Who taught you to pray? When I really think about this question, I have to say that my grandmothers were my earliest, most consistent examples of how to pray. One knelt at the side of her bed every night and invited me to join her when I was staying with her. She prayed for each family member by name, but she also prayed for a bunch of people I didn’t know. She prayed for people who were sick. She prayed for people going through hard times. She asked God to heal and to help. My other grandmother prayed at every meal—breakfast, lunch, and dinner—which seemed like a lot to me at the time. She specifically prayed for those who were hungry, that they would be fed.
At my house, we prayed at dinner and were reminded to “say your prayers” before bed. But my grandmothers modeled how to do so. These experiences led to my belief that God is always with us, always listening. I don’t remember ever wondering whether God specifically answered all those prayers. What I do remember is the consistency and the presumed assurance that those prayers meant something to God and that God would work within those hopes and expressions of faith to bring about something good.
This passage in Luke begins with the disciples asking Jesus to teach them to pray, which means to me that they had enough humility and hope to trust in a faithful, consistent, present God who hears and responds—in God’s way and time—to all their prayers.
What kind of examples of prayer have you seen in your life? How have they shaped your ideas about prayer and how you pray?
God, continue to teach us to pray in a way that reflects your goodness and hope. Amen.