Saturday, February 7, 2015

Teach Us to Pray

Photo by Mike Dubose,
United Methodist Communications
For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.  Matthew 7:8 & Luke 11:10

          Jesus invites everyone to pray.  Prayer is the most ecumenical, interfaith, intercultural enterprise of humanity.  No one is excluded from the promises associated with prayer as envisioned and taught by Jesus.  All people everywhere are invited to turn to God in whom “we live, and move, and have our being,” and to communicate with God as children of our divine parent (Acts 17:22-31).  We each are invited to pray according to our best understandings. With the liberty of this invitation comes the responsibility to learn more about prayer, and the assurance of its increasing effectiveness as we implement the practice.
          Jesus gave the Lord’s Prayer, the Our Father, as a gift to those who want to know how to pray.  One great feature of this enduring prayer pattern is that it consolidates so many prayer principles from throughout the Bible in general, and specifically those taught by Jesus Himself.  Each part of the Lord’s Prayer unpacks a whole dimension of spirituality, leading to boundless exploration and infinite application.
          Prayer has always been offered as a practical element of solution to any and all challenges.  Jesus pointed out that some forms of prayer are empty and void, and in Paul’s words, “having the form of godliness, but lacking the power thereof” (2 Timothy 3:5).  Yet, Jesus also promises that sincerity, persistence and diligence will transform our prayers from empty words into powerful and effective contributions.  “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16b)

           Briensburg UMC is launching our new Online Church School & Learning Center with “Teach Us to Pray” as an ongoing peer learning group for sharing information, prayer concerns, news and discussion about prayer.  The study is offered in conjunction with the similar Pastor's Lenten Study on the Lord's Prayer (starting tomorrow, a couple of weeks early).  Everyone is invited to participate.

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