Saturday, April 14, 2012

Getting Practical About How to Pray

Dr. R.C. Sproul wrote a picture book about a barber 500 years ago who had a famous customer with a price on his head. If he chose to use his razor for murder, he could have made a fortune, but he had the good sense to realize Martin Luther could offer something much more valuable than gold. He asked Martin to teach him how to pray effectively, and Martin responded by writing a little booklet called A Simple Way to Pray, which became the basis of R.C.'s book The Barber Who Wanted to Pray and a 27-minute sermon on Luke 11:1-4.

Martin Luther's advice about prayer truly is simple because it uses The Lord's Prayer, The Ten Commandments, and The Apostles' Creed as intelligent points to work through, petition by petition, in praying out loud in private at regular daily intervals. For example, Dr. Sproul says that when he starts at the "hallowed be Your name" part of the Lord's Prayer, he thinks of the famous prayer acrostic ACTS Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplicationand starts adoring God for His attributes and praying others will as well, but then confesses how often he falls short. Sometimes he doesn't get much farther than that in any given prayer time but that's okay because the important thing is being truly thoughtful, which means prayers of the highest quality and quantity, like you'd devote to your most important conversation or your most important written communication.

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