“Lord, teach us to pray.” Luke 11:1
It was 3:32am. As a longtime endurer of chronic fatigue, sleep comes and goes. Sometimes I could sleep for 10-12 hours a night if time would allow. Other seasons, I find myself staring up at the ceiling, rehearsing scripture in my head and seeking God’s presence because sleep evades me.
That night was not one of those nights. And yet, I suddenly found myself wide awake.
As if someone had murmured in my ear, “Victoria, I need your attention.”
“Yes child. Right now. It’s time to pray.”
I slipped out from under the warm covers and briefly envied my sleeping husband.
On my knees by the bedside, I sat a moment, wondering what in the world I needed to pray for.
Okay, Jesus. You have my attention.
“Ask Me the question.”
I thought back to all those time Jesus sought the Father in the night hours and the early morning hours. About this verse. About the thing that had weighed on my heart before I had gone to sleep that night. And so I asked, Jesus, teach me how to pray for Your will in this?
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Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
There’s no doubt that prayer is an essential part of developing and maintaining our relationship with our heavenly Father. As one of the primary outlets of relationship with God, proper prayer is an ethereal flow of communication. We enter the throne room with our thoughts, our worship, our feelings, our praise, our questions, and our needs– and God meets us there with His presence to sustain, direct, correct, rebuke, encourage, comfort, and receive our praise.
It’s like being in relationship with an intimate partner or closest friend, but better. (Because He’s God. 🙂 )
And also, at times, more frustrating. (Because… He’s God.)
As people of God we long to hear His audible voice, especially in prayer. How many times have you prayed for “a sign” as proof that either God is listening or that He is going to intervene in a particular way?
There was something about the way Jesus was connected to the Father that intrigued the disciples. They, like us, longed for a deeper, more intimate relationship with their God. And Jesus seemed to them to be the key. So they asked the obvious question:
“Lord, teach us to pray.”
Read it again, because this is one of the single most important things to know about prayer.
If we want to live like Jesus lived, then we have to pray like Jesus prayed.
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Do you know what Jesus is doing right now? At this very moment?
“Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.” Hebrews 7:25
“Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.” Romans 8:34
Your Savior and example, who had a rich and meaningful prayer life here on this earth, is currently praying for you in Heaven. Right now. Part of His ministry is prayer.
If I were going to ask someone for help with something, I’d ask an expert — wouldn’t you? So if we want to live like Jesus lived and so, pray like Jesus prayed, wouldn’t it make sense to ask Him to help us?
The disciples asked and received. They wanted to know how to pray like Jesus, and Jesus taught them how. But He didn’t stop there.
“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.” John 14:26
Jesus physically left, but He promised to send His Spirit to live within us. And guess what one of the Spirit’s jobs is?
(Yep, you guessed it. Prayer!)
“In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” Romans 8:26
So if the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray…
and He set an example of how we should pray…
and He sent His Spirit to both help us pray and pray for us when we don’t know how…
AND Jesus Himself is sitting at the right hand of His Father praying for us right now…
Do you think that, perhaps, He wants to help you figure out this whole “prayer thing?” That He would love for you to ask Him the question, “Jesus, teach me how to pray in this?”
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Asking questions suggests that one does not have everything figured out. It’s a sign of humility. What does scripture say about the humble?
“But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’” James 4:6
What is the big takeaway?
If you don’t know how to pray… ask Jesus.
If you’re stumbling through prayers because you can’t find the words… ask Jesus.
If you want to pray for God’s will but you’re not sure what it is? Ask Jesus.
If you’re having a hard time worshiping and praising the Father in prayer. ASK. JESUS.
Dear ones, you are loved. Jesus died for your redemption. You are not a burden. Your questions are not annoying. He wants you to come to Him so He can pour out His grace on you.
Relish in His grace. Ask Him the question.
Jesus, teach us how to pray.