Lord, Teach Us to Pray
Lord, Teach Us to Pray
Paul teaches in 1 Thess 5:17 to "Pray without Ceasing." Have you ever realistically attempted this? What about praying for 30 minutes? Most people begin prayers with great fervor, and then fall strangely quiet or oddly repetitive and "cliche-full" because they don't feel they have anything more to pray, or their prayers just aren't "doing it" for them. Jesus seemed to think that when we prayed, we should expect tangible results. There is much to learn about prayer.
Last week, we began a new series entitled “Lord, Teach Us To Pray.” This, of course, is the request made by one of the disciples to Jesus in Luke 11. Jesus responds by teaching them the Lord’s prayer and adds some significant promises and principles regarding prayer.
So, what exactly will we be studying as we make the same request of “Lord, Teach Us to Pray?” In this study, we will look at a selection of the great prayers of the Bible and ask, with each one, what it teaches us about how to pray now. Have you ever thought of these passages in that way? Or, if I may ask that same question in a different way: have you ever felt you didn’t know what to pray? Perhaps you didn’t have the right words, or you weren’t sure what was the right request. Perhaps your prayers have fallen into a routine that was originally life-giving, but now is so ingrained that you only pray for the items in the routine. Perhaps you’re a part of this culture at this church which says to one another all the time: “I’ll pray for you,” and you do that, but you rarely follow through.
Over all of it, let me be clear about our purpose: When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, the request was driven by observation. Whenever Jesus prayed, it was obviously powerful. He would go to pray and come back noticeably filled with the Holy Spirit, and power – in the words of Luke – would “come out of him” in such a way that the sick got healed, the demonized got delivered, he knew people’s thoughts, he knew his identity and his purpose, and he had the ability to face difficult challenges and painful experiences. Unless I’m blind, I’m convinced that the vast majority of us are not experiencing that sort of power when we pray. It’s time we observe Jesus and ask with trembling: “Lord, teach us to pray.”
Jesus taught his disciples by giving them a model prayer. His model prayer was built on the many model prayers throughout scripture. The purpose of that prayer, and of all the prayers that are recorded, is that the people of God would know how to pray. Therefore, let me repeat once again our method: We will examine – one at a time – several of the great prayers in the Bible specifically seeking to be apprenticed in our prayer lives as individuals and as a body. Lord, teach us to pray!
Over the next several weeks, we will learn from the great prayers of the Bible. There are hundreds of them (Psalms provides 150 alone), so we won't look at all of them. However, the prayers we study on Sundays is just an appetizer! The absolute best way to learn to pray from these prayers is (drumroll......) to pray them. If you can't relate to the words, I assure you, there are believers in the world right now who can. Learn to expand your faith, your emotions, and your love with the prayers of the Bible... you'll find that praying "without ceasing" is easier and easier.