How to Pray

Even when I want to pray, I often feel I don't know how. Faced with disasters on a grand scale, or the smaller but just as deeply painful griefs we all encounter at some time, there just don't seem to be the right words. That doesn't matter. Prayer is about the focus of the heart, not the babbling of the mouth. Jesus taught that when we pray we shouldn't keep on babbling in the hope that God will hear because of the repetition of many words. Instead, he said - pray like this - then gave a framework or pattern for prayer which Christians call 'The Lord's Prayer'. 

There are two versions of the Lord's Prayer in the gospels, one in Matthew and one in Luke. Here's the Matthew version, from the New Revised Standard Version:
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. 
And forgive us our debts, 
as we also have forgiven our debtors. 
And do not bring us to the time of trial, 
but rescue us from the evil one.

This prayer is used throughout the world in every language spoken by Christians and in every branch of the Christian church. On the Mount of Olives overlooking the old city of Jerusalem the Church and Convent of the Pater Noster are built over a cave that is traditionally associated with Jesus giving his disciples this way of praying. Around the cloisters are ceramic plaques with the Lord's Prayer in many different languages. Here is one in Scottish Gaelic.

This post is the 7th in a daily series of Lent reflections based on Bible readings from the Common worship Lectionary of the Church of England. This one is based on Matthew 6: 7-15.


  1. this is beautiful. Welcome to RevGals!

  2. Thanks for commenting Mary Beth and thanks for the welcome. I'm taking a look at your blog(s).


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