Thursday, April 26, 2007

One word that will transform your prayers

There is one word that will transform your prayers. Before I give you the word, let me mention three myths about prayer:

1st Myth: Looking at prayer as a formality.

Many people have the idea that there are formal, set prayers. Ask them to pray at a wedding or special function, and they think it’s something they need to look up in a book or online.

2nd Myth: Regarding prayer as a transaction

“If I pray,” people think, “especially in a certain way.... God will reciprocate.” This view sees prayer more like a grocery list or a bank transaction. That is why I’m not crazy about the phrase “prayer list”. Is prayer really, at it's heart, about bringing God a list?

3rd myth: Seeing prayer as a monologue

Some people think of prayer in terms of what they say to God and how well they say it. Often, the more words the better. This is a monologue mentality.

All these myths about prayer lead to frustration.

Jesus revolutionized prayer with one word. He said,

Do not be like them (those who babble on and on), for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him. "This, then, is how you should pray: " `Our Father in heaven… Matthew 6:8-9

Now this was a new way of praying. No one had addressed God like this before. Nowhere in the Old Testament does anyone address God in prayer as Father. Jesus did it 170 times.

To make this even more profound, the word Jesus often used was “Abba,” the most intimate of terms.

When we view God as Father we experience prayer, not as formality, but as intimacy, not as a transaction but a resource, not as a monologue but a relationship.

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