Prayer #1

I bought a new phone. I have been using a Galaxy S for 2 1/2 years now. One app on the phone was the YouVersion Bible app. It’s an awesome app but it was so big the phone could barely run it. Now I have a Galaxy 3. The app works much better. So I started a new reading plan. The plan chosen has a selection about prayer every day. I chose this reading plan because prayer is something I have been wondering about.

Prayer has been puzzling me for a few years now. I have had people around me emphasize the sovereignty of God so much that I wonder…. If God is sovereign as in,  “in control of each and every little detail of each and every little thing”, than hasn’t He already predestined everything anyway? If so, why does God want me to pray? What am I supposed to pray for? Do I ask for things, for me and my friends? God already know what I need.

What about group prayer? What is its purpose? How should it be done?  What about prayer chains? I am on our church’s prayer chain. I get more requests everyday than I seem to be able to deal with. I get requests and I pray. But, usually I just end feeling guilty because I usually don’t really know who I am praying for or what they really, really need. My prayer chain prayers end up being very short and I cannot help but suspect, ineffectual.

Even so, here goes: As I go through these verses on prayer, I want to ask myself 3 things:

1. What does this passage day about my private prayers to God?
2. What does this passage say about prayers in and with a group.
3. What does this passage say about something like a prayer chain.

Passage 1:
Yesterday I read the from Matthew 6, v 5 through 14

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

“This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, 10 your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation,[abut deliver us from the evil one.[b]’ 14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.  

This is the Lord’s Prayer passage. Jesus tells his disciples three things: first, pray in private, as opposed to praying for the purpose of getting others attention, second, pray succinctly, as opposed to repeating words or phrases over and over, and finally,  Jesus gave his disciples they Lord’s prayer.

Q1: Already I find it clear that Jesus wants me to pray. In fact, His apostles took this as a foregone conclusion. They were not asking if they should pray, they were asking how. Jesus tells them as outlined above.

I was happy to read about the use of few words. That is right in my wheelhouse. I prefer to keep things short and simple. I get impatient when others don’t get to their point. The passage also commented that God would reward us for what we do in private. Jesus didn’t say the reward was the answer we want from our prayer, He just said that God would reward us.

Jesus comments that God already knows what we need. Yet in his example prayer He leads them to pray for their needs: daily bread. I notice that there is nothing in here about praying for things I want…

Q2: and Q3: I cannot see how this passage would lead anyone to group prayer or a prayer chain. This passage is all about an individual getting alone with God to refocus that individual on who God is and how God provides with daily sustenance, protection from sin and forgiveness.

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