Luke 11:1- Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.” NKJV
Lately, I have felt a burden to pray more. With all of the happenings in the news (fires, floods, mass shootings, political unrest), it seems the posture that is most needed. But as I was praying, I realized that my heart’s cry was, “Lord, teach me how to pray!”
I was raised in a Christian home and have been serving God with a passion all of my life. I have prayed all of my life. I have seen God answer my prayers. I have witnessed the power of prayer. But periodically in my life, things happen, and my heart cries out to God, “Lord, teach me how to pray!”
Prayer, in its simplest form, is talking to God. We are all taught that there is no right or wrong way to pray, that we just open our mouths and talk to God. Be honest because He already knows everything. Talk to Him like you would any other loved one because He is relational. You have to begin somewhere! Yes and no!
All of that is true about prayer. Because we are in a relationship with God through Jesus Christ, we can boldly go to the throne of grace and obtain mercy. We see that in Hebrews 4:16:
Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.Hebrews 4:16 NKJV
A commentator wrote these words about prayer:
Prayer is based on God’s love for believers. Through His grace, He gives them things which they do not deserve, while through His mercy He shields them from those things which they do deserve.Dictionary of Bible Themes
So prayer is really quite simple in so many ways. And yet, we have seasoned Jewish men, raised in the synagogue, taught how to pray from their youth, asking Jesus to teach them to pray like John taught his disciples.
But I don’t think it was just that John taught his disciples to pray, so Jesus’ disciples wanted to be taught. I think they saw Jesus go into prayer or knew that He had slipped away to pray, and when He returned, all kinds of things started to happen.
Now it came to pass, about eight days after these sayings, that He took Peter, John, and James and went up on the mountain to pray. As He prayed, the appearance of His face was altered, and His robe became white and glistening. And behold, two men talked with Him, who were Moses and ElijahLuke 9:28-30 NKJV
Jesus went up the mountain to pray. He took Peter, James, and John with Him, and while He was praying, His visage changed, and Moses and Elijah appeared and began talking with Him. How could that happen? Jesus prayed! Certainly, they knew of prayer and how to pray, but Jesus prayed differently than they did. His prayers brought on supernatural results. His prayers brought God into the situation. Doesn’t God come into the situation every time you pray? Again I will have to answer yes and no!
And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there. But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary.Matthew 14:23-24 NKJV
Jesus had been alone, praying. When He went to catch up with the disciples, the boat was in the middle of the sea in a storm. What did Jesus do? He just kept walking until He reached the boat! Even walking on water.
What’s my point today? I know we are all praying. I believe we are all praying the best we know how. And I know we are seeing God answer our prayers. Maybe not as frequently as we would like, or in the manner we desire, but we know He listens to and answers our prayers. But does your heart cry to be taught to pray the way Jesus prayed? To see the things that He saw? To experience God beyond the comfort of knowing you spent time praying or does it desire to be in His presence as you talk with each other? Mine does!
Smith Wigglesworth was a man of prayer. He said he never went more than 15 minutes without praying. Once, some young ministers wanted to pray with him to learn how he prayed. It is said that the presence of the Holy Spirit was so strong that the others could not stand. Yonggi Cho, pastor of the largest full gospel church in the world was visiting with a pastoral friend. A young lady came in to serve them. The pastor asked Dr. Yonggi Cho to pray for her because she wanted to be married. He asked her how long she had been praying. She replied five years. He told her she wasn’t praying the right way. He prayed for her, and she met and married her husband within a year.
With everything in life, we want to experience growth. We want to move beyond the “God bless me” prayers to the “thank you for your Presence” prayers. We should long for the Presence of God like we never have before. I know I do!
So with this desire comes the petition, “Lord, teach me to pray!” I believe there are some things that I need to change in how I am praying about them. When I think of our political situation, I admit that I am unsure of how to pray. When I think of the Church as a whole, I know what the word says and what I believe, but things aren’t looking too wonderful.
As I study the subject of prayer again, I want to study with new eyes and a new hunger to speak to God. I want to learn to pray and get results more frequently and speedily than I did before. I want to hear from Him, know He has spoken, and obey Him. In other words, I want to deepen my relationship and fellowship with Him. How will I accomplish this? The same way Jesus, Wigglesworth, and Yongii Cho did. In prayer! Wonderful Jesus!