Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Saying our prayers

I call on you, my God, for you will answer me; turn your ear to me and hear my prayer.
Psalm 17:6

I've never been really great at saying prayers.  I should classify this--saying "spontaneous" prayers.  Maybe it's my Lutheran upbringing, but I'd much rather say prayers that I have memorized.

The first prayer I remember saying is "Now I Lay Me."

Now I lay me down to sleep, 
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
If I should die before I wake,
I pray the Lord my soul to take.
If I should live for other days,
I pray the Lord to guide my ways.

My grandma taught this prayer to my dad, my dad taught it to me, and I've now taught it to my own children.  I still find comfort in these words.

Another prayer that brings me comfort and peace is the Lord's Prayer.

Our Father who art in heaven, 
hallowed be Thy name,
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done on earth
as it is in heaven; 
give us this day our daily bread; 
and forgive us our trespasses 
as we forgive those 
who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation, 
but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom
and the power and the glory 
forever and ever.  Amen.

I've always thought that anything I need to say in a prayer can be said in the Lord's prayer.  

**Now, this is not saying that I don't say the occasional spontaneous prayer.  When I hear of a prayer request, I'll stop for a minute and say a few words to God.  Personally, I think spontaneous prayer doesn't need to be something formal--down on my knees, beseeching for an hour.  I think most of my daily prayer comes from different thoughts during the day:  "Please, Lord, be with my neice as she struggles to make decisions for her future."  "God, watch over Christopher as he heads to the ER.  Let the doctors and nurses find out what's wrong with him."  Short, little prayers like that.  God hears our every thought--and I think those thoughts include a lot of prayers during the day.**

Recently, we've started teaching our children some of Martin Luther's prayers from the Small Catechism.  I love Luther's Morning Prayer:

I thank you, my heavenly 
Father, through Jesus Christ, 
Your dear Son, that You have 
kept me this night from all
harm and danger; and I pray
that You would keep me this
day also from sin and every 
evil, that all my doings and life
may please You.  For into Your
hands I commend myself, my
body and soul, and all things.
Let Your holy angel be with
me, that the evil foe may have
no power over me.  Amen.

What a wonderful prayer to start the day!  To commend yourself to the Lord--everything that you do in that day.  

And we end the day with Luther's Evening Prayer:

I thank You, my heavenly 
Father, through Jesus Christ,
Your dear Son, that You have
graciously kept me this day;
and I pray that You would
forgive me all my sins where 
I have done wrong, and graciously
keep me this night.
For into Your hands I commend 
myself, my body and soul, and
all things.  Let Your holy angel 
be with me, that the evil foe
may have no power over me.  Amen.

Forgive me all my sins where I have done wrong....Let Your holy angel be with me.  There's no way I'd rather pray, to finish the day with my children.

Whenever I'm stumbling, whenever I'm tired, when I can't take much more, these are the prayers I turn to.  Something about the words I've said over and over bring me such comfort.

1 comment:

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