We have a bit of a competition in our house. I don’t mean the kind where there is an eventual winner. Rather, each night there is a dispute at bedtime prayers as to is going to pray the Lord’s Prayer. The younger unnamed child can almost say it without any prompts. The older child doesn’t like to be left to only Lord have mercy and Glory be. I need to work on him picking up “Most Holy Trinity, have mercy on us / Lord be gracious unto our sins . . .” or the “Oh come let’s us worship and bow down . . .” triad.
This doesn’t mean that we always avoid a recalcitrance to pray. We all have that sometimes – it’s just that it’s more noticeable when someone actually whines vocally about it. We all need to be reminded that prayer is not an option. Jesus never said, “If you pray. . .”, He only ever said “When you pray. . . ” He also never said, “When you pray, do it your own way.” He said, “When you pray, say:”.
Does that mean there is no place for spontaneous praise or petitions? Of course not. But it is also a reminder that we worship God as He wants to be worshipped, not as we want to worship Him. We are not the centre of attention. Suggesting that we don’t need to pray, or even that we don’t need to pray the Our Father, is directly disobeying God.
As always, and like most Orthodox, I hope to pray more during Great Lent. Pray for me, that I might succeed in a small way.