Sunday, November 13, 2016

Learning To Pray

Jesus gives us a blueprint for prayer.

Luke 11:1-4  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."  2  Jesus said, "This is how you should pray:  "Father, may Your name be kept holy. May Your Kingdom come soon.  3  Give us each day the food we need,  4  and forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. And don't let us yield to temptation. "

Luke 11:9-10  "And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.

The word was out that John the Baptist disciples knew how to pray and Jesus disciples wanted to get some instruction from him. Nobody saved a copy of the "John the Baptist prayer" for us so we could know if he did a good job. We just know that he taught them and it made the disciples think that maybe they should get some instruction from Jesus about it.

It is interesting to note that the disciples didn't ask how to preach or how to love more or how to do ministry, the only request that we have recorded in the Bible is to be taught how to pray. Perhaps they saw him pray or overheard it and they realized that their prayers were not the same as his, maybe prayer was a struggle for them so they wanted to know more.

I bet the disciples already knew how to pray and they probably did it sometimes. They probably prayed plenty of times while they were out fishing and their nets were coming up empty or when a bad storm came upon them while they were out in the lake.

I grew up in church and I don't remember ever not knowing how to pray, sometime between the nursery and the children's department I was taught how to do it, but even so if I could ask Jesus to teach me then I would probably do like they did. I need to follow their example and ask Jesus to improve my praying!

Jesus gave us a model of prayer, a basic guide to the content of our prayers, it is easy to remember this format with the ACTS acrostic:

Adoration, this is the proper place to start and it is where we should spend the majority of our time. (Exodus 15:11, Psalm 106:2)

Confession, after spending time in worship we should admit to God how we have fallen short of his glorious standard. (Romans 3:23)

Thanks, we have been given so much and it would be rude to never say thank you for our blessings, especially when you are going to ask for more. (Philippians 4:6)

Supplication, asking God to meet the needs of others and then for ourselves

It is very easy to get the acrostic out of order and instead of ACTS we actually do SCAT. We ask for our own "needs" and make that our priority when we need to begin asking from God after we have given to  him the worship and praise that he deserves.

It doesn't matter that I have been taught about prayer all of my life, I can still use words like frustrating, boring, confusing, intermittent, difficult, or struggle to describe my prayer life. It is easy to get discouraged and give up.
Hebrews 5:7 While Jesus was here on earth, He offered prayers and pleadings, with a loud cry and tears, to the One who could rescue Him from death. And God heard His prayers because of His deep reverence for God.

Do you think it was easy for Jesus to have a prayer time?

If you think that you are too busy and that too many people are trying to get your attention and there isn't any way to get alone for prayer then consider how it was for Jesus. He had crowds of people begging for his attention and asking him to do something or answer some question. There wasn't hardly a moment of rest!

Jesus was in prayer in the garden just before he was arrested. I am pretty sure that I would be running away scared trying to find a place to hide but he was out in a public place where he could be found. I have to wonder if he "offered prayers and pleadings, with a loud cry and tears" every time he got alone for his quiet time or if it was just his final prayer in the garden.

Was that the serious, passionate praying that made the disciples want to know more? I can be just like the disciples, I can be in my quiet time and suddenly wake up and realize that my lack of passion in my prayer time made it too easy to fall asleep.

Prayer 101

✔   Jesus prayed for others. Matthew 19:13-14, John 17:9
✔   Jesus prayed with others. Luke 9:28,
✔   Jesus prayed alone. Luke 5:16
✔   Jesus prayed regularly. Luke 5:16
✔   Jesus prayed in nature. Luke 6:12
✔   Jesus prayed all night. Luke 6:12
✔   Jesus prayed with passion. Luke 22:39-44
✔   Jesus taught persistence in prayer. Luke 18:1

Jesus life gives us an example of prayer, how to do it, what to ask for and when we should pray. There isn't anybody better to teach us how to talk to God than the Son of God!
Philippians 4:6-7 Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
There is still a lot for me to learn and put into practice when it comes to praying. After all of these years of experience I feel more like a prayer wimp than a prayer warrior but God doesn't want me to put any value on my feelings, Satan uses them to get me to stop talking to God.

Thank you Lord for desiring a relationship with me and being concerned about me. Help me Lord to make prayer a priority in my life everyday.

Pray The Bible ( )

Prayer And The Difference It Makes (

Prayer For Beginners (

When Heaven Is Silent (

Prayer Resources (

Red Letter Prayers - The Jesus Way (