Very diffidently introducing a series on prayer to the discussion/house-group at Holy Trinity, I found myself pondering how Jesus would have prayed with his disciples. Liturgically in the synagogue, one assumes, but what went on when they were together as a group? Did he teach them extempore prayer as well as the Lord’s Prayer? Can you teach it anyway?
One of the insights we had was that the kind of extempore prayer that is often found in prayer groups actually uses Biblical and ‘customary’ phrases that are learned from study or the prayers of others. That does not make it any the less spontaneous, but it does draw that kind of prayer closer to ‘liturgical’ prayer.
The other thing we rejoiced in was that you cannot privilege one sort of prayer over another as more ‘authentic’ or ‘better’. Silent meditation can be torture for extraverts, and long liturgical prayers can make ‘doers’ twitch with impatience.
So ‘what would Jesus pray’? Really?