90 Days of Prayer – Day Two
“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’ve 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 having 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 place for advancing His kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. God’s Presence is the wellspring of all future blessings, for ourselves and 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 flowing from the heart of Jesus must have resonated with their own. It’s for this reason genuine praying is caught more by experiencing God in prayer with others than taught through the conventional means of instruction.
A Simple Template for Prayer
From Luke 11:2-4, what has come to be known as the Lord’s prayer, is how Jesus replied to their request “teach us to pray.” Jesus employs 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 pathway to intimacy. The Holy Spirit has in part been sent to us for this purpose – to teach us to pray.
We address our Father in heaven as His sons and daughters! We reverence God’s Name and desire that His kingdom come, His will be done here on earth, just as it’s being done in heaven in simple faith with simple pointed requests.
Requesting provisions, owning up to our sins, forgiving others as Christ forgave us, seeking guidance and protection, returning to praise and being thankful completes an ideal template.
Although Luke and Matthew differ on how they 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.
The Spirit of Prayer and Supplication
Jesus didn’t leave us to figure out how to apply this template to all of life. He sent us The Holy Spirit who’ll teach us these things. The Holy Spirit is Himself the Spirit of prayer, and will help us to pray; since we really don’t know what to pray for as we ought, as Paul so clearly states in Romans 8:26.
Paul instructs the Corinthian Church to utilize praying with their spirit and with their understanding. Paul under the direction of the Holy Spirit lays out simple instructions for both public and private use for utilizing the gift of tongues as a regular part of their prayer life.
In 1 Corinthians 14:2, Paul writes, “For one who speaks in a tongue speaks not to men but to God; for no one understands him, but he utters mysteries in the Spirit.” We don’t always know what to pray for, here the Holy Spirit helps us through this amazing gift of tongues. Praying from our spirit inspired by the Holy Spirit gives the edge of praying out God’s mysteries “in the Spirit.”
Speaking mysteries to God through the gift of tongues confounds the powers of darkness because they do not know what we’re saying. We may very well be praying the destruction of their plans against the Church and/or our families. Paul said he desired every believer to speak in tongues. The gift of tongues is a powerful weapon in the arsenal of prayer for all of us.
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