Monday, December 27, 2021

The Importance of Prayer (Luke 11:1-10)

 "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).

The only thing the disciples asked Jesus to teach them was how to pray. It seems that Jesus wanted to elicit their request before He taught them. He allowed them to see His wisdom and good works. He also allowed them to see that He spent much time in prayer, turning things over to the Father and receiving His grace. From this, the disciples were stimulated to want to learn better how to pray, that they too might receive God’s grace.

We might expect Jesus to begin by saying, “Pray the Psalms.” He probably did not do so because the disciples, having been trained in the synagogues, already knew to pray the Psalms. If Jesus were with us today though, He might remind us to start with the Psalms.

Jesus provided the Lord’s Prayer as the model prayer, and we will look at it later this week. Then Jesus told the disciples to be earnest and importunate in prayer, to wrestle with God and not to let go until they had received the blessing. God wants us to wrestle with Him, not because He needs to be persuaded, but because we will grow much through the experience of wrestling.

Jesus’ power for ministry came through prayer. Jesus promised that when we wrestle with God, the Holy Spirit will be given to us in greater and greater measure (Luke 11:5–13). Then, like Jesus, we will have the power to cleanse the world of demonic influences (Luke 11:14–28).

Prayer begins with adoration: Hallowed be Your name. We usually begin our prayers immediately with our petitions, and generally these petitions have to do with our own concerns, not with those of others. This demonstrates the weakness of our prayer lives.

Adoration puts us in the proper posture to address God. It reminds us of who God is and who we are. We live in a time when it has become popular to pray to God “conversationally,” as if He were just a big brother. If this kind of thing breaks down deadness, it is not all wrong. But the fact is that God is not just a big buddy. He is God, and when we address Him, we should remember that. The Psalms show prayer with genuine adoration, as do many of the classic prayers of the church.

Have you ever had someone ask you to teach him or her how to pray? If not, why do you think that is so? Perhaps you need to find someone who will meet with you to teach you to pray more biblically and consistently. Ask God for such a teacher and partner.