Luke 7: 1-10
To even call this passage about the Roman centurion a story about “prayer” (since that is the theme for this week’s GPS series) seems to say too much. There is no sense of any formal prayer here. No one falls on their knees, no bowed head, no one formulates a wordy petition, “Dear God…”
It’s helpful to me to see this model of prayer -- the centurion knows his need and simply comes to Jesus with it. He is real and vulnerable in his care for his sick servant. Any sense of self-sufficiency and pretense to competence in the face of an ill loved one falls away as he asks for Jesus’ help. It’s a way of relating to Jesus that frees me from any concern about prayer requiring the right words or “getting it right.”
I’ve struggled with prayer a lot of my life – What is it? Does it matter? Why tell God what the Author of my life already knows? How do I do it? Most people have these questions and feel intimated by the idea of prayer. Somehow, we’ve gotten the idea that there’s a “right way” to pray and whatever we’re doing, it probably isn’t it.
It took a lot of un-learning those internal scripts for me to let go of manufactured expectations and trust that I could just be myself with God. That, for me, is the heart of prayer. Shedding my pretenses and being real with God. Sometimes that means using words, sometimes it doesn’t.
I seek more and more to be simple in prayer. To not use a lot of words or worry about getting them right. To be myself with God. To lay down self-sufficiency, aware of my need and my joy. This, for me, is helpful understanding of prayer. Simple, present, real. And my hunch is that God delights in this.