Romans 12:12 – Rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer. (NKJV)
As a pastoral care volunteer at the local Long Term Care Centre, I have on several occasions been asked to be with a person nearing death, who was in the "Comfort Room" with family members present. At some point, they would expect me to pray, or I would want to say a prayer. I found that it was very difficult to pray at a time like that. It was hard to know how to be a comfort to those in attendance and to find the right words to pray as a loved one's life was slipping away. In fact, on different occasions, I first spoke a silent prayer, "Lord, help me to pray," before praying out loud. I must say that quite often, the Spirit did move me to speak the very words which fit the occasion.
Public prayer is difficult for a lot of us. Quite often, I find myself falling into repetition, searching for the right words. Perhaps you, too, can relate to my dilemma.
I think that the disciples also had a problem with public prayer. As they listened to Jesus pray, they could tell that He had a personal relationship with His Father in heaven. He would talk to Him about His problems and offer Him thanks. So they asked Jesus to teach them, and He taught them what we have come to know as the Lord's Prayer.
Luke 11:2-4 – So He said to them, "When you pray, say: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one." (NKJV)
It is not a lengthy prayer. It is not a fancy prayer, full of awe-inspiring words. It is a simple, humble prayer, a prayer that even a young child is able to understand, learn, and pray by heart.
So when we pray, whether in private or in public, whatever the circumstance, let us remember that we don't have to use a lot of words, or try to impress anyone. We just have to speak from the heart, as the Spirit leads us, and know that our Father in heaven is listening and waiting to respond. As we do so, I think that we shall find that praying, wherever or whenever, will become much less difficult.
Prayer: Our Father in heaven, we know that You hear our prayers, and we thank You that we can talk to You about our problems and offer our words of thanks. We offer this prayer in Jesus' name. Amen.
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Listen while you read: "He Hideth My Soul" (Lyrics)