sexta-feira, 8 de abril de 2016


You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.
Psalm 139:3-4 – NIV

This psalm is a prayer which reveals much about the nature of prayer and how to pray.

Prayer is an individual and personal experience. The language indicates that the psalmist is alone before God as shown by the use of the first person "I", "me", "mine". Jesus taught that true prayer is that which happens in the privacy of a bedroom with the door closed. The bedroom is a place of intimacy, closed to the public. It is the place of loving relationships where heart meets heart. Prayer is an intimate truth that comes out and goes directly to the Divine presence.

We cheapen prayer when we make it into a "public act". When it becomes public it is no longer prayer. Public prayer is "self-delusion". Jesus used strong language when he said that saying prayers in public places is hypocritical (Matthew 6.5-8). Have you noticed that Jesus never called a public prayer meeting and that he did not pray with people? When he was with his disciples he left them alone and went off in the distance to pray. He always walked away from the crowd, and even the disciples, to be alone with "Daddy".

Much of what we call prayer is very pagan. What can be more pagan than thinking that repeating the Lord’s Prayer in a public school has anything to do with the presence of God? If prayer is communicating with God why use a microphone to say prayers in auditoriums? Is God deaf? If we are really speaking with God why is it important that others hear what we say? I have been in settings in which loud praying was associated with a high degree of spirituality. True prayer is intimate communion with the Divine out of public view. According to Jesus, “Daddy” hears in secret and answers in secret.

At best public prayer is a liturgical act directed to the worshipers for edification and inspiration. Therefore it should be very short and to the point.

In essence, prayer is an attitude, the enjoyment of the Divine presence which goes beyond mere words. Even in agonizing hours, we need to open ourselves before the Divine and seek to tune our spirit with the Great Spirit: "Thy will be done." Prayer is not an act of speaking, but an attitude of listening.

For the psalmist prayer is "listening". God already knows everything and does not need any communication from us. The psalmist lived the presence of God and felt this in his whole being. God whispered in the "ear" of his soul, and he realized the greatness and beauty of divine intimacy.

Many times the most eloquent language that we can use in prayer is the silence of astonishment at the grandeur of God with us.


You have searched me, Lord,
    and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
    you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
    you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
    you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
    and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too lofty for me to attain.

For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
    they would outnumber the grains of sand—
    when I awake, I am still with you.

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