Lord, teach us to pray

“One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, ‘…” Luke 11:1

Can you imagine watching Jesus pray? Jesus would often seek a solitary place so he could pray (Mark 1 :35). What did that look like, day in and day out? I don’t know, but on one of those occasions it stirred the hearts of the disciples to ask, “Lord, teach us to pray (like that, too).” This was an important opportunity for Jesus. He had been modeling a life of prayer for some time and now had won the right to speak concerning prayer. I hope you and I will have divine opportunities like this in our lives. I hope people will ask us, “How do you do that or do this?” as it pertains to Christ and His Kingdom.

It is sad that the Christian community has lost faith in or, at the very least, the desire to pray more effectively. Maybe they have lost faith in prayer because they have lost faith in the One to whom they are praying. If you think that prayer is just a religious exercise with no real effectwhy do it? If you feel God is going to do whatever He wants regardless; then, why pray? Ezekiel 22:30 tells us that God did something He did not want to do because no one would pray. God does not get what He wants in every situation. This does not make God less powerful; He chooses to be beholden/ faithful to spiritual principles He has established. One of those principles is prayer.

Maybe prayer, for you, is just about asking for things you need so God will know your heart and then maybe grant your request. Prayer is bigger than asking for needs. Jesus Himself said, “Your father knows what you need before you ask him.” (Matthew 6:9). So, prayer is not just about making your request known. He knows! Maybe, He just wants to talk to you about your needs and discuss them with you. He knows; yet Jesus tells us in the next chapter that we must ask (Matthew 7:7). James tells us we do not have because we do not ask, or we ask with wrong motives (James 4:3). It appears that God has established, in the divine order of things, spiritual laws just as we have natural laws, for example, gravity or aerodynamics. One of these spiritual laws is called prayer. It seems to be as important for our success in the spiritual world as gravity is to the natural. Can you imagine life without gravity? Can you imagine life without prayer? We don’t have to imagine. In 1962, prayer stopped in schools because the public thought that the Supreme Court said it must stop. However, this was not true and the media did not want to correct the misunderstanding, for sure. The Supreme Court decision (Engel v. Vitale) took prayer out of the hands of the teachers and administrator who were writing prayers to be delivered on the PA system. The Supreme Court ruled that the teachers (government employees) should not be in the business of creating prayers. Students, on the other hand, could and should pray!

Justice Black delivered the ruling, clearly stating that…

the Constitution in such a way as to prohibit state laws respecting an establishment of religious It has been argued that to apply services in public schools is to indicate a hostility toward religion or toward prayer. Nothing, of course, could be more wrong. The history of man is inseparable from the history of religion. And perhaps it is not too much to say that since the beginning of that history many people have devoutly believed that ‘More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of.’ It was doubtless, largely due to men who believed this, that there grew up a sentiment that caused men to leave the cross-currents of officially established state religions and religious persecution in Europe and come to this country filled with the hope that they could find a place in which they could pray when they pleased to the God of their faith in the language they chose.”

The Supreme Court never removed prayer from school, but left it up to the students to
since students (and their parents and church leaders) believed they could no longer pray with each other on the school campus, they just stopped praying. This changed everything…teen pregnancies increased, test scores plummeted, violence and suicides increased as did school dropout rates. We should have prayed more not less. But that ruling and the way it was reported led many to believe a lie, to act upon it, to become silent and encourage others to stop praying publicly or to leave the public arena altogether, taking the Light and God- breathed influence from where it was so desperately needed. Many created a mindset to not pray anywhere even though the Supreme Court never ruled to remove prayer from the students on their school campus or anywhere else for that matter. Prayer in public and even in the church has been on a steady decline over the past six decades. Show up at a corporate prayer event, even the National Day of Prayer and see how few even make the effort to obey our Lord’s call to gather a pray, to be a House of Prayer. But pray together in the courtyard or around the flagpole, etc. But,
maybe we can start praying more and with each other again. We can start with the Lord’s Prayer. The Lord’s answer to the disciple’s question about how to pray was the Lord’s prayer. It was not given by Jesus so we would just recite it; but it offers an outline of important issues you can talk to your heavenly Father about. As with any outline, you must fill in the lines as you pray. Using the Lord’s Prayer as an outline, you could literally pray for hours. Just stop with each line of the prayer and fill in the things on your heart. He is waiting to hear from you.
Love’s Influence For Everyone who truly enjoys times of Prayer.

J.W. Brinkley