TEACH US TO PRAY
Luke 11:1 Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.”
We were at church in Coos Bay, Oregon for a Sunday morning service, there was nothing normal about anything else. This was our “day off” from tree planting and the church we were attending was in a former hospital that had been converted into a Christian community. The worship was refreshing but I will never forget the sermon I heard that day. The pastor taught on the Lord’s prayer as the model prayer for our private time with the Lord. I had never heard anything like that before and for me it was life changing. Since that time I have come to understand that teaching the Lord’s prayer as a model for our prayer life is as old as the church itself. Technically, that is what Jesus was doing that day, giving his disciples a model prayer for their prayer life. A. B. Simpson shared some powerful thoughts about this prayer and the Lord’s call to prayer.
“This wonderful prayer was dictated by our Lord in reply to the question on the part of His disciples, “Lord, teach us to pray.” His answer was to bid them pray. This is the only way we shall ever learn to pray, by just beginning to do it. And as the babbling child learns the art of speech by speaking, and the lark mounts up to the heights of the sky by beating its little wings again and again upon the air, so prayer will teach us how to pray; and the more we pray, the more shall we learn the mysteries and heights and depths of prayer. And the more we pray, the more we shall realize the incomparable fullness and completeness of this unequaled prayer, the prayer of universal Christendom, the common liturgy of the Church of God, the earliest and holiest recollection of every Christian child, and the latest utterance often of the departing soul. We who have used it most have come to feel that there is no want which it does not interpret and no holy aspiration which it may not express. There is nothing else in the Holy Scriptures which more fully evolves the great principles that underlie the divine philosophy of prayer.”
Over the years this prayer has been reintroduced into my life by the Lord. In the eighties there was a powerful prayer movement that seemed to be connected to Dr. Yonggi Cho’s teaching on the Lord’s prayer. Churches all over America were having early morning prayer meetings. As a result we had early morning prayer in our church for years. Sometimes, we had more people in the prayer meetings than in our evening services. So let’s revisit the Lord’s prayer, it is impossible to improve upon it. In it you will find intimacy, worship, intercession, petition, forgiveness, and declarations of faith; you will also find Jesus, after all, that’s what His prayer is all about.