FAITH AND REFLECTION — Prayer can be defined as a solemn petition or request, or an expression of thanks and praise addressed to God.
The Bible contains approximately 375 references to prayer. Additionally, Jesus had much to say about prayer and practiced prayer frequently and fervently. His most fervent prayer was made in the garden of Gethsemane when He prayed, “… not my will, but yours be done.” (Luke 22:42)
Jesus’ most famous prayer is referred to as, “The Lord’s Prayer” and is found in Matthew 6:9 – 13 and Luke 11:2 – 4. Though the prayer is only a few verses long, it addresses several essential elements of prayer. It speaks to such topics as relationship with the Father, forgiveness, provision and concludes with an incredible doxology.
Yet, according to what I read and hear, prayer is the most neglected discipline in the lives of professing Christians.
Hugh Price Hughes in his story, “The City of Everywhere,” shares about a man arriving in a city on a cold snowy morning. As he gets off the train, he notices that everyone is barefoot. No one is wearing shoes!
He hailed a cab and asked the barefoot driver, “Pardon me, but I was wondering why you don’t wear shoes. Don’t you believe in shoes?” The driver replied, “Sure, I do.” The man asked, “Then, why don’t you wear them?” The driver replied, “Hmmm … that’s the question … why don’t we wear shoes? Why don’t we?”
Arriving at his hotel, the man noticed that both staff and guests were barefoot. Entering the hotel coffee shop he sat across from a well-dressed, but shoeless gentleman. He asked him, “I notice you’re not wearing shoes. I wonder why? Don’t you know about shoes?” The man replied, “Of course I know about shoes.” “Then why don’t you wear them?” asked the stranger. “Hmmm … that’s the question. Why don’t we wear shoes? Why don’t we?”
Walking out into the street. The man again encountered only barefoot individuals. Accosting another gentleman, he pointed out to him that shoes protect the feet from the cold and sharp objects. The man replied, “We know about shoes. See that building over there? That is a shoe manufacturing plant. We are proud of that plant and every week we gather there to hear the man in charge tell us about shoes and how wonderful they are.” Somewhat exasperated now, the stranger asked, “Then why don’t you wear shoes?” The man in the street replied, “Hmmm … that’s the question … why don’t we?”
Interesting story … but do you know what? Christians say that they believe in prayer and that they know about prayer, yet surveys reveal that a remarkably low percentage of Christians practice consistent prayer.
So … why don’t we pray? Hmmm … that’s the question. Why don’t we pray? Why don’t we?