Skip to main content

Finding the right words

N.T. Wright on "Discovering Help in Prayer" from Simply Christian:

"Help is at hand not least in those who have trodden the path ahead of us. Part of our difficulty here is that we moderns are so anxious to do things our own way, so concerned that if we get help from anyone else our prayer won't be "authentic" and come from our own heart, that we are instantly suspicious about using anyone else's prayers. We are like someone who doesn't feel she's properly dressed unless she has personally designed and made all her own clothes ... We are hamstrung by ... the idea that things are authentic only if they come spontaneously, unbidden, from the depths of our heart."

I deeply appreciate the recent move in evangelicalism over the past few decades toward conversational prayer with our Father; however, I believe that Wright has a very valid point. So valid, that he could have written this paragraph about my own life. So often, prayers in our evangelical communities turn into "Father Weejus" prayers (check out the Spring issue of "Leadership" magazine), when we pray "Father, we just ask you...Father, we just want you..." Many of the prayers that have been prayed down through the centuries by the "great cloud of witnesses" that have gone before us, are prayers that are concerned more with directing our focus toward God's name and God's glory, rather than a preoccupation with being a creative wordsmith in our conversation with God.

Without a doubt, if our prayers become a heap of legalistic phrases, rather than a cry of the heart, then we should move on to new forms in prayer. Wright gives a few suggestions for guided prayer, not the least of which is the Lord's Prayer, a prayer that Jesus gave directly to his followers. When they wanted to learn to prayer, Jesus didn't give a seminar on finding the perfect words, but instead he offered a prayer directly to them.

Our Father in heaven
Hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
Forgive us our debts, as we too have forgiven our debtors.
Do not bring us to the time of trial,
But rescue us from the evil one.
For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours,
Now and forever.

I'll be the first to confess that prayer is difficult and I have great lengths to grow. Sometimes, the simplest prayers are the most authentic, as the tax collector revealed to us: "
God, have mercy on me, a sinner."


Lately the simplicity of the Lord's Prayer is striking me all over again. One problem with "Father Weejus" prayers is that they tend to tie themselves in knots as we look for original ways to invite God into our midst, to praise Him, to ask Him for our needs. Jesus' prayer is refreshing, so very unburdensome: "Thy Kingdom come. Hallowed by thy name. Give us this day our daily bread."

Author of "Heart to Heart: Meeting With God in the Lord's Prayer"
Dude, so I started reading Simply Christian months and months ago. I had to put it down due to school and work and not having time and being tired and blah, blah, blah, excuses. I need to pick that up again.

Popular posts from this blog

Pilgrims Looking for the Sun


Pilgrims Looking for the Sun
This weekend across America, our transportation and information highways will glut with millions of eclipse-chasers travelling from the far corners of the globe order to find an unobstructed view along the “total eclipse” zone spanning the United States from Oregon to South Carolina. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime moment for many. A total eclipse of this nature hasn’t spanned this country for a century, though, the upcoming century holds many such eclipses in store. I myself will be joining the ranks of eclipse-chasers, making a relatively brief journey south to my parent’s property in Sparta, IL, which is comfortably within the totality zone.
I’m a latecomer in educating myself about this rare event. Only after watching two videos (by Smarter Every Day and Vox) and discussing the astronomically phenomenal event with my friend, Kacey, did my eyes begin to open in wonder and amazement at the unique phenomena of a total eclipse. Previously, I thought, oh, I’ll be…

Leatherbound Books

If you're into reading or just like thinking that you are, you should check out LibraryThing. Pretty sweet site actually. I have many leather bound books in my online catalogue. You can see for yourself: The site allows you to see users who have similar reading tastes as you and then you can check out their book reviews and other reading selections. I didn't have time yet to upload the Bearenstein Bears books I read back in high scho...I mean kindergarten. Mostly--well entirely, actually--my catalogue is filled with some books I've had the chance to read since the start of college. The point when I began to take reading seriously. Useless site? Ah...I wouldn't say so. It may help me to broaden my reading intake a bit. Or, maybe I'm just a sucker for these novel sites that allow us to connect with others and share knowledge.

The Stop Sign

While driving a new Iraqi family home from the clinic yesterday, I slowed the car at a stop sign near their apartment. As I brought the car to a stop, the father looked over at me, smiled and said in broken English, "In Baghdad, no stop. Too dangerous."

Stop signs. Always taken for granted. Now a reminder of chaos and tragedy in our world.