My men’s group is studying The Sermon on the Mount, where Jesus teaches his friends how to pray. “Don’t babble on and on as the Gentiles do,” he said, “but pray like this…”

I encouraged the guys to write their own paraphrases. This is mine. I pray it speaks to your heart and encourages you to dive a little deeper into God’s word:

“Great God, creator and sustainer, who lives in the present, the future, the past and beyond the limits of understanding, you are like a parent to us. We love, respect, honor and revere your holy name. We want all that you are—your love, your purposes, your light, your imagination, your mercy—to be as real here on earth as they are where your Kingdom is most present.

“We can be greedy, so we pray that you help us find balance between our needs, our wants, the world’s needs and your provision. And, merciful Lord, we confess that we routinely miss the mark when it comes to following Jesus. Please forgive us and heal us, even as we allow your grace and mercy to flow through us and into the experiences and struggles of our neighbors.

“We are weak, too; there is only so much grit to our resistance in terms of selfishness and misplaced desire. We need your help to overcome temptation and—to be honest—we would appreciate it if you ran some interference on our behalf. And when we fail (as you know we will), please throw us a lifeline, and pull us back.

“Because it is not our Kingdom or our preferences we seek to establish, but yours. All the power belongs to you too—and we know we cannot, must not, rely on our own. And as for glory, God, it is all you; for you are light and love in divine radiance that outshines a hundred million suns.

“So Amen, and Let it be, and May the truth of this prayer settle into our souls and infiltrate the way we are, and the way we live.” – Derek

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Derek Maul has written for many news outlets, including the Tampa Tribune, The United Methodist News Service, All Pro Dad, FOCUS Magazine, Newsweek, USA Today, The Christian Science Monitor, Presbyterians Today, Guideposts, Chicken Soup for the Soul and many other publications. Read Derek Maul’s daily blog posts at www.derekmaul.wordpress.com.