Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Secret Power of Prayer

"One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples” (Luke 11:1).

Isn’t it interesting that the disciples asked Jesus this question? You might think they would ask something else, like, “Lord, we want to know all the tricks. Teach us to walk on water. Teach us to multiply fish and bread.” Or, “What we really want is the big one, Jesus: Teach us how to raise people from the dead.” Or perhaps a more intellectual disciple would bring questions to Jesus, such as: “Explain the doctrine of predestination to us.”

But these men were perceptive enough to realize that the secret of Jesus’ ministry lay in His prayer life and that this was not something that could be learned in three easy lessons. They were familiar with Jesus’ habit of withdrawing into a desolate place and spending long periods of time with the Father. They realized that to be powerful in ministry, they would have to be earnest in prayer.

And so they asked Jesus to teach them how to pray. They reminded Him that John the Baptist also had disciples, and John had taken great care to instruct his disciples on the art of praying. Training is indeed needed because no one is born a good “pray-er.” Why? Because there is nothing more repugnant to fallen man than to spend time alone with God. No man naturally seeks God. It is only when we are redeemed that we have any desire at all to draw near to God, and even then we find it difficult.

There should be a common yearning among Christians to be more accomplished in prayer. Have you not felt the frustration of being inarticulate in your prayers? Have you not felt sometimes your prayers are bouncing off the ceiling, that you don’t know how to do it? Have you ever wished someone would train you in prayer?

Jesus’ answer was to give the disciples a model prayer, which we call the Lord’s Prayer. Tomorrow we shall look at it more closely.

The Lord’s Prayer, the Psalter, and the other prayers of the Bible serve as models, and the Holy Spirit has been sent to help us pray. All the same, there is a place for being taught how to pray by a human master, as John taught his disciples. Do you want to be a better “pray-er”? Find someone who can model prayer for you and pray with you.