Lord, remember us in Your kingdom and teach us to pray … [Liturgy]
When I was 18 years old I decided that I wanted to learn how to juggle. I didn’t know anyone who juggled, so I had to teach myself. I bought a set of juggling bean-bags and got to work practicing. It took me a couple of weeks to get it (mostly) right.
About a year later I came across a book called “Juggling for the Complete Klutz.” On a whim I picked it up and almost right from the first sentence was dumbfounded. In this wise little tome was outlined in excruciating detail all the mistakes I had made in learning to juggle. It was almost like someone had watched me try to learn and then wrote a book about how NOT to do it!
Yet I wasn’t hurt. My reaction was one of regret. If only I had this book sooner I could have learned to juggle in no time at all! (Now I can teach anyone everything they need to know to be a competent juggler in about 10 minutes).
There is a hard way to do things … going it alone … the school of hard knocks … trial and error … learning from our mistakes (lots and lots of mistakes). Sure you will get there eventually, but it may not be all that fun, you will probably quit at least a couple of times, and you will likely be bruised and battered when you arrive.
But then there is the easy way … learning at the feet of one who has already mastered … following in the footsteps of one who knows better, who has already been there … heeding the advice of the one who is already wise. Not only will you get there, but you will do it sooner, and with more insight than you could have gained on your own.
Prayer is just such a skill. It doesn’t come naturally. It is something we must learn. And we can do it the hard way … on our own … or we can do it the Lord’s way … and with His help and understanding.
The disciples understood this when they asked the Lord to teach them how to pray. It is hard to learn how to do well. And so the Master showed them. He gave them the Lord’s Prayer, and with it, the very keys to understanding the kingdom of God!
The Lord’s Prayer is a prayer that contains more wisdom and insight than you or I alone could ever come up with. It is a prayer that comes from the very heart of God … a prayer that seeks the heart of the Father.
It is a prayer that takes minutes to learn, but a lifetime to understand. But then again, shouldn’t prayer be a life-long pursuit? Isn’t it time you stopped trying to do it yourself? Isn’t it time that prayer became less of a struggle and a burden for you? Isn’t it time to give up your old ways of stopping and starting, trying and failing, and really learn to pray from the Lord Himself. You don’t have to figure it all out on your own … not when there is someone willing to instruct you.
As Martin Luther said “This is surely the great advantage the Lord’s Prayer has over all other prayers which we may compose ourselves. For in them conscience might ever be in doubt and say: I have prayed, but who knows how it pleases Him or whether I have hit upon the proper proportions and manner? Therefore no nobler prayer can be found on earth than the Lord’s Prayer, which we pray daily; for it has the clear testimony that God loves to hear. We should not surrender it for all the riches of the world.”
And so Lord, remember us in Your kingdom and teach us to pray …