Teach Us to Pray


Luke 11:1-13 recounts Jesus teaching the disciples to pray.  The disciples came to see and understand that there was a connection between the marvelous life of the Savior in public and His secret life of prayer. There was power in the hands of Jesus. He could place His hands on the eyes of the blind, and hey would see. He could touch the ears of the deaf, and they would hear. He could place His hands on the leper, and he was cleansed. There was even virtue in His garment. He woman could touch His robe and be cleansed. There was omnipotence in His voice. He could speak to the raging waves and they would be quiet, to the hurtling wind and it would cease. The Savior lived a beautiful, perfect life.

When the disciples saw the kneeling figure and form of the Lord praying in a certain place, they asked Him to teach them to pray. As they looked upon the kneeling form, the Lord was suppliant; He was a mighty petitioner. Sometimes, the Bible says, He prayed with strong crying and tears. Christ is our greatest example of praying who “offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death” (Hebrews 5:7).

Prayer is the soul’s sincere desire
Uttered or unexpressed –
The motion of a hidden fire
That kindles in the breast.

As they saw the Lord kneeling in weakness, they could not help seeing that He rose in power and in the authority of God. So they came and asked, “Lord, teach us to pray.”

We find ourselves wishing that prayer could be more important in our lives than it is now. In the decision we make, the relationships we engage in, the difficulties we face, prayer should empower and embolden us. We can truly echo the words of the disciples: “Lord, teach us to pray.”

Surely the disciples had seen prayer to be such a source of strength and renewal for Jesus. Could it be the same for them? They might have been familiar with the rabbinic traditions and expectations, the times and places and postures for prayer, yes. Their request for Jesus to teach them about prayer was not based on their ignorance. They knew how to pray. But now they wanted to pray like Jesus. “The disciples seek one thing: to pray in such a way that their prayers will be answered.”  People like you and me may feel deficient, or even guilty, about our praying. Though we need not feel inadequate, there is always room for growth, and we have much to learn about prayer.

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