before amen

The Profound Simplicity of Prayer

September has arrived which means our Missional Focus for this month is prayer!

Why is it that we have such a difficult time in appropriating the privilege of prayer?  You cannot read the Gospels without noticing how important prayer was to Jesus.  As you read the words of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, you become aware that Jesus was always withdrawing from the crowds and creating time to pray.

Jesus was constantly praying for others and himself.

No matter how busy his schedule or how urgent the situation – the authors of Scripture inform us that Jesus would withdraw from the situation to pray.  Here we observe the Incarnate God, ‘God with us’, finding it necessary to seek out His Father’s presence to pray.

If Jesus found prayer to be indispensable – why is it we don’t?
When we ask ourselves “What Would Jesus Do?” do we ever answer – Pray?

Max Lucado in his book, “Before Amen – the Power of a Simple Prayer” confesses to being a card-carrying member of PWA – Prayer Wimps Annonymous.  This is in sharp contrast to the PGA – Prayer Giants Association. I must confess, as I look at my prayer experience I think Max and I are charter members of PWA.

Where are you on the following scale concerning your prayer experience?

Very little – I rarely, if ever, talk with God
Some – I sporadically talk with God
Often – I talk with God every day
Very Often – I constantly communicate with God throughout the day.

In his book, Max shares with us the ‘Pocket Prayer.’  I have found this very helpful as I commit to making prayer an important part of my relationship with God. It echoes the tremendous privilege Jesus gave his disciples when they asked Him to teach them how to pray.

Jesus said, “When you pray say, ‘Our Father’.  He uses the Aramaic word Abba.  In fact, this is the word Jesus uses for God throughout the New Testament – except on one occasion.  It is a personal and endearing word that is similar to ‘Daddy’. The rest of the prayer contains worship – You are good;  a prayer of supplication, help me, heal me and forgive me;  petition – they need help;  gratitude – thank you and in Jesus name, Amen.

I have used this prayer as a standalone prayer or expanded on different parts.  It has been very helpful as I continue toward recovery in my program as a member of PWA. This book and this prayer would be beneficial wherever you are on the spectrum.

As we walk the streets of this city may we pray without ceasing that God will help us to be ‘The Hand of God in the Heart of the City.’

Major Ray Braddock

The Pocket Prayer

Abba Father,
You are good.
I need help.
Heal me and forgive me.
They need help.
Thank you.
In Jesus name,


(Max Lucado)

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