Engaged in Prayer

Paul Meier begins a book about the Lord’s Prayer with this:

“Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name…(oh yes, I must remember to pick up some salad dressing on the way home from church)…thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven…(maybe I should add some croutons and bacon to my list)…Give us this day our daily bread…(bread, I forgot bread)…and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors…(Maybe I should invite Tom and Mary over, but he’ll probably want to watch football)…and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil…(it’s sad, Fred’s not bothering to iron his shirts since Jane died)…For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever. Amen… Wasn’t that a nice worship service today?”[1]

Oh, dear. How often are we guilty of that? Particularly when we are reciting such a familiar prayer. Do you find your mind wandering? Are you quoting it just to be able to say you “prayed”? If so, what good did it do you?

What does it mean to “engage” in prayer? The dictionary says to engage is to: 1. Occupy, attract, or involve (someone’s interest or attention); 2. Participate or become involved in.

So let me ask you: When you pray, whose attention are you trying to attract? If your answer is not God’s attention, what do you need to change?

How are you participating in the prayer? Is your heart involved? Is your mind involved? How is your body involved (e.g., what effect does your posture/position have on your prayer)?

Something to think about.

[1] Paul W. Meier, In Living Color: The Lord’s Prayer (Malcolm Creek Publishing. Kindle Edition), p. 1.

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