Oh God, thank you for a new day – a new opportunity to learn to pray. We come to you, again, as learners — novices. We come to you as little children: trusting, seeking, needy. And so we say again, alongside your first followers: “Teach us to pray.”
We think of all that you taught us about prayer:
- To go off alone by ourselves and pray — and — to come together and pray together, in community
- To pray quietly in the silence of our own souls —and— to pray aloud – singing, praising, proclaiming loudly who you are with and to the people around us
- To ask persistently over and over again —and— to surrender: “Thy will be done.”*
- To praise and thank and sing our joys —and— to cry out, pour out, bleed out our anger and pain**
We think of our own journeys in learning to pray:
- We started, maybe, on our knees. Bedside. Hands clasped. “Now I lay me down to sleep; I pray the Lord my soul to keep…”
- We’ve had good times!; sometimes you got thanked for them. Sometimes we forgot to give you credit.
- We’ve had terrible times!; sometimes you got blamed for them. Sometimes we just stopped talking to you at all.
- We’ve had times when we’ve simply had no words to say. Just groans.***
How have we fought against you, Lord?
How have we fought against others, Lord?
How have we resisted you, Lord?
How have we resisted others, Lord?
How have we avoided you, Lord?
How have we avoided others, Lord?
Oh Lord, again we say, “Keep teaching us to pray!”
*Luke 18:1-8; Matthew 26:42
**the Psalms; I know this sounds trite, but seriously this is all over the psalter. It is basically what the psalter is all about. If you have a bible with paper pages, put your finger in the middle and drop your bible open. Pray any one of the Psalms you find on that page. I think you’ll find deep joy alongside deep pain, anger, sorrow. Just like life.