A few weeks ago, I participated in McNamara Elementary’s career day. I spoke to a fifth grade class and a third grade class about what I do. There was some pressure; there were policemen there, EMTs, doctors (all in uniform) and a woman from the SPCA with a truckload of adorable animals. When I walked into the third grade class, a little boy asked, “Are you from the FBI?” He was very disappointed. The kids asked some interesting questions. One girl asked, “How much money do you make?” The boy next to her shook his head and said, “Kids these days…” Another little boy asked, “What do you believe about the Rapture?” My favorite question was from a sweet, shy little girl who asked, “How do you talk to Jesus?” That’s the very question I plan to address this Sunday. We’re in a series right now called “The New You.” God wants to renovate our lives. He’s like a master home builder who has generously donated His time, skills, tools and materials to help you completely remake your home, but who insists we work alongside Him. The “work” we do to become a new person is not “trying really hard not to sin.” That never works out. Instead, we get changed as we encounter God through spiritual disciplines, like meditating on Scripture, which we talked about last week. Each week, I’m sharing a different discipline with you, and challenging you to practice it for a week. This week, we’ll talk about prayer.
In a way, it seems silly even to talk about learning how to pray. Jesus once compared prayer to a child asking her father for a piece of bread. No child has to be taught how to ask her father for something. In the same way, prayer is simply us telling God what is on our hearts. In some ways, we make prayer seem more complicated than it should be, thinking we have to be in a specific posture--kneeling, eyes closed, hands folded. Show me that in the Bible! Some of my most powerful prayers have come when I was driving or jogging. Actually, praying while jogging has a double benefit--I’m connecting with God, and because people think I’m talking to myself, they leave me alone! So the last thing I want this sermon to do is make any of you think, “Wow, it’s really hard to do prayer right. I just won’t pray at all.” Share with God whatever is on your heart, whenever you feel the need, in whatever language is most natural to you. But hopefully there comes a time in a child’s life when she moves beyond just asking her father for things, and starts really spending time with him just for the sake of it. I want to talk today about how we can truly connect with God in prayer. Numbers tells us that Moses would spend time in God’s presence, and God would speak to him face to face, like a man speaks with his friend. I believe God wants that for you and me, too. But how can we have that kind of relationship? We'll find out, as we look at Jesus' prayer life this Sunday.