Why do I pray? I pray because Jesus prayed. I pray because Jesus encouraged his followers to follow his example. Jesus prayed in each major crisis in his journey. So have I—and so have you in one fashion or another in our major crises. Jesus prayed before making major decisions. So have I—and so have you in one fashion or another before making major decisions. Jesus prayed for his own needs and so have we. Jesus prayed for others and we do too. To pray as Jesus prayed is to talk with God.
Many of my prayers have seemed to go unanswered. Jesus’ knew and experienced unanswered prayer too, when, for example, he prayed “Let this cup pass from me.” Many of my prayers have seemed to make no difference at all. Jesus prayed, “may we all be one” and that prayer has not seemed to make much of a difference either—at least not yet! In spite of this, I pray because Jesus prayed and encouraged me to do likewise.
|Lake Louise, Canada--2008|
Prayer is not about answers. Prayer is about loving. Every human father yearns for his son or daughter to open up their hearts to him, to share their troubles and issues without fear. The father may or may not have an answer, or a solution, but he delights in the fact that his children talk with him about their deepest and most profound needs. This kind of relationship is what it means to live on a loving, personal level. I think God is delighted when we open our hearts to him.
Prayer is not just words. Prayer is not one-sided. In my feeble attempts at prayer, I have often tried to follow the pattern used by E. Stanley Jones who simply asked each morning, “Lord, what do you have to say to me?” and then waited silently—listening—hoping to hear. And then there are days when I just ramble on and on with some of my rantings and ravings.