Lord – teach us to pray!

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Our 15 month old son is learning to pray.

At least, that’s how we’re interpreting what he’s doing as he clasps his hands and bows his head with us before meals and during his bedtime routine.

He doesn’t have much by way of language, of course. So I guess it’s our words that ‘carry ‘ him — a kind of family-sized common prayer.

But this itself is pretty terrifying.

Why terrifying? Because Natalie and I are supposed to be teaching him how to pray!

Which you might think wouldn’t be that frightening a thought — especially after a year in which the waves of life threw us up against our own limits again and again. Our sense of self-sufficiency has taken a battering. Any notions of proud Western independence we may have harboured have warped and splintered. And we’ve choked on our fair share of spiritual whitewater.

And yet — for all that I’ve prayed a lot of desperate, needy prayers that lifehas torn from my throat this year — I’m not sure I’ve learned to pray especially well.

Or in ways that particularly reflect how our Lord taught his disciples to pray.

You know, taking our heavenly Father’s agenda as my own agenda? Putting a priority on him — his glory, his holy reputation, his kingdom, his mission?

And consequently trusting him to provide for our needs — in the day to day as well as in the deeper, forgiveness-demanding dimensions of our existence. To protect us from temptation. And deliver us from evil.

So in a sense my prayer for next year is: Lord – teach us to pray!

I guess it’s kind of a new year’s resolution for someone who lacks resolve. And also — a bit like Paul Tripp — doesn’t really believe in the emphasis on decisive human action and dramatic self-saving initiative that’s often loaded into popular conceptions of such resolutions…

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