simple prayers (maybe those we learned in childhood; at the beginning or end of each day; offering thanks for food before we begin a meal; a persistent prayer for which we seek and answer; lifting up someone in need; during worship in the gathered community; when we have no words to pray as we sit waiting for what we do not know, or many other times. Using thought or word patterns with which we are very familiar and comfortable is important especially in times of deep emotion.
In Mark’s record of Jesus’ Gethsemane prayer (Mark 10:36) Jesus used the Aramaic word Abba which is translated as ’Father’, ‘my father’ and shows something of the close personal relationship of the Godhead.
If we are continually growing in our relationship with God, then we need to be constantly aware that our language should reflect that growth.
One of the helps in my growing is being able to recall the images, which have come from my reading of and reflection on a particular passage of scripture. During the week I take note of the names given to, words and phrases used to describe God. Often I am reminded of images that speak of particular ways in which God has touched my life. As I allow myself to be open so the Spirit can prepare me when I lead worship, I find it helpful to write the words and images that have been given to me.
Sometimes that be disconcerting, for something ca seem very inappropriate in the time of preparation. But you know that God never wastes anything! What at first I thought inappropriate at the time of preparation has been the way in which God has reached people.
Many years ago now, prayers for a service held in Canberra during a Royal visit were prepared for printing three months ahead. In the preparing, I was well aware I was prompted and extended about things that seemed rather strange. By the day of the service, these were both relevant and important issues.
Of course there are times when we have no prior warning that we will be leading prayer, for we never know where God is leading us, or what is expected of us.
May we be open and constant in our praying ‘ For such a time as this…’