Grant that I may not pray alone with the mouth; help me that I may pray from the depths of my heart.

-Martin Luther


Recently the following ended up in my email.  I don’t remember who sent it, which news agency reported it (if any)—or if it is really true—but the story serves a purpose either way. 

In a small Texas town (Mt. Vernon), Drummond’s Bar began construction on a new building to increase their business.  The local Baptist church started a campaign to block the bar from opening with petitions and prayers.  Work progressed right up till the week before opening when lightning struck the bar and it burned to the ground.

The church folks were rather smug in their outlook after that, until the bar owner sued the church on the grounds that the  church was ultimately responsible for the demise of his building, either through direct or indirect actions or means.  The church vehemently denied all responsibility or any connection to the building’s demise in its reply to the court.

As the case made its way into court, the judge looked over the paperwork.  At the hearing he commented, “I don’t know how I’m going to decide this, but as it appears from the paperwork, we have a bar owner who believes in the power of prayer, and an entire church congregation that does not.”

I have wondered of late about why it is that we pray so little.  And my conclusion has been rather off the wall maybe, but to me, it makes perfect sense.  We know oursleves well enough to know that our praying can’t be all that impressive to God—try as we might to impress him, impress ourselves, and impress others with it.  So, we don’t pray knowing that we just can’t make the prayer grade if you will.

 1 Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.”   (Luke 11:1, ESV)

Lord, teach us to pray.