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Categorized | From the Pulpit

“Our Father who art in heaven” The mystery of prayer

Pastor Darryl Miller  

Sand Lake UMC

 65 W. Maple, Sand Lake

South Ensley UMC 

13600 Cypress, Ensley Township

 

Familiar words to some and a mystery to others. What is all this stuff about praying anyway? And what is prayer? I have been asked a number of times about prayer. Three questions seem to stand out. 

How can God hear so many people all at once? It’s because God exists in a way that we can’t understand. He is able to do things that make no sense to us. But His word tells us that He hears us and answers our prayers. It is a matter of faith to trust His word. But we need to remember that when our prayers are answered, that is proof our prayers were indeed heard and answered by God.

Who am I to communicate with the God of the universe? Well, in His own words, we are the children of the Living God. I cannot imagine going through life never speaking with my earthly father, and in the same way I cannot imagine going through life not communicating with my Heavenly Father. The bible tells us in the book of James, “Draw close to God, and God will draw close to you.”

The most often asked question is simply, “How do I pray?  Prayer is simply having a conversation with our Lord. In Matthew chapter 6 starting in verse 9 Jesus teaches us how to pray when asked the same question. We don’t need to use those exact words every time, but the way the prayer is formed is a good pattern to follow. We sometimes use little tricks to help us form our prayers such as the acronym “ACTS.” Adoration – recognizing that God is the creator of all and praising Him for all of His amazing works. Confession – admitting that we are in need of a Savior and that we are sinners who seek forgiveness. Thanksgiving – even when we feel we have little to be thankful for, God seems to reveal blessings in our lives; we use this time to recognize this and to thank Him for all he does for us. Supplication -is when we ask God to answer our prayers for the things that we ask of Him.

One thing that I try to remind people is that one of the most important parts of a close relationship is communication. We really do need to communicate with one another and also with our God. St. Patrick once wrote that he found himself praying as many as a hundred times a day and almost as many at night. That sounds like a lot and most of us would think that we would run out of things to say, but that brings up another important point. Part of communication is listening. We need to hear what the other person is saying, especially if we are talking to God! We so often pray for guidance and answers, but we don’t bother to listen for those answers! Praying is really just communicating with God. And there is no special place, position, words or anything else. The important thing is to “just do it.”. If you have more questions, ask your pastor. And if you don’t have one, I’m sure there is one nearby, ask a friend or just drop in to your local church.

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