The problem with prayer is that it is too easy. And too hard.
God is great. God is good.
Let us thank him for our food.
By his hands we all are fed.
Give us, Lord, our daily bread.
Too easy because any adult can say it and have his mind wander to think only of his childhood when he learned the prayer, or the plate in front of him getting cold. Is this prayer?
Almighty Father, who hast given thine only Son to die for our
sins and to rise again for our justification: Grant us so to put
away the leaven of malice and wickedness, that we may always
serve thee in pureness of living and truth; through the same
thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with
thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
— Book of Common Prayer, Friday in Easter Week
Too hard because “hast” and “thine” don’t roll off the tongue, and who uses the word “leaven”? And we hardly ever think of malice or justification except to justify our own malice. “She was hateful to me. I thought you ought to know.” This prayer is too hard for most of us because the language is not contemporary, but even more so because the compactness of its thought is more work than we expect to have to do when we pray.
But the hardest thing about praying may be the waiting. We pray. We wait. We pray. We wait.
They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers. (Acts 1:14)
Jesus had told his disciples to stay in Jerusalem and wait for the gift promised from the Father. Jesus ascended and disappeared from their sight, so they gathered and began to pray. We know what they did not: that they would be gathered, praying for 10 days.
Is 10 days a long time? What were you doing 10 days ago? Where will you be in 10 days?
What if the gift that came after 10 days made the waiting seem like nothing at all? What if the answer to your praying made the work of praying inconsequential?
Do you need the answer before you begin praying?
Pastor Mark loves his wife and grown children, the Word of God, and words. And coffee,
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6–7)
Christchurch Evangelical Covenant • 1900 Congress Street • Portland, Maine 04102 • 207-775-1900 • firstname.lastname@example.org