The readings today contain two examples of prayer, which at first reading seem quite different. The first is usually called the Lord’s prayer (Matthew 6:9-14). Others call it the disciples’ prayer, because Jesus taught them that prayer when they asked him how to pray.
That prayer is probably the most well-known part of the New Testament, and the most oft prayed prayer by Christians. For those of us who are baby boomers or older, we remember reciting it every day at school to start the day. At times, it became a ritual that might not have come directly from the heart. However, it focused on the fact there was a God who was above all, who promised his kingdom would come and that his kingdom should be emulated on earth. It acknowledged his goodness to us in supplying our needs, and recognized our need of him to help us live pleasing lives. It taught us to forgive others instead of condemning them. It’s a message we still need today in our lives.
The prayer of Psalm 6 was a prayer of David’s that was later put to music. When we read this prayer, we see one that is far from a ritual, but one that expresses distress, grief and powerlessness; a prayer from someone who sees his desperate need for help. David cries out to the God who loves him and has the power to save him from the attacks or circumstances he is in. By the end of the prayer, David acknowledges the Lord has heard his prayer and he will be rescued.
I love that these two prayers are so different, and yet so similar at the same time. Whether our lives are in relative peace and we can pray a prayer of quiet trust and adoration, or whether we are feeling at the end of our proverbial rope, we can feel free to come before God and express our deepest thoughts, feelings, questions and praises. God is so far above us that nothing we bring before him causes him to love us less, after all he gave his only son so that we can have this deep relationship with him. In fact, he asks us to pray, not because he needs to know what we need, but because he wants to be in relationship with us.
Key Thought: “Your Father knows what you need, before you ask him.” Matthew 6:8
Elder at Foothills Alliance, Chair of Global Impact Team