Summary: From our earliest memories of kneeling by the bed to recite, "Now I lay me down to sleep..." pray has played an important role in our lives. If you’ve forgotten the "who, what, when, where, why and how" of praying, here are some helpful "Be-Attitudes" tha
From our earliest memories of kneeling by the bed and saying, “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take. If I should live another day, I pray the Lord will guide my way,” followed by the customary “God bless” list: Mommy and Daddy, brother and sister, Grandma and Grandpa, Aunt Tillie, Uncle Bob, the dog, the cat, the hamster and the parakeet; to saying Grace at the dinner table and memorizing the Lord’s prayer, the personal and private act of prayer has, hopefully, been a significant part of your life.
What role does prayer play in your life today? How often do you pray? For what do you pray? For how long do you pray? The Old Testament and Gospel lessons today shed some light on the importance of prayer in our daily lives and remind us of the “who, what, when, where why and how” of this poignant and personal dialogue with our Father.
We live in a fast paced, highly mobile and technological world that values any process that makes communication quick, to the point and impersonal. Voice mail. Email. Pagers. Faxes. Answering machines. Text messages where they even abbreviate words. Computerized response systems. Little attention is given to human interaction on the phone anymore! And, as I’ve found out on many occasions, for good reason. Be careful what you wish for!
Here’s an example of what I went through earlier this week. Thank you for calling XXX department store. Please press 1 for the main menu.
Please press 1 for English or 2 for Spanish.
Enter your 19-digit account number.
Enter the 3 digit card verification number.
Enter the last four of your SSN.
Please wait while I retrieve your account information.
All our customer service representatives are currently assisting other customers. Please do not hang up. Your call is important to us and will be answered in the order it was received.”
(5 to 10 minutes later (if you’re lucky), a human with a distinctly foreign accent introduces himself. “May I have your 19 digit account number, sir?”
“But I just gave that to the computer voice to “expedite the call.”
“Yes sir, but I need to verify it for security purposes.” So I give it to him again.
“And may I have the 3-digit number on the back of your card, sir?”
“But, I gave that to the other voice too!”
“Yes sir, additional security verification is necessary.”
“And, Lastly sir, may I have the last 4 of the primary card holders SSN?”
“I know. I know. Security, right?” “Yes sir. Thank you.”
“Now, Mr. Brockhouse, is your home address still……………….?”
“Wait a minute. The computer didn’t even ask for that!”
“Yes, sir. Thank you. We are updating your records.”
“Is 555 555 5555 still the correct phone number?” “Yes”
“Great.” “Now, how may I be of assistance to you?”
“Well, to tell you the truth, I’ve been on this phone for so long I forgot!”
“Oh I’m sorry, sir. Let’s go through some of the options and maybe it will help you remember.”
“No thanks. I think I’ll just go online where I don’t have deal with a human. “
The business world has a “BE-ATTITUDE” about communication today; especially that which takes place online via email; Be Brief. Be Bright. Be Gone! If you are faced with human customer service on the phone, the only one of the 3 “B’s” that would apply is that you hope to “BE-Gone” from the call before your next birthday!
Fortunately, for those who remember and rely on PRAYER in their lives, you don’t need to wait on “hold” for God to hear you. You don’t need to “leave and message and He’ll get back to you.” You don’t even need to identify yourself (believe me, God knows who you are!). And, you don’t need to Be Brief, Be Bright or Be Gone. But there are some useful “BE-ATTITUDES” about the process of praying that can make the experience more meaningful.
Jesus gave us eight valuable lessons to guide us down a path of godly living. We call them the Beatitudes. As Jesus enumerated these he used the word “Blessed” before each one, magnifying the personal benefit one derives from such a walk of faith.
Today I’d like to offer up some “Be-Attitudes” about prayer for the same purpose – to remind you of the personal benefit, comfort and spiritual enlightenment you get from having a regular, ongoing and faith-lifting conversation with the Father.
Be right. Pray for the RIGHT reasons and in the RIGHT way. Jesus gave the disciples the “model” for the right way to pray. The “Lord’s prayer” is a template for how to pray; an outline of the manner in which to address the Father and to express our dependence on Him for everything in our life. It’s personal. It’s intimate. It’s a prayer of recognition and thanksgiving for what we have received. It’s a prayer for guidance as we maneuver through life in a broken world. It’s a prayer for forgiveness – ours and others. It’s a prayer to reinforce our understanding of God’s master plan for this world and for all life.