“[The Gospels] give us glimpses of Jesus praying in virtually every kind of situation: Jesus prays when He is joy-filled, He prays when He is in agony, He prays with others around Him, and He prays when He is alone at night withdrawn from all human contact. He prays high on a mountain, and He prays on a level plane, where ordinary life happens. Jesus prays a lot.
And the lesson isn’t lost on His disciples. They sense that Jesus’ real depth and power are drawn from His prayer and they want this for themselves. That’s why they approach Jesus and ask Him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray.’”
Since lockdown, we have prayed like we’ve never prayed before. We’re not going to stop, but we are going to adapt the rhythm of our prayers by adopting an ancient way that the Church has prayed for centuries, as we stop for fixed moments to focus our attention on Jesus and communicate with Him.
We’re inviting us all to practice the rhythm of praying three times a day, in the morning, the afternoon and the evening.
You can find out more about our new prayer rhythm here
The key to this rhythm is found in both intentionality and interruption. We are to regularly show up in prayer and commit, while also being open to interruption in the thick of our days, learning to stop what we’re doing and focus our attention on Jesus. This new rhythm is all about seeing that all of life is prayer – that prayer cannot be confined. We want to learn to pray like Jesus, in virtually every kind of situation.
Over the next few weeks we are going to introduce you to simple, accessible ways of praying that you are able to practice in your rhythm of prayer. In our first practice of Spending Time with Jesus [insert hyperlink] we explored how we can pray in the morning and in our next prayer practice of the Examen, we will equip you with a way to pray that works best in the evening.
Yet for now, let us introduce you to a simple way of praying in the afternoon.
When the disciples asked Jesus, “Lord, teach us how to pray”, He responded with a prayer that most of us could recite verbatim, a prayer lifted from Matthew 6 and Luke 11. Despite our familiarity, yet when we allow this prayer to take hold of our lives, we begin to see how comprehensive and formative it is.
The Lord’s prayer includes pretty much everything there is to say about prayer. It is a prayer of intimacy, holiness, justice, provision, grace, weakness, warfare and hope.
So, let’s begin to pray it every weekday afternoon.
Pick a moment in your afternoon to be interrupted. Whether you are in the middle of work, looking after your children, or doing some messages, stop what you are doing for a moment and into the interrupted space, take a moment or a few minutes to pray the prayer that Jesus taught us to pray out loud.
Pray the words slowly and as you feel led, riff off the lines of the prayer. If you need to experience the Father’s love, take a moment to pray spontaneously after saying “Our Father”. If you or someone you know needs to experience the power of the Kingdom, pray for them as you declare“let your Kingdom come.” After you pray this set prayer, take a moment to pray spontaneously as you feel led before you re-enter back into life.
This is simple practice that all of us can have a go at.
Simply, set an alarm each weekday to be interrupted and into that space, pray the prayer that Jesus taught us to pray. Pray it with your whole heart.
For this is how Jesus taught us to pray.
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, as we also forgive those who sin against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For yours is the Kingdom, the power and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.