Teach Us to Pray
One of the greatest privileges God has given to the believer is the privilege of prayer. God has promised us some awesome blessings if we would take advantage of this privilege. God said, in Jeremiah 33:3, “Call unto Me and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things that you do not know.” God wants to show us a demonstration of His power that we can only experience through prayer.
Jesus’ disciples watched Him pray and asked Him, “Lord, teach us to pray.” Notice, if you will, they did not ask Him to teach them how to preach, teach, or be great orators…they asked Him to teach them to pray. I believe the reason they were so adamant about it was there was something different about Jesus’ praying than theirs or others. When they saw the intimacy between Jesus and the Father and what the Father did for the Son, they decided that they needed the same vital relationship. So they made the request, “Lord, teach us to pray.” So Jesus gave them the model prayer (Matt. 6:9-13).
Let’s establish a working definition of prayer. In my book, Prayer The Missing Link, I define prayer as “a dialogical encounter with the living God.” Prayer has also been defined as “a believer’s communication with God the Father, through the authority and person of Jesus Christ, assisted by the Holy Spirit.”
Here are a few principles about prayer that are important to developing a consistent prayer life.
- First: We need to pray consistently (Matt 6:5). Note the phrase “When you pray…”
- Second: We need to pray secretly (Matt 6:6). We need a place where there are no distractions.
- Third: We need to pray thoughtfully (Matt 6:7). Remember prayer becomes “vain repetition” when there is only a babbling of words without a sincere desire to seek and do the will of God.
- Fourth: We need to pray forgivingly (Matt 6:12). We should always be ready to forgive others.
Verse 8 encourages us to pray. When we pray we are speaking with a person who knows our needs, who knows and understands us better than we know and understand ourselves. He also has the solutions to our problems.
So why pray?
Someone once wrote. “It is the basis for our communicating with God. Prayer is not designed to inform God, but to give us a sense of our own weaknesses, to humble our hearts, to excite our desires, to inflame our faith, to raise our hopes and to raise our souls from earth to heaven.
When we pray we acknowledge our need for God. We also pray because God has chosen to do through prayer what He has not chosen to do through any other means. “Call unto Me and I will answer you…”