I’ve read and thought a lot about prayer, through the years. I’ve experimented with Celtic-style, Korean-style, Taize-style, Quaker-style. I’m waiting for the book on Gangnam-style: I am sure someone will explain how the phantom horse riding is supposed to stirrup your faith.
Despite my best efforts, I still don’t know much about prayer. Maybe I’d have learned more if I had taken some of that time reading, thinking, and talking about prayer, and actually applied to praying. But I think I have discovered that one key to prayer is the same as in real estate: location, location, location.
I’m not talking about a physical place, though I’ve had sweet moments in both remote corners and busy city centers. I mean a head and heart space.
When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to prayer, Luke 11 records that He had just come from “praying in a certain place.” It’s interesting that we don’t know where this was, probably because we’d want to start running conferences there and charging admission. Instead we’re just left wondering, like what exactly Jesus wrote in the sand (John 8).
But while we may never be able to identity many of the actual places where Jesus prayed, we can be sure that He was in a certain place every time.
He was certain that He was loved.
He was certain that He was heard.
He was certain that the Father would answer in the very best way.
For all my flailing at prayer, I have experienced some profound moments with God, and seen some remarkable answers. But I think that’s likely more despite my best efforts rather than because of them. Too often, as I look back, my prayers have been quiet duty, wishful thinking, or self(ish) confidence.
But as I have struggled to pray meaningfully over some burdensome things in recent times, personally and for others, I have been encouraged that while my faith may waiver on specifics, I can still pray in a certain place.
Certain that I am, and they are, loved.
Certain that I am, and they are, heard.
Certain that the Father will answer in the very best way.
Leaving things there, the rest is details, not doubt. Call it prayer Realty-style.