Yes, the first two words of the Lord's Prayer tell you everything you need to know about prayer -- for when you pray, they tell you that:
- You are not talking to an absentee landlord who must be brought up to date on the repairs needed in one of their rental properties.
- You are not dealing with an officious bureaucrat who demands that all requests must be made in the right way, at the right time, by the right people, and on the proper forms.
- And you are certainly not dealing with the kind of boss who must be wheedled, stroked, flattered, and cajoled before they do something nice for somebody else.
And right away, that tells us:
- God loves to hear us (because that's what Fathers do).
- God loves to answer our requests (because that's what Fathers do).
- And God loves it when we realize that we can trust Him with all the nasty bits in our lives (because Fathers already know about the nasty bits -- but they long to know that we trust them).
Prayer is not magic, in other words. It is not a petition. It is not a form of flattery that gets us what we want.
No, prayer is a family sitting around the kitchen table, talking about the day's events.
That's what families do.
That's what prayer is all about.