Disciples were listening to Jesus pray, and when He finished they asked Him the same thing.
Jesus responded by teaching them the most famous prayer in history. Here is how it is recorded in Matthew 6:
“This, then, is how you should pray:
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”
Jesus told them, “you want to know how to pray? Here’s how…” It can’t be much clearer than that. So, I began praying through the Lord’s Prayer, pondering each individual phrase and considering how they were woven together. I prayed the words through the lens of our steward theology and began to see how closely aligned this prayer is to the basic tenets of the journey of the faithful steward.
Over time, my prayer walks became treks of discovery as the Holy Spirit brought one insight after another. Soon I was in deep conversation with my heavenly Father, and I sensed that my heart was aligning with His. The journey continues each day with its progress and setbacks. But I know in my spirit I am steadily recovering a prayer life I thought was once lost.
Over the next five weeks I would like to share with you what God has been teaching me as He helped me relearn how to pray by walking the steward’s journey through the Lord’s Prayer.
Do you struggle in your prayer life? Do you sometimes wonder what you should say, and what you should expect to result from your prayers? Is your faith shaken by unanswered prayer? Have you lost a sense of intimacy with God and do you thirst to recover it through prayer?
If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these, please walk with me through this five-part series. And if you know someone who is struggling with prayer, send them a link to the blogpost.
Next week we will begin with the opening words of Jesus’ prayer, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be thy name.” Join us for the journey.