Archive for November 12th, 2021

Teach Us to Pray


Written by Dietrich Bonhofeffer (1906-1945), a German Lutheran pastor, theologian, author, anti-Nazi dissident, and key founding member of the Confessing Church.. This is an excerpt from his book Psalms: The Prayer Book of the Bible.

The phrase “learning to pray” sounds strange to us. If the heart does not overflow and begin to pray by itself, we say, it will never “learn” to pray. But it is a dangerous error, surely very widespread among Christians, to think that the heart can pray by itself. For then we confuse wishes, hopes, sighs, laments, rejoicings—all of which the heart can do by itself—with prayer. And we confuse, earth and heaven, man and God. Prayer does not mean simply to pour out one’s heart. It means rather to find the way to God and to speak with him, whether the heart is full or empty. No man can do that by himself. For that he needs Jesus Christ…Jesus wants to pray with us and to have us pray with him, so that we may be confident and glad that God hears us. When our will wholeheartedly enters into the prayer of Christ, then we pray correctly. Only in Jesus Christ are we able to pray and with him we also know that we shall be heard. If we want to read and pray the prayers of the Bible and especially the Psalms, therefore, we must not ask first what they have to do with us, but what they have to do with Jesus Christ. We must ask how we can understand the Psalms as God’s Word, and then we shall be able to pray them. It does not depend, therefore, on whether the Psalms express adequately that which we feel at a given moment in our heart. If we are to pray aright, perhaps it is quite necessary that we pray contrary to our own heart. Not what we want to pray is important, but what God wants us to pray…The richness of the Word of God ought to determine our prayer, not the poverty of our heart…This is pure grace, that God tells us how we can speak with him and have fellowship with him.


This modified version of the Lord’s Prayer is written by Ray Simpson, a contemporary author. The prayer is from his book Liturgies from Lindisfarne, which are drawn from early and contemporary Celtic devotion, Anglican, Orthodox, Reformed and Roman Catholic resources.

Tender Father, always near us,

May your name be treasured and loved,

May your rulership on earth be embraced

and welcomed as it is in heaven.

Give us today all that we need for life and health.

Forgive our corrupted thoughts and actions as we

forgive others as well.

Please don’t lead us down harmful and destructive


And keep us safe from the evil one.

Because you are the one in charge. And you have all

the power.

And the glory too is all yours — forever!

And that is the way we want it to be! Amen.

Read Full Post »