Day 5: Should We Use Patterned Prayers?

Matthew 6:7–8 says, “And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” Other translations speak of “empty phrases” (ESV) and “vain repetition” (KJV). Does Jesus prohibit using set phrases or repetition in prayer? Should we use patterned prayers? No and yes, respectively. Let me give you two examples of patterned prayers. At meals: “For what we are about to receive may the Lord make us truly thankful.” At a child’s … Continue reading Day 5: Should We Use Patterned Prayers?

Day 4: Where Should We Pray?

In Matthew 6:5–6, Jesus answers our second question about the how of prayer: Where should we pray? He says, “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogue and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” We should not interpret Jesus’ words too literally. … Continue reading Day 4: Where Should We Pray?

Day 3: How Often Should We Pray?

We have touched on the whether and why of prayer. Now we need to pay attention to the how. Four questions arise: How often should we pray? Where should we pray? Should we use patterned prayers? And what should we pray for? First, how often should we pray? Jesus does not say. In Matthew 6:5, he begins, “And when you pray…,” then talks about where to pray. Jesus assumes we will pray; he does not tell us how often. Jesus’ own life suggests an answer, however. According to Luke 5:16, “Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” Luke does … Continue reading Day 3: How Often Should We Pray?

Day 2: Two Questions about Spiritual Disciplines

If you are going to experience God through prayer, you will need a better guide than me. Because I am a pastor, I am embarrassed to admit that I am not the greatest pray-er. I experience moments when my prayers lurch along in fits and starts. I often find my prayers directing God’s attention to me rather than my attention to him. I am not the best guide for your journey. Fortunately, I am not your only choice—nor do you have to turn to other pastors or spiritual writers. God himself provides ample guidance on how to pray. Remember Hebrews … Continue reading Day 2: Two Questions about Spiritual Disciplines

Day 1: Our Conversation with God

Dear Friends: Today, I’m beginning a 42-day series, Experiencing God through Prayer. This Daily Word series will run seven days a week through the end of August. In September, I’ll resume my verse-by-verse study of 1 Corinthians. As you read this series, I encourage you to dedicate yourself anew to prayer. May God bless you richly! George Paul Wood —– Day 1: Our Conversation with God Over the next forty-two days, I want to help you experience God through prayer. God is not an idea to be contemplated but a Person to be loved. According to Matthew 22:37, “the first … Continue reading Day 1: Our Conversation with God

Happy 4th of July!

On this 4th of July, remember to read the Declaration of Independence. Other than the Bible, is there any more radical political document than the Declaration, especially the opening words of its second paragraph? We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it … Continue reading Happy 4th of July!