Yes, Lord! Teach Us To Pray!

pray

Learning To Pray

The disciples had spent a lot of personal time with Jesus. They had watched and heard him pray. They had come to understand there was a valid connection between the wonders of the public part of His life and the prayer life He led in the more secret places. In fact, they knew Him to be the very Master of prayer, because no one could pray the way He could. It was because of all of this that they finally came to Him and asked Him to teach them how to pray.

“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.” (Luke 11:1)

Most people would say that we, as Christians, don’t need to be taught how to pray. In fact, praying is so simple that even a small child can do it. What is prayer, after all, but communication with the God? Ah, but it IS more. So much more.

What Is Prayer?

Praying is the highest work that can be done. It is fellowship with the One True God. That’s right, it isn’t simply asking for things that we need, although that is something that Jesus assured us we could do.

“For everyone that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh, findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” (Matthew 7:7)

“Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 18:19)

“And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.” (Matthew 21:22)

Prayer is the channel for all the blessings of heaven. God gives us the right, through prayer, to take hold of His strength. In prayer, promises find their fulfillment, the Kingdom of God is able to come forth, the glory of God is revealed.

Sorting It Out

In the flesh, however, we are often lazy and unfit to do this wonderful work we know as prayer. The Spirit of God in us can fix that though, and He can help us to get it right. Thank God! Left to our own devices, we are very apt to slip into the “form” of prayer, with little to no power involved in the process. The quaint prayers we’re taught as a child, the rote words we often recite over our food, and even stirred up emotions can all cause us to pray prayers that lack sustenance, spiritual power and come to almost nothing when it’s all said and done.

So, what the difference? How is prayer suppose to be, or look?

Real prayer gets hold of the strength of God. It avails much. It can swing the gates of heaven open on our behalf. Why wouldn’t we want to learn to pray those kinds of prayers? Why shouldn’t we cry out, with hearts ready to obey, “Lord, teach US to pray!” 

Having Access Vs. Having Ability

We read in the Bible, under the Old Covenant, how people use to pray and the result of those prayers was might wonders. Now, under the New Covenant, how much more do you think He’s willing to show Himself mighty in our midst?

We know that He promised His followers power in prayer when they used the Name of Jesus. And we saw how they walked in and experienced that truth. It’s still not out of the ordinary, even in this day and age, to still hear of miracles and signs and wonders accomplished by those who call on the Name of Jesus.

The promises are still valid. They are still for us. The power of heaven is still available to us. The gifts that God has offered are still relevant to those who want them. In fact, we have been entrusted with that very work of prayer. The coming of the Kingdom of God depends on it! God’s Name can be glorified in answered prayer!

Yes, Lord, teach us to pray!

Simple Pleasure or Hard Work?

The simplicity of prayer seems inviting at first. Later, as we actually to do do it, we see how much harder it becomes. At that point, we might admit, even if only to ourselves, that we really don’t know how to pray like we should. Of course, we have the Word of God. In it are sure promises that are as plain as clear as anything can be.

The problem is that sometimes we just can’t apply that Word. We can blame it on lots of things, but sometimes it just comes down to the fact that sin has made our minds dark. Not that we think dark things or bad things, or that we don’t want to pray. We might even think we have the best interests of the person or situation in mind.

No, sometimes it just comes down to one thing – that we aren’t really looking for the most needful things. We aren’t always able to take hold of the liberty God has given us to ask from Him whatever we need. Even when we are able to do that, sometimes the prayer just isn’t acceptable to him.

Making Prayer Acceptable

So, what do we need to do in order for our prayers to be acceptable to God? How can we make sure He not only hears, but will be moved to answer? There is a brief checklist we can commit to memory that will help when we set out to pray about {fill in the blank}:

  • Does it bring glory to God?
  • Does it fully surrender to His Will?
  • Do we have complete faith in what we are asking?
  • Is there a related promise we can claim in relation to our request?
  • Are we willing to be persistence in prayer, even if the request seems to be denied at first?

Of course, these are things that have to be learned. And the only way to learn them is through practice, by continually praying, then praying some more, and then praying again. It may seem counterproductive or even, in some cases, silly, but prayer is actually learned by some hard facts.

It’s sometimes between the realization that we are don’t yet “know it all” and are, in the flesh, unworthy. There is the ongoing struggle of faith versus doubt. There is the contemplation of unanswered prayers and, sometimes even harder to swallow, unanswered “why’s”.

The Truth We Need To Remember

There is one fact that remains true about prayer, no matter what we think. Even if we forget it. Even if we forget it a lot. (Because, I know I do!). Our God, the Author and Finisher of our faith, keeps a close watch on our prayer life. He hears it all, the good and the bad, the righteous and the ignorant, the worthy and the unworthy.

More importantly, we must remember that if we will trust Him to, He will make sure we learn to pray. He will bring our prayer life into higher and higher perfection, IN HIM. We must, however, remain teachable. Sometimes, it is in the midst of our deepest feelings of ignorance that we are the most teachable.

We WILL learn to pray. We will pray in power. He will teach us to pray. How do we know that? Because just as, in His great Love, He would never have turned away His beloved disciples, He won’t turn us away either!

Teacher and Student

A student can’t be taught without a teacher. When we earnestly call out, “Lord, teach us to pray!”, we become the student, and Jesus the teacher. So, what do we know about the relationship between a student and a teacher?

We know that teachers usually have a gift for teaching. They know what it is that they are teaching, and they can teach it with patience. They don’t mind reiterating any parts that the student doesn’t quite have a firm grasp on at the start. A good teacher can even reach a student, right from their point of need. Isn’t amazing that Jesus is exactly this way when He teaches?

Students, on the other hand, come with a need of learning something. Having come with the need to learn, they admit that while they may know “in part”, there is still missing information. Sometimes that information is foundational, while some is the extension of what is already known. Some information may not be known at all. A student must be willing to both work and practice, as well as receiving correction when they go in a wrong direction.

That is our rightful position in learning to pray. We are that student.

Jesus and Prayer

Jesus knows exactly what prayer is. He is the teacher, having attained that status by praying Himself. And He learned to pray during His own fleshly trials. He shed tears here on earth as He, too, became well versed in the life of prayer.

Even today, it is still His work. By praying in the Name of Jesus, we come into the presence of God through that Name that helps us pray down blessings on us and everyone around us. Through repeated trials of prayer, it is Jesus that trains us as His own fellow-workers, to pray down the very Kingdom of heaven here on earth.

He is the perfect Teacher. First, it is the urgency of the need. Then, it is the joy in the answer. Sometimes He teaches us by revealing secrets about prayer from the Word. Sometimes He teaches us by allowing us to hear or witness the testimony of someone who has had their prayers heard and answered.

The Holy Spirit, having access to our very hearts, can teach us to pray by revealing unrepented or secret sins that hinder our prayers. On the other hand, the Holy Spirit can also quiet us with the assurance that we are pleasing to God. He not only gives us the thoughts about what to ask for and how to ask it, but He also breathes into us a spirit of prayer. In us, the Holy Spirit acts as the Great Intercessor.

The Most Important Thing

No one teaches like Jesus does. No one. And no one loves to teach as much as He does. Think for a moment, about the fact that Jesus did not teach His followers how to preach. But He taught them to pray. He didn’t speak at length about what makes a great preacher, but He had a lot to say about praying.

A person can have the utmost eloquence in speaking to others, but speaking to God is so much more important. In fact, it’s the MOST important thing. Lord, teach us to pray!

Meditate on His Words as you read your Bible today. Give yourself fully to what He had to say about prayer, and about how to pray. Have confidence that under His teaching, progress in learning how to pray will come.

But we shouldn’t just meditate. Just as a good student does more than listen to the lectures of the teacher, so we should do the same. We should practice prayer. We should stay at the foot of the throne and allow Him to train us. And most of all, we should rest assured that even as we stammer and worry that unbelief hinders our ability to pray, He still hears. He is still doing His part.

We are members of His body if we are saved, baptized and have received the Holy Spirit. We are a holy priesthood, and as such, we take part in the priestly work of praying with God for others.

Even as ignorant and feeble as I sometimes am, I will still continue to cry out, “Lord, teach us to pray!”


Today’s blog post was adapted from Andrew Murray’s, “Lord, Teach Us To Pray“. I believe it is a teaching that is still so relevant and so very needed, especially in this world we live in today! That is why I adapted it to use here, and it is my prayer that someone will find it useful to their own prayer life. I will be bringing more adaptation from this book, as well as others, in the near future.

2 Comments

  1. ordinarilyextraordinarymom

    Submitting to His Will is definitely at the heart of prayer…prayers for others and ourselves.

    Reply
    1. Stacey Lynn (Post author)

      Amen! I think our flesh makes us forget that more often than we admit…at least that’s my case.

      Reply

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