Teach Us To Pray
Luke 11:1 “And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.”
Every child of God has need to pray more often, more effectively, and more like Jesus. The disciples recognized this great need in their lives as they asked Jesus to teach them to pray. This was not a petition for instruction on HOW to pray, but rather, it was a sincere request for motivation TO pray. There is a huge difference between the two requests. By asking Jesus to teach them to pray, they were willingly and transparently admitting fault. Like many of us, they knew the value of prayer and understood its eternal benefits. They must have had their own cliches about praying as we do. But they sought for a prayer life that went beneath the surface of superficial sayings and directly to the heart of God. Have you learned TO pray? Most of us know HOW to pray, but do we?
In order to realize the need for prayer, let us examine a few Biblical reasons for praying.
We should pray because of the example of Jesus. Jesus prayed before miracles and times of great need. He openly called upon his Father to multiply food portions, heal sick people, and even raise the dead. This public praying promoted the power of believing prayer, not only to the multitudes, but also to his disciples. However, Jesus private prayers had the most influence and were the most intriguing to them. Jesus constantly felt a need to make his wished and his will known to His Father. Jesus lived a life of prayer that caused his disciples to want for themselves the level of relationship He had with His heavenly Father. When people survey your life, what habits, disciplines, or character traits would be worthy of them asking you to teach them? Our prayer life, our witnessing habits, and our godly spirit should trigger the question from others, “Would you teach me to______________?” What virtuous quality in your life can be put in that blank?
We should pray because our Father in heaven wants to hear from us. In response to their question about prayer, Jesus says so much in just the first four words of his reply: “WHEN ye pray, SAY.” He assumes that they have a scheduled time to pray, and He urges them to pray out loud. It is not enough to think prayers in your head or feel them in your heart, we must speak them with our lips. The Gospels are full of examples of Jesus’ audible prayers. Have you talked to your heavenly Father today? Has he heard your voice? We should be able to regularly say like the Psalmist, “My VOICE shalt thou hear in the morning; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up” (Psalm 5:3).
We should pray because we desperately need our Father’s help. Jesus, though he was God incarnate, was reliant on His heavenly Father for everything. He expressed this in John 5:30, “I can of mine own self do nothing.” The Lord’s prayer was never intended to be repeated word for word as some kind of a ritual. It was given to be used as more of an outline in prayer that we follow. There are certain areas of this prayer outline that require God’s help to fulfill. We need God’s help to hallow His name. Everywhere we go, we are mirroring the reputation of our God, and people will only see a clear portrayal of Him if we are communing with God in prayer. We need God’s provision of daily bread in our lives. Prayer allows access God’s storehouses of provision in our life. We need our heavenly Father’s help, and prayer enlists God’s help in our daily lives. Have you told Him today that you need Him?
God wants us to pray, and He is willing to place us in unpleasant situations at times to teach us this valuable practice. He wants to hear you claim His promises, express your frustrations, and ask Him questions. Often we send God text message prayers, but He is not interested in our texts. He wants the full expression of what we are thinking, feeling, and experiencing. Looking back on this week, can you say transparently like the Psalmist, “I have declared my ways”? (Psalm 119:26).