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When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, I wonder what they might have been asking.

Jesus, their teacher, worker of wonders, who would prove to be the very Son of God had just concluded His prayers. What kind of thing went into the deep prayers the Jesus had with his heavenly Father? Jesus didnt begin by telling them how to stand, or sit, what to do with their hands, how they should feel, what kind of zone to get into. He didnt even cite 1Chronicles 4:9-10 as containing the one might prayer that God will always answer. Rather, he began When you pray, say.... and taught them the words of the humble prayer of grateful children to an almighty Father. Many teachers today, if asked by their flocks teach us to pray, could expound on a number or prayer techniques. There is centering prayer, soaking prayer, labyrinth prayer, contemplative prayer, breath prayer, the prayer of Jabez, the serenity prayer, the power of crying out... Some of these are novel, fresh off the presses, others have a long history, dating back to the Roman Catholic mystics, or borrowed from eastern tradition. So, is any one of these types of prayer more effective than the others? Well, therein lies the problem, and I believe it is a far deeper problem than it appears to be on the surface. The scriptures do not give us guidelines on the physical, emotional, or mystical aspects of prayer. Men and women in scripture are seen praying in diverse postures and with different voices, but with humble hearts toward the Lord. As Christians---children of God, bought for Him by the blood of His only Son---we do not approach God through any technique. Jesus Christs payment for our sins is the only means by which we can approach God, and Christs sacrifice is 100% sufficient to that end. That is why we pray in Jesus name. The pagans throughout the world, who do not know God, and have not come to saving faith through Christ, has many techniques of trying to tap into a higher power. They meditate, they chant, they repeat mantras, they position their bodies, they injure their bodies, they have beads, and wheels and shrines, and even special dances and special drugs meant to bring them into contact with gods. They are lost. They do not know, or have not believed, that Jesus provided a way for them to know the one true and living God. We are not like the lost. We are free, not because of our own efforts, but because of the redeeming work of Jesus Christ on our behalf. For this reason, I would beg all believers to be separate, and to eschew all forms of novelty prayer, all prayer techniques that are invented by people. I know that many people get involved with these types of prayers with good intentions. I believe that most people I know who are involved with soaking prayer would tell me that it is just a way of praying that involves sitting quietly with God and enjoying his glory. Well, if that is what it is, I would beseech you to humbly call it simply that! Dont give it a name, and dont recommend it to others as a special kind of prayer, lest you cause a weaker brother to stumble thinking that you have a more special relationship with God, and that Gods presence can be acquired through a human technique. I have heard people describe their version of the lectio divina as simply reading Gods word and meditating on it in a slow, effortless manner. If that is what you want to do, great. Please! humbly drop the Latin and say that. Dont lead anyone to believe that your favored method of prayer is proscriptive for others or has the ability to do anything that the finished work of Christ has not done. Please do not go to places where people are gathered specifically for gimmick prayer. There are people there who are misguided about its effectiveness. There are people there trying

to use a technique, like the pagans do, and it sends the wrong message about how we are to approach God. We have the Holy Spirit in us, who will have us sometimes crying out, sometimes groaning, sometimes whispering and sometimes singing. We are to come before God with humble hearts, as grateful children to an almighty Father. This is a great gift---an amazing privilege! We are all sinful people. We would not be able to approach God for anything, let alone boldly and for all eternity, except that God loved us enough to send His only Son to suffer and die for all our sins. Please, let us not cheapen that by using, or even appearing to use, any sort of human techniques to approach the Almighty.