"Lord, teach us to pray". If we were able to talk to Jesus face to face, this is probably one of the first questions that many would ask, for it is in prayer that we begin to understand the heart of God, and begin to discern His mind and will. Other questions would find some answer if we really knew how to pray. If we were to purchase every book written on prayer, we would probably spend a lifetime reading them without having time to pray! "Lord, teach us to pray" is the wish of every heart because, although we know that there are rich benefits to be found through prayer, many of us find it difficult to spend time regularly in prayer.
Prayer is not something to be defined beyond simple communication with God. We could spend hours trying to define it, and never actually experience it. Prayer is first and foremost a discipline - a spiritual exercise, and, by the look of the scales in the morning, even physical exercise is not a high priority on our agenda. Anyone who starts on a fitness kick does not begin by trying to run a marathon - if the do, they tend to drop out after only one or two efforts. It is the same with prayer. "Could you not spend one hour with me?" would be akin to running a marathon for most - the sort of exercise we need to build up to.
The most important
thing about praying is to do it! Start with what is most natural,
praying about the things which most easily come to mind. Tell God
what you are really feeling and thinking. Exercise those prayer muscles
in a non-threatening way Once you begin,, there will be a development that
flows naturally. Don't be fooled by the books though. There are times
- as with any form of exercise - that it can be really tough going. Keep
up the discipline, because there are rich streams to be discovered by those
who hang in there and persevere. God will teach us to pray - but
only in the process of doing it!