Lord, teach us how to pray [1]   Leave a comment

Prayer

Prayer

Once Jesus was in a certain place praying. As he finished, one of his disciples came to him and said, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” Luke 11:1-4

I’m glad this question was asked by a disciple of Jesus and the answer recorded in the scripture by the author. We are not champions in prayers and do not always know what God wants us to pray for. So the Spirit helps us to pray because we often lose track. Paul mentioned in his epistle to the Romans :

And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words.” Romans 8:26

James told his readers that they prayed and did not receive because their motives were wrong.

And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure.” James 4:3

Several years ago, I did not find the desire to pray because I did not have clear answers to these basic questions about prayer: What is prayer? Why praying? How to pray? What to pray for? Where to pray? When to pray? How not to pray?

Our Good Lord has given a model prayer in Luke 11 and Matthew 6 to guide us when we pray. If we struggle to pray, it will be essential to question whether we’re following God’s guidelines regarding these 7 questions above.

What is Prayer?

Prayer is a means of communication with God. I have read several books on relationship and all the authors unanimously and independently said that the #1 element to a healthy communion is communication. If there’s a lack of communication, there will be many misunderstandings and conflicts which will remain unresolved. When we communicate, we create stronger bonds. Prayer is not necessarily about asking. When I communicate with my wife, we do not necessarily ask something from each other, we share ideas and feelings. Prayer allows us to share our feelings with God and know His thoughts.

Why praying?

As mentioned in Mat. 6:8,  Jesus said “Your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him

David said “You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord.” Ps. 139:4

So why should I pray if God already knows my heart, my needs and thoughts?

Praying is an act of humility, maintains communion and demonstrates faith. When Jesus taught his disciples to pray, He described God as being a father. A father already knows that his kid needs to have his torn shoes replaced and he will provide for it. If the kid never spoke and just assumed dad will give the pair of shoes then how will there be a filial relationship? Refusing to ask for help is a prideful act. When we pray we are actually submitting ourselves and acknowledging God is the provider. Prayer is not only about asking but also about saying “Thank you”.  When Jesus healed the 10 lepers, only one returned to thank him.

One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, “Praise God!” He fell to the ground at Jesus’ feet, thanking him for what he had done. This man was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, “Didn’t I heal ten men? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” Luke 17:16

When we are grateful, we need to say it. Many times we forget to say thank you to those around us because we assume that the service rendered to us is normal.

There’re many directives God wants to tell us regarding our callings. Prayer is much more than asking and thanksgiving. It is a means for us to listen to what God has to say.

Moses and God were like friends and talked “spiritual business”.

Inside the Tent of Meeting, the Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend” Ex. 33:11

When we pray we become aware of many sins and thus offers us an opportunity to repent.

Many people do not know God’s will because they do not pray. If they do pray and still find it boring then they should probably examine how they are praying. Next post How not to pray.
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Posted October 13, 2014 by Cedric in My writings (English)

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