Lord Teach Us to Pray: On Prayer by Ryan Harrison

by Christine Sine

Ryan Harrison has graciously provided today’s post in the Lord Teach Us To Pray¬†series.

Ryan is from Denver, Colorado. When she’s not at her day job, she spends her time creating: writing and designing, or trying to build a community of love in her little corner of Denver. She always thinks about keeping a blog, but doesn’t currently have one.


He bitterly referred to Colorado as God’s punching bag, my neighbor across the way. Not knowing exactly how to comfort the grieving man who wasn’t really speaking to me, I offered: “it doesn’t make sense, does it?”

And I slipped inside my house, my eyes burning with the tears of my city’s sorrow, to do the only thing I knew how to do in the face of such unspeakable pain… I went to pray. I knelt down on my floor, and the only words I could get out were come Lord– and then the tears choked the rest away.

I don’t know if you are familiar with a story called Three Hermits by Tolstoy. It’s a short story and worth reading if you haven’t. In the story, a bishop encounters an island inhabited by holy men, hermits whose only prayer is “three are ye, three are we, have mercy on us.” The bishop attempts to teach these men the proper way to pray, the Lord’s prayer, commanding them to repeat it until they’ve learned it. After the bishop is satisfied, he returns to his ship, only to find the three hermits running, on water, to him. They’d forgotten their teachings but with a humble, delighted heart the bishop ensures the hermits their prayers will surely reach the Lord’s ear. Their small prayer was an invitation to the miracles of heaven.

The hermits faithful plea for mercy, my nearly wordless prayer, and the Lord’s prayer have something in common: When Jesus taught us to pray, he showed us God’s infinite power, enabling us to cry out to the Father for his mercy, for his provision, for his justice and his love. Indeed, in the many days since I encountered my wounded neighbor, I have prayed the Lord’s prayer, especially when all other words have failed me. But I have also, always returned to my initial prayer of come, Lord, Jesus come.

It’s not until I sit and meditate on these four words that I truly understand what I am doing. I am asking the Holy Spirit to work in my life. Like a young child who still tentatively reaches out for the treat she’s being offered, or the timid teen who approaches the kind mentor asking “can I ask you a question?” I am reaching out to God: can you, will you come Lord? Is what I offer you enough?

I am finally inviting the healing balm of the Lord to be spread on my chapped and bleeding heart. I can pray with a million words, but only when I pray come, Lord, Jesus come do I realize how many walls are still crumbling in my doubtful soul. Come Jesus, and heal this little girl, still too young for the grief she knows.

Come Jesus, and revive this exhausted heart so that it can serve you again. Come Jesus, your kingdom on earth full of restored dwellings, redeemed in your presence. Come Jesus, sustain us on the path, nourishing us with humility and mercy. Come Jesus, our unfailing levy, our victorious lamb.

I will continue to pray my small prayer, my plea that is often the only thing prayer I know: come Lord Jesus, come. And as I do, I will continue to invite the power of heaven into my small life.

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1 comment

Suzanne August 21, 2012 - 2:05 pm

Thank you, Ryan.

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