If we ask 10 people what prayer means to them, we would probably get 10 different answers. The 12 disciples felt that the issue of prayer was so important that they asked Jesus to teach them how to pray as John the Baptist taught his disciples to pray. This led Jesus into reciting a model prayer that we refer to as "The Lord's Prayer." Prior to the Supreme Court decision on prayer in schools, this prayer was recited daily in schools across America. This morning exercise in praying the Lord's Prayer was the only time in some students lives of having a religious experience.
People often used this prayer worldwide in times of crisis. I had a parishioner in one of my churches that was wounded twice during the invasion of Italy during World War II. This sergeant had been shot off the wall of the abbey only to be treated by a medic and sent back to his unit for the invasion of Angeo Beach. That morning the chaplain came down where thousands of soldiers were gathered and stood on the hood of a jeep and prayed the Lord's Prayer over the PA system and there was absolute silence as he prayed. This soldier said that the hair on the back of his neck stood up and he felt a great surge of courage. Later in the day a round from a German 88 MM artillery piece hit him. He survived but never forgot the impact of hearing the Lord's Prayer prior to entering action.
We have many model prayers given in both the Old and New Testament. One was the prayer of Daniel when his life was on the line just before interpreting a dream for the ruler of a world empire. He didn't cry out with a petition to be saved but he first offered a prayer of praise and thanksgiving. This is found in Daniel 2:20-23. Daniel answered and said, "Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever for wisdom and might are his and he changeth the times and the seasons He removeth kings, and setteth up kings; he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding. He revealeth the deep and secret things. He knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him. I thank thee, and praise thee, O thou God of my fathers, who hast given me wisdom and might, and hast made known unto me now what we desired of thee for thou has now made known unto us the king's matter."
Often in the midst of crisis we rush into God's presence in prayer, state out petition and rush back to our task at hand. We need to reverence God and be willing to wait for his answer. Prayer is not a monolog but a dialog. God has stated, "Call upon me and I will answer." Do you wait for God's answer to your prayers or are you in too big of a hurry?