The fewer the words, the better the prayer.

-Martin Luther

 

Homer Simpson, the knuckle-headed star of the animated comedy The Simpsons prays, Dear Lord, The gods have been good to me. For the first time in my life, everything is absolutely perfect just the way it is. So here’s the deal: You freeze everything the way it is, and I won’t ask for anything more. If that is okay, please give me absolutely no sign. Okay, deal. In gratitude, I present you this offering of cookies and milk. If you want me to eat them for you, give me no sign. Thy will be done.            

Unfortunately that sounds more like our praying than we like admitting. 

Apparently Jesus did some of his own teaching on prayer.

 “And when you come before God, don’t turn that into a theatrical production either. All these people making a regular show out of their prayers, hoping for stardom! Do you think God sits in a box seat?

“Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace.

  The world is full of so-called prayer warriors who are prayer-ignorant. They’re full of formulas and programs and advice, peddling techniques for getting what you want from God. Don’t fall for that nonsense. This is your Father you are dealing with, and he knows better than you what you need. With a God like this loving you, you can pray very simply. Like this:

   Our Father in heaven,
   Reveal who you are.
   Set the world right;
   Do what’s best— as above, so below.
   Keep us alive with three square meals.
   Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others.
   Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil.
   You’re in charge!
   You can do anything you want!
   You’re ablaze in beauty!
      Yes. Yes. Yes.     (Matthew 6:5-13, The Message Bible)

Our praying isn’t about our ability to pray prayers that are more eloquent, and it certainly isn’t longer prayers we need. 

Prayer is about God hearing from us, and more importantly, our hearing from him.   

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