How and Why to Pray
Today we’re going to keep talking about what we need to prioritize in our transition time, and the number one thing we can do for ourselves and our church is pray.
Our gospel story today is from Luke, and we see Jesus praying, talking about prayer, and using prayer in his ministry in the Gospel of Luke more than any other gospel.
Luke tells us that Jesus “often withdrew to a lonely place and prayed,” (5:16), that he prayed on the mountainside and stayed there praying all night (6:12), that he prayed alone (9:18), that he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and thanked God publicly (10:21-22), and of course we know his prayers in Gethsemane and from the Cross.
Here in chapter 11 of Luke, the disciples ask Jesus to teach them how to do what they see him do so frequently: pray.
We in the Episcopal Church are great at liturgical prayer. We have profoundly beautiful words handed down to us in the Book of Common Prayer that stir our hearts and bring us into the living presence of God.
We can find the sweeping majesty of God and the intimate comfort of God all brought to life between the pages of our little prayerbook.
We also use spontaneous public prayer, often at the beginning or end of meals and meetings, and it can be a great way to unify the hearts of a group in a shared experience, bringing that experience before God.
But we don’t talk enough about private prayer, and it is such a rich field of spirituality.
In fact, it is the lifeblood of our Christian walk. It is the way we communicate with God.
The apostle Paul tells us in 1 Thessalonians to pray without ceasing.
Sometimes trying to maintain an active prayer life can seem like a chore, but there’s a quick cure for that. Continue reading