“Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He finished, one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.”
I have made that same request numerous times since coming to Christ in the late seventies, I still make it from time to time. It’s a wise request for anyone serious about God’s will being done on earth as it is in heaven. So, “Lord teach us to pray” is by far the greatest prayer request any follower of Christ can make. Learning to connect with God is the starting point of all future blessings, for ourselves as well as for those we pray for. I’m reminded of Andrew Murray who said “Everything He is & has is our very own. Because He Himself is our life, we should feel assured that if we ask, He will be delighted to take us into closer fellowship with Himself and teach us to pray as He prays.”1
The disciples were with Jesus every day. So, we know they’ve heard him pray many times. I imagine His prayers were so unlike any of theirs, and unlike any they’ve ever heard before, They just had to ask him. Every word coming from his heart must have resonated with their own. Genuine praying is caught more by experiencing God than taught by others through the conventional means of instruction.
From Luke 11:2-4, what has come to be known as the Lord’s prayer, is how Jesus replied to their request. He employed a common rabbinical method for teaching students, he gives them a prayer template to guide them. His high priestly prayer from John 17 is an excellent example of “the Lord’s prayer template.” We learn best by seeing and doing than simply hearing and reading.
We learn by waiting on God in prayer to enlighten us through the Scriptures. Learning to hear God’s voice for ourselves until we become familiar with Him, is the way to intimacy. The Holy Spirit has been sent to us for this purpose – to teach us to pray.
Addressing our Father in heaven – we’re His sons and daughters! Reverence for God’s Name, the desire for His to kingdom come, His will to be done here, just as it’s being done in heaven. Requesting provisions, owning up to us our sins, forgiving others, guidance and protection, returning to praise and being thankful. Although Luke and Matthew differ on how the recorded it, the template is essentially the same. If we look at this model close enough, we’ll see it’s as though we’re praying through the Ten Commandments.
Jesus didn’t leave us all to figure out how to apply this template to all of life. He sent us The Holy Spirit who’ll teach us all things. The Holy Spirit is Himself called the Spirit of prayer, and He will help us learn to pray; since we really don’t know what to pray for as we ought, as Paul so clearly states in Romans 8:26.
So, be confident in the fact that He will teach you to pray. Wait on Him for instructions as well as guidance and the Spirit will lead you into all truth. Ask Him today “Teach me to pray” and the Spirit of prayer who lives in you certainly will! Be expecting an encounter with Him today and Be Encouraged! – JSP
1 Andrew Murray, With Christ in the School of Prayer (by Whitaker House 1981), 10