“Spend time with God”
“One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” Luke 11:1-13
Have you watched the television series The Chosen? It’s a characterization of the life of Jesus, and His followers, unlike any other depiction. Again, it’s only a television series and the director has made it clear it is not the bible – he says the bible is the bible. The series does address some interesting points that maybe we don’t consider because we struggle with Jesus the man. I have enjoyed the series so far and like watching the customs and cultural nuances shown through the series. I have been particularly interested in prayer. During this era, it was the practice to pray three times a day, morning, afternoon and evening. They also prayed at other times. In one scene, when the character representing Peter was saying his morning prayers, he seemed lifeless. He said the words he has said every morning since childhood, but his heart did not seem to be in it. Peter, like many brothers and sisters in Christ we may know, say words because they have been told they should, yet there is no connection with God. Sometimes it is not the fault of the person praying because, this is how they were taught to pray and forgot why they should pray.
The Gospel of Luke shares a story about the disciples coming to Jesus and asking Him to teach them how to pray. They had prayed all their life but noticed Jesus’ prayers were more than what they had been taught in their temple. They noticed that before He did something astonishing to those watching, He prayed. They noticed that He prayed amongst people and while alone. They noticed He prayed differently than they had been taught as children and they recognized it was special.
Reading and reciting the prayers others have written is not cheating in prayer. Like praise songs, they help us focus on God, not asking Him for anything just worshipping Him. They are especially helpful when trying to develop a prayer routine or when we want to say something to God but can’t find the words. Because I can pray anytime, I enjoy sitting alone and talking with God. I know I don’t have to try to sound “King Jamesy”, but can say what is on my heart or I just sit and reflect on who He is.
I have spent a few days in a monastery and have participated in the daily prayer cycle of the Anglican Church. I enjoyed these set prayers we read together and accepted them as a means to turn my mind towards God. But I also knew that I could pray anywhere, anytime using my own words. The Jewish people believe prayer builds a relationship between God and human beings and when people prayed they were spending time with God. As followers of Christ we should believe the same and spend time with God.