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Prayer- A Good Recipe never Hurts

posted 6 Jan 2013, 06:06 by Peter Moore
I came across the following quote this week as I was reading about prayer...

"God never intended prayers to be a recipe-a formula to follow or a perfunctory procedure to perform."

I agree with the author, to a degree. Prayer should be heartfelt and genuine. By saying the same prayer over and over again it can become so routine that we are no longer praying, we are simply repeating words. It's no longer personal, it is ritual. God doesn't desire ritual, He desires a relationship. 

However, that doesn't mean that using a recipe is a bad thing. Some people get so comfortable in the kitchen they no longer need to pull out the recipe every time they make a particular dish. There are others, however, that need to follow some guidelines as they prepare their food. The end result may be very similar. 

When it comes to prayer some of us may be comfortable not using the recipe but that doesn't mean we should ignore it all together. In fact, certain prayers can be very meaningful if understood and sincerely repeated. We can also learn much from certain traditional prayers.

Take for example the following prayer that we sometimes say with our children before bed:

"Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. His love will guide me through the night and wake me with the morning light."

A quick online search suggests this "recipe" is from the 18th century and yet it has become a helpful way for us as parents to teach our kids a simple prayer that they can say at bed time. As our kids get older we encourage them to expand and use their own words at bedtime. Just as someone learning to cook has to start somewhere (with a recipe), so too do people learning to pray have to start somewhere.

A great place for all of us to start is with the Lord's Prayer found in Matthew 6. A wonderful recipe that we can learn from and use to guide our own praying!

Lord, teach us to pray!