Praying for a Lifetime!

Tim Brown

READ : 1 Peter 1:3-9

Blessed be the God and Father . . . (v. 3)

Did you know that the phrase Peter uses to begin his letter is not original to him? He is actually borrowing a phrase from the Sabbath liturgy of the Jewish synagogue. The main section of prayers in the liturgy of the synagogue was called the Shemoneh Esrei, which literally means “eighteen,” and refers to the eighteen blessings that were offered for the gifts that God had lavished on his people. Thanksgiving blessings included prayers for the coming of the kingdom, for daily bread, for forgiveness, and for freedom from the tempter—and all of them were derived from prayers actually offered in the Psalms.

And if all of this sounds strangely familiar, it should, because Jesus taught us to pray this way. Being Jewish, Jesus offered what we know as “The Lord's Prayer” from his deep experience in the synagogue. Isn't that remarkable? When Jesus prayed he did not merely draw upon his own heart, though his heart was a river of love, but he relied upon the Scripture. While the human heart is necessary for falling in love, admiring a sunset, or writing a poem, it is too fickle to build a life of prayer on. We need the sure foundation of the Word of God. Literally, when you pray just open the Book and pray away. If you will pray the Book you will pray for a lifetime!

PRAYER

Give us humility, Father, to depend upon your Word when we pray.