Today Thurman gives us a structure for prayer (he seems to like structures). First, you address God, you name God and provide a greeting or a recognition of affiliation. Second, as you recognize God it brings a feeling or thought of your attitude towards God. He says this is “most naturally expressed in some form of thanksgiving and praise”. (I’m not so sure that’s my ‘natural’ feeling when I bring a feeling or thought about God. Sometimes it’s contrition, sometimes its frustration, sometimes it fear. But, at least there is some attachment I can identify.)
Thurman goes on to say that thanksgiving inspires an awareness of our short comings and failures which we confess and then, we ask for forgiveness. With a sense of forgiveness, cleansing and purification, we then relay our hopes, desires and needs, our longings. Finally in our prayer time, the turning point is when we don’t just leave those longings and petitions for God to handle, but; we have to figure out how we share with God in the task of redeeming humans. Asking ourselves how we are willing to get involved to meet the world’s needs. Thurman alleges that “prayer would be meaningless if one prayed for a change in the world and then was unwilling to change one’s “private attitude of antagonism or prejudice”.
I appreciate Thurman’s desire for a linear flow in prayer. I feel convicted about the last part- what am I going to do to meet the world’s needs. But, my prayers often look more like this: Thurman Day 7 graphic