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Want to Pray, but Don't Know How?

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ONE of the first prayers my parents taught me was the Lord's Prayer. I would close my eyes and think of God as we recited together: ``Our Father which art in heaven.'' Later when I hadn't prayed for quite a while and wanted to start again, I was glad that my parents had taught me the same prayer that Christ Jesus gave his disciples. The Lord's Prayer, found in the book of Matthew, is a good place to start if you feel you don't know how to pray. Christ Jesus had the most experience in praying. That's why we can expect to learn from his teaching how to commune with God.

The Bible often refers to Jesus' praying. Night or day, it's hard to imagine that Jesus ever stopped turning to his Father, divine Spirit. Prayer was the inspiration that ran throughout his entire life -- through his healing, his teaching, and even through his triumph over the cross and the grave. All the healing Jesus did was a result of prayer.

How would you suppose Jesus, as a consummate teacher, would teach his disciples to pray? Wouldn't it be by giving them the essence of the way he himself communed with God? Imagine Jesus giving us the summary of his own prayer! The deep truths, the revelations of God's nature, the underlying assurances of God's care for man -- all contained in the Lord's Prayer -- show us what the Master found important. By pondering and living with the thoughts included in the prayer, we can gain a feeling of closeness to God that characterized Jesus' life. We can discern more of our actual, spiritual selfhood and inseparability from God.

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