Lord, teach us to pray.
~ Luke 11:1
Hello, my name is Max. I'm a recovering prayer wimp. I doze off when I pray. My thoughts zig, then zag, then zig again. Distractions swarm like gnats on a summer night. If attention deficit disorder applies to prayer, I am afflicted. When I pray, I think of a thousand things I need to do. I forget the one thing I set out to do: pray.
Can you relate? It’s not that we don’t pray at all. We all pray some. But wouldn’t we all like to pray ... More? Better? Deeper? Stronger? With more fire, faith, or fervency?
We aren’t the first to struggle. The sign-up sheet for Prayer 101 contains some familiar names: the apostles John, James, Andrew, and Peter. When one of Jesus’ disciples requested, “Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1), none of the others objected. No one walked away saying, “Hey, I have prayer figured out.” The first followers of Jesus needed prayer guidance.
When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, he gave them a prayer. Not a lecture on prayer. Not the doctrine of prayer. He gave them a quotable, repeatable, portable prayer (Luke 11:1–4). Could you use the same? It seems to me that the prayers of the Bible can be distilled into one. The result is a simple, easy-to-remember, pocket-size prayer:Father, you are good.
I need help. Heal me and forgive me.
They need help.
In Jesus’ name, amen.
Let this prayer punctuate your day. As you begin your morning, Father, you are good. As you commute to work or walk the hallways at school, I need help. As you wait in the grocery line, They need help.
Keep this prayer in your pocket as you pass through the day. Don’t think for a minute that he is glaring at you from a distance with crossed arms and a scowl, waiting for you to get your prayer life together. Just the opposite. Here I am! “I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in and eat with you, and you will eat with me.” (Rev. 3:20).
He is changing me! Yes, I am a prayer wimp, but a recovering prayer wimp. Not where I long to be, but not where I was. My time in prayer has become my time of power. The Pocket Prayer has become a cherished friend. Its phrases linger in my thoughts like a favorite melody.
My friend, he wants to talk with you. Even now, as you read these words, he taps at the door. Open it. Welcome him in. Let the conversation begin.
Father you are good. I need help. Heal me and forgive me. They need help. Thank you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
~ from Before Amen: The Power of a Simple Prayer by Max Lucado