Know to Whom You Pray, by Allan Cooper

I mentioned last year about how important Father Buddy Hinton (known and loved by several Chapel members) was to me and to my older sister, Carol, during her precious weeks in a hospice. I once asked Father Buddy about my prayers for Carol, “I just don’t know what to say to God, Father Buddy. I’ve asked for healing and I’m just frus- trated. I’ve asked for understanding and I don’t understand anything. What should I do or say that I haven’t said a thousand times? Should I just keep praying the Lord’s Prayer or just ‘Thy will be done’?”

We had a long conversation about prayer and I’ve remembered many things he said. One of those things he told me was, “ ‘Thy will be done’ is a great prayer. There’s nothing at all wrong with you praying only that one simple sentence. In prayer, I often think of something that Jesus taught the disciples and the crowd on the mountain about to whom they pray. Right before the Lord’s Prayer, which by the way Jesus never prayed, Jesus indicted the religious establishment; he really roasted them if you read the chapter before up until the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6. And he taught them that God was quite different than what the religious leaders taught and practiced. He told the disciples to seek reward from their Father in heaven instead of earthly acclaim for their alms or their outward spirituality, and that their Father who sees what is done in secret would reward them. And then he told them to pray alone in their room to their unseen Father, who will reward them.”

“Did you get what he said? He was telling them, in essence, ‘you can address and talk to the Creator God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as your Father, just like I do. He is your Father, my Father; he is our Father’.”

“So I remind myself to whom I am praying. I’m not praying to an abstract concept of divinity or to a spooky ethereal force in the universe or to a cosmic karma. I’m praying to the Creator who made me and knows me; I’m praying to Jesus’ Father, to your Father, to our Father.”

ISAIAH 55: 6-11; MATTHEW 6: 7-15; PSALM 34: 15-22