Written by Gary Taylor

For many people, the thought of praying - especially out loud - is paralyzing.

Know that prayer doesn't come natural for any of us - really. If you hear people who make praying sound "natural," it didn't start that way for them. I think that most people expect too much of their prayers and too little from their prayer life.  It's easy to put too much emphasis on how our prayers sound, and not enough faith in the God who hears our prayers.

Think of it in this way: When you hear someone in a conversation "talking naturally" (which is most of us by adulthood), growing to that point required a long season that began with learning, listening, and jabbering until something started to make sense as the sounds spilled out of their mouth. No baby is born having mastered a language, and none of us reborn into a life with Christ should expect that we could immediately master prayer, which is simply conversing with God. In fact, you'd be foolish (or a Pharisee) to think that you could ever "master" prayer.

Although prayer is not to be mastered, it can be learned.  And the learning process begins by humbly praying, "Jesus, teach me to pray."

This Sunday we will look at an intercessory prayer the Apostle Paul prayed for his Christian friends in Ephesus.  In preparation for this weekend's service, you can read it in Ephesians 3:14-21.

Maybe - and I certainly hope this is so - God is less concerned with our prayers being theologically accurate, while accepting our prayers are authentic and heartfelt. If my daughter was, for example, injured from falling off her bike, do you think I would care if she expressed her pain with proper grammar or if she addressed me with the respect due to me as her dad?  Of course not!  I'd simply be glad she knew she could come to me in a time of need, confident of my love for her.

When you fall and get cut and bruised by life, cry out to Jesus. He is honored when you run to Him in your time of need, recognizing that you will be met with love. Even if you don't have any idea what to say, approach Him on your knees with reverence and humility.

Jesus, teach us to pray.