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Prayer . . . . .

Can I be honest?

Sometimes the topic of prayer makes me think about four things. 

  1. Sweet Old Ladies.  I love sweet old ladies, and even enjoy some grumpy ones.  And I have been the beneficiary of some pretty incredible prayers by some of these wise folks.  But, I’m not a sweet old lady
  1. The Dai Lai Lama.  Or someone like that who looks like they have been soaked in serenity, detached from normal life.  Someone who looks like they can naturally be still and contemplative, deep.  Again, not me.
  1. Women.  In a lot of my church experience, it seems like it is women who are the quickest to pray, and the most natural at prayer.  And I don’t think that I have ever heard a husband complain, “My wife doesn’t pray with me enough.”  But, again, can I be honest?  It’s de-motivating for a guy, at least this guy, if you think you have to become effeminate to pray.
  1. Inadequacy.  I guess the first three would point to this one.  It’s hard to feel like  you are good at praying.  I don’t mean saying the right words, but having the right experience.

Interesting, though.  What would it mean to be ‘good’ at praying?  I’m sure that it is not a good idea to attach any kind of performance value to prayer.  Ridiculous, actually.  So, scratch ‘good’ and replace it with ‘effective.’

The sermon this Sunday:  What We Most Need to Know about Praying?  (Okay, you're thinking, "How dare this guy attempt to teach on prayer – he hates it!"  Actually, I am eager to share what I have been learning.  I love praying!)

How would you describe an effective prayer life?

What difference would it make?

Should we aim for a more effective prayer life?


ps.  Doing 5/on/5 will teach all of something about prayer, presence, and love.


  1. John Jay says:

    This is a tough question, since I am quite lacking in discipline and pray at odd times in no discernible pattern. Having said that, the Bible gives witness to the strangest instances of prayer (if by prayer we could mean any human-Divine monologue/dialogue). Does prayer change the mind or will of God? What about that little prayer Jesus gives in the NT? Why did culture bite so hard on the Prayer of Jabez insanity? Boy, that little book sure did screw some things up.
    If prayer is talked about as a discipline to cultivate, then it may simply be considered effective in its actualizing. Prayer for prayer's sake. I look forward to your sermon. This very basic Christian act receives little formative attention at Duke. Ask Curt about his time at Morning Prayer. I had to step away from it this semester, but while I was present, I found the repetition and communal nature of it refreshing after having relegated prayer to a closet experience most of my life.