Location: New England, United States

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

To Whom Are You Praying?

For many years I did not belong to the church community. In hindsight - seeing the backside of God - I feel that this was part of his plan. I call this time in my life the wilderness years, and it forced me to draw all my spiritual food from God alone.

Six months ago, he directed me to a church. I started slow, attending the worship services on Sunday and adding other services as he instructed. At each function, there is a call to prayer with one person speaking, and the others bowing their heads in agreement. Most of the time the prayers are heartfelt, universal and spirit filled, however, there are times when I raise my head, open my eyes and wonder, "To whom are you praying?"

I have heard correction, accusation and a general airing of differences in some prayers. This type of prayer is fine - alone with God - but I feel 'put upon' when the speaker assumes I will pray in agreement about a situation that is above my discernment.

I have come to God in prayer with correction, accusation and an airing of differences, but this was done one-on-one with God, alone. Jesus told us how to pray publicly when he gave us the Lord's prayer.

Our Father who art in heaven.
To whom we are praying is clear.

Hallowed be thy name.
The position of God is clear.

Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Our position to God is made clear.

Give us this day our daily bread,
A position which we can all agree.

and forgive us our trespasses
No specifics, for one sin is as great as another.

as we forgive those who trespass against us.
A universal reminder that we are required to forgive as God forgives.

Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
Universal protection from the world and the evil one.

We all agree.


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