No. I am not going to tell you how to pray. I have no business telling you how to pray. I know no better than you. I do know what you should be praying though. And I bet you probably know the prayer, even if you've forgotten what it really means to pray this prayer. I'm talking about the Lord's Prayer. We've been talking, well Jim has been preaching about it, over the past several weeks and will continue for the next several weeks until we've dissected the entire prayer.
Jim, the lead pastor, has encouraged us to pray the Lord's Prayer every day, if not two or three times a day. To find that quiet place, that calming, tranquil place without interruption. For some its a familiar chair, or a quiet bench in a park, or perhaps even a few quiet moments to yourself when you get in to work first thing in the morning. I haven't found that place yet...but to be honest I haven't exactly been looking for it. I should. I need to. I want to.
This last Sunday we came to the part of the prayer that asks "give us this day our daily bread." Pretty simple request. Please provide enough for me to make it through the day. Enough. Not please give me a week's worth of food, not a month's worth, not a year's worth, but simply enough for today. If we had more than what was needed today then we'd have this invisible security blanket of knowing that we had enough for the year, month, or week. That on the first of the month, or on Monday morning we'd have more than we needed for today. Daily is the key here. Enough for today. No excess, no extra, no reserves...just a sufficient amount for this day, for today. Can you imagine if we truly lived our lives day to day? Anyone reading this probably has no idea what that's like...at least not firsthand...and definitely not actually living it. Instead, we as Americans live our lives in excess. Even the most devout, humble and selfless of us live in excess.
It is the American way if ever there was one for the new millennium. Sure we now have hybrid cars, but they fit seven people (when we only have a family of three or four), and come loaded with CD, MP3, AC, DVD, GPS, ABS, sun roof, power windows, power seats, cruise control, heated seats, high performance sound systems, removable third row seating...and so much more. Are those features nice? Sure. Do we really need them all just to meet our daily needs? No, but we like that the options are available to us on a daily basis.
Funny thing that since I started this post I've been all googly-eyed over the iPhone. Talk about excess!!! I want one badly, but haven't yet been able to justify buying one and starting new service with AT&T. Don't know if I will be able to but I'd like to say I'm strong enough to deny myself this excess...only time will tell there.
I've also run this idea of living in excess by people during the last week. I got mixed results. Some people agreed with me, others mostly agreed but had their own take on it. Unfortunately that was earlier last week so I can't remember anything about it now.
I guess it all comes down to balance. I truly believe life is all about balance. Well...life is about a lot of things but much of it comes down to balance. For those parts of life where we live in excess, we should try to balance those areas out with some frugality. Not to say this is the right rationalization for an iPhone, but if I go so excessive with my cell phone maybe I balance that out with driving my car less...or start using re-usable grocery bags at the supermarket...or getting more involved with the church and really, really giving back while finding my lost relationship with God. Maybe I can start right now...maybe I can start by making time throughout the day to pray...to pray the way my Father taught me to pray:
Our Father who art in Heaven...I like the sound of that. I really like the sound of that.