I want to thank everyone for helping me choose the new ebook cover for Simply Prayer. I’m so excited to show it off, so without further ado… the winner is:
If you’ve followed this blog for awhile, then you know I think is a very important part of our lives. Yet it is often the one area that we neglect. Sometimes it’s because we don’t consider it very important — until we’re in crisis. Most often, though, I find people procrastinate in their prayer life because they think its more complicated or difficult that it really is. If this is you, then read on.
It’s my intention (and my fervent prayer) that this book will help anyone who wants a closer relationship with God to find a deeper, simpler method of prayer. Prayer is the best way to learn about what God has planned for our lives and to communicate our needs to our loving Parent.
Please enjoy this excerpt from the Simply Prayer:
The Heart of Prayer
To find the heart of prayer, we have to go to someone who not only taught about prayer, but lived a prayerful life.
For Christians, the authority on how to live a prayerful life is Jesus. He taught his disciples to pray by example, as well as giving them a solid template of words to build on called The Lord’s Prayer.
One of the best examples of what prayer can look like is Jesus’s prayer at Gethsemane:
Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I go there and pray.” He took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and severely troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here, and watch with me.”
He went forward a little, fell on his face, and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass away from me; nevertheless, not what I desire, but what you desire.”
He came to the disciples, and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “What, couldn’t you watch with me for one hour? Watch and pray, that you don’t enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
Again, a second time he went away, and prayed, saying, “My Father, if this cup can’t pass away from me unless I drink it, your desire be done.” He came again and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. He left them again, went away, and prayed a third time, saying the same words. — Matthew 26:36-44 (World English Bible)
Jesus’s prayer is not only beautiful in its emotional depth, but also in its simplicity. Here we see God’s Son in deep spiritual communion with God the Father, his “Dada.” Jesus shows his pain to God and asks for what he most desires at that moment in very simple language, something we often have a problem doing.
For some of us, it’s not the language that’s a barrier, it’s the sharing. I grew up believing I had to be tough. I thought any mention of pain, be it physical or emotional, was a sign of weakness. Emotions were only acceptable if they were mild, as in being mildly amused or slightly irritated. Anger was taboo and anger at God was blasphemy.
Somewhere along the line, though, God reached into my heart and showed me what Jesus demonstrates in his prayer at Gethsemane. Because God made us, he understands how we feel. He expects us to show our emotions, especially when we pray. To keep them to ourself is to keep God at arm’s length. When we do that we make prayer into just a petition again instead of the communion God desires.