“This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’” Matthew 6:9-13
When these words were spoken it was in response to this:
“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” Matthew 6:5-8
Yesterday I wrote this:
“We pray a monologue and find it unsatisfactory. We find it a discipline and duty. The discipline and duty of prayer. Lists of things to monologue.” “Maybe that is what prayer is”
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One of the things I find distracting in much church worship – and also when Christians gather together – is the “lecture prayer”.
What is a lecture prayer?
It is a “prayer” wherein the Pray-er is
praying telling the Pray-ees what the Pray-ees would not listen to (when no one was praying). Which is abusing the sanctity of prayer – abusing the very God being prayed to – and also being done “publicly”.
But I was taught that I can’t question the Pray-er of a monologue
lecture prayer. All prayer is talking directly to God. And talking to God is beyond criticism. Always.
Yet (like much that happens in church) is not immune to comment behind another’s back.
It is that now environment Jesus spoke into then (and still does today).
Except we teach the words as though they are “dead”. Like a copy-paste from the bible into our own relationship with God, it requires little thought but adds credibility. Just as
monologue lecture prayer lends itself to calculated little thought and is beyond comment criticism.
And we call it “The