Luke 11:1: 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.
We are in a series of messages titled “Praying Through the Bible: A Series on Every Passage and Verse Regarding Prayer in the Bible.” The purpose of this series is to encourage and motivate you to pray to the God of the Bible. We highlighted each of these over 500 verses and passages in the Prayer Motivator Devotional Bible. So far, we have completed 164 messages in this series.
This is message #165 titled, Have You Been Taught to Pray? (Part 1)
Prayer is often described as being simple; and it is. It is, perhaps, the simplest of all spiritual disciplines. And that makes one wonder, why, then, do so many people find it so hard to pray? It is because prayer is more than just saying words to God. Prayer is an act which combines mind, heart, and soul in conversation and communion with God. As John Lake said, “There is a mighty lot of difference between saying prayers and praying.”
What we want to find out today is how we can cross the line from just saying prayers to really praying. That is what the verse we are focusing on helps us to see.
First, we must accept the fact that we are not as strong in prayer as we should be. Luke writes, “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…” Apparently, this disciple had been listening to Jesus pray. As he heard how the Master prayed, he realized his inadequacy in prayer and the inadequacy of his fellow disciples. He saw how the Master prayed and realized that his own prayer life was lacking.
When it comes to spiritually important disciplines such as prayer, Bible study, faith, trusting God, and obedience to God, there is always the temptation to try to get others to think that we are much more advanced than we actually are. It takes a great deal of humility to be able to say, ‘I am not as strong in prayer as I should be.’ ‘I don’t read the Bible as often as I ought to.’ ‘I still struggle with trusting God.’
In order to become stronger in prayer, we must be willing to admit that we are not as strong in prayer as we should be. Paul stated in Romans chapter 8 that we have weaknesses as Christians, “for we know not what we should pray for as we ought.” He tells us that we don’t know what to pray for, and we don’t know how to pray for it. That being the case, once we realize that we are inadequate at prayer, we must develop a desire to pray better.
Notice the request of this disciple: “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.” I doubt that even those of us who pray often have asked the Lord to actually teach us to pray. We have not even sought the advice of others who are more experienced in prayer.
This disciple recognized that “John’s disciples” had been taught to pray, and he desired that Jesus do the same for him and his brethren. Matthew Henry said, “The gifts and graces of others should excite us to covet earnestly the same. Their zeal should provoke us to a holy imitation and emulation; why should not we do as well as they?”
While God certainly grants some believers greater gifts in certain areas, there is no reason why we should not seek to become more robust in every area of our Christian walk. We should view the various aspects of our Christian walk as muscles. While some are naturally faster or stronger than others, that should not stop us from becoming more proficient and efficient in our use of those muscles.
If we desire to pray better, we must humbly submit to the teaching of the Lord, the Bible, and others regarding the matter of prayer. Jesus Christ honors the desire of His disciples to learn how to pray. If He is willing to teach, we ought to be willing to learn. Prayer is such an important part of the Christian life that we ought not to miss an opportunity to become better equipped at doing it.
Not only should we learn from Jesus’ words to His disciples, but we can learn from all the Bible about prayer. There are over 500 verses on prayer in the Bible. Bible characters and Bible writers prayed over 650 times. There are an abundance of occasions for prayer and numerous types of prayers. There are prayers of praise, prayers of confession, prayers of thanksgiving, and prayers of supplication. It ought to be our desire to become humble masters of prayer. Because God is infinite, we can grow infinitely in our knowledge and experience of prayer.
Therefore, at church, in our private Bible study, and in our personal communication with the Lord, we ought to plead, “Lord, teach us to pray.”
Matthew Henry said, “It is a hard thing to pray well and it is Jesus Christ only that can teach us, by his word and Spirit, how to pray. Our prayer ought ever to be, ‘Lord, teach me what it is to pray; Lord, excite and quicken me to the duty; Lord, direct me what to pray for; Lord, give me praying graces, that I may serve God acceptably in prayer; Lord, teach me to pray in proper words; give me a mouth and wisdom in prayer, that I may speak as I ought; Lord, teach me what I shall say.'”
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Now, if you are with us today, and you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour, your first prayer needs to be what we call the Sinner’s Prayer. First, please understand that you are a sinner, just as I am, and that you have broken God’s laws. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.
Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved from Hell and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! Congratulations on trusting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. You have done the most important thing in life. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door, by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.
Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry which publishes a monthly magazine called The Torch Leader. He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty University School of Divinity. He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica for over twenty-seven years. God has blessed their union with seven children. Find out more at www.danielwhyte3.com. Follow Daniel Whyte III on Twitter @prophetdaniel3 or on Facebook.