Friday, February 27, 2015
Our praying is too much monologue; not nearly enough dialogue. Actually, in most cases, it is all monologue and no dialogue. When that disciples asked a just-finished-praying Jesus for a lesson in prayer, he not only got a model prayer, but an important word about an important dynamic of prayer. Jesus said, "When you pray, say, 'Our Father, hallowed by Your name..." (Luke 11:2). We know the prayer as "The Lord's Prayer" and it is prayed in worship more than any other prayer. While there are some differences in the one offered by Luke and the one presented by Matthew in the Sermon on the Mount, both begin with "Our Father."
Addressing the prayer to "Our Father" presupposes dialogue. After all, what child talks to a Father who never says a word? What good Father would sit idly by listening to the concerns of his children without ever responding? And what respectful child would not tarry after speaking to hear what the Father might have to say about an issue of the heart? Inherent within the child/father relationship is meaningful dialogue. Maybe Jesus is telling us an important Word about the nature of God as He directs us to call Him Father, but He is also telling us an important Word about how we should relate to Him.
To pray, "Our Father" should give us cause to pause and ask, "Is there not something You would want to say to Your child?" Surely, such would show more respect than talking and running. Thinking of God as a Father Who desires to share something of Himself with us may require some reorientation, a different prayer structure, and learning to be more intentional to the reality of the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, but to do so will certainly take us to a new and more exciting place to be in what is often a dry and mundane prayer life.