Lord, Teach us 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

What an amazing statement this is if you think about it.

Just think. This is the Lord Jesus Himself, being God incarnate. His prayer life was tremendous. He didn’t rely on His own power or ability, but that which came directly from the Father. He truly emptied Himself and became a man to dwell among us, and took upon Himself willingly the limitations that men are subject to. As such, He relied on the power of the Holy Spirit and the direction of the Father every step of the way on His mission in this earth, and prayed earnestly without ceasing for the blessing and power of the Father upon Him.

Yet what greatly impresses me is the fact that His disciples noticed something different in His prayer life. He had power in prayer. They recognized that this was the secret of His power. Think of it! They had seen Him cast out demons with a word, raise the dead, heal the sick, cleanse incurable lepers, and many other such amazing miracles. Yet they came to Him and they didn’t ask Him, “Lord, teach us to heal the sick like you do”; or “Lord, teach us to raise the dead like we’ve seen you do”; not even did they ask, “Lord, teach us to walk on water”. Instead, they asked Him, “Lord, teach us to pray.” Wow. As amazing as all such miracles were, it appears that the greatest impression was  made upon them by His prayer life!

Today, in modern Christendom, we have hyper-charismatic circles that run workshops and schools that teach people how to do miracles. Just go to their school, and they will teach you how to heal a tumor or how to prophesy to someone you don’t know. Or they have schools nowadays that teach people how to cast out demons, complete with learning how to break generational curses, historical blood-ties, etc. etc. And the whole of these things are far from being biblical. Instead of having workshops to teach us how to operate in signs and wonders, why don’t we have workshops that teach us how to truly seek the face of God in prayer?!

Now I’m not against the operation of modern day miracles. I know God still moves in the miraculous. I have seen it personally. But we shouldn’t rejoice over such things. We shouldn’t rejoice that demons are subject to us, but we should rejoice that are names are written in Heaven. And with the proper perspective, we should focus on seeking the pleasure of God by seeking His face in prayer. We should be seeking His will, as our Lord did. We should be abiding in the Spirit by faith, and maintaining our walk in the Spirit with a life of intimacy with God in secret prayer.

We have to confess it here right now, dear brethren, that often times our prayer lives are pitiful. We don’t spend the amount of time in prayer as we ought. We have a built-in tendency in our flesh to attempt to do great things for God before attempting to wait upon God to enable and send us. And even when we do pray, so many times our actual prayers themselves are pitiful. They are not prayed with the desperation and intensity they ought to be prayed with. They are not prayed with the confidence and faith they should be prayed with. They are often prayed from selfish motives and in sluggishness, even in the best of His saints. I dare not claim to be excluded from guilt here. The flesh is constantly at war against our prayer life, and part of taking up our cross to follow Christ has to do with learning how to deny the desires of the flesh for instant gratification and tangible results and to simply trust God in the invisible. We desperately need to learn to pray, and not just as a one-time deal, but we continually need to be taught by the Lord to pray, because as we progress, the flesh is constantly trying to undo our progress in growing into effective prayer. We are full of infirmities on all sides in bodies of flesh and blood, and need God’s pardon even on our best days. Oh, we need the blood of atonement to cleanse even the most holiest of our actions before God, and to pardon the faults of even our best attempts to seek His approval! Even our prayers would be unacceptable if not sanctified by the blood of Christ! But thank God for His grace, that where we’re weak, He is strong, and He is a compassionate Father who desires to hear and answer our prayers.

Faith-filled, fervent, fiery secret prayer was the secret of the Lord Jesus’ public power. Unlike us so many times, He prayed not with a nodding head of sleepiness, but with strong cries and tears! (Heb. 5:7) I truly believe that His miracles and mighty deeds were an outflow of His times in prayer. And I truly believe that we often have not because we ask not. We would do well to learn how to pray, and to learn to imitate Christ’s example. The disciples knew that the Lord had something special when they seen the amount of time and the intensity with which the Lord spent in prayer, and they seen the effects of it publicly in His ministry. If we want to see souls saved, if we want to see God move in power, if we want to see the saints edified and built up in the church, it’s going to have to start with us learning how to pray. Let’s all go to the Lord anew and ask Him what the early Apostles did: LORD, TEACH US TO PRAY!!!

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