“Lord, Teach Us to Pray"
(Luke 11:1-12; 22:39-42)
A surprising number of Christians never do develop a healthy prayer life. Prayer is often reduced to little more than a polite formality before meals or a hasty word at the end of the day. This is quite a contrast to Christ. His was a life of prayer. Because of this, His disciples asked Him to teach them to pray. In Jesus’ response we can learn at least two things about prayer.
Prayer Requires Effort. According to Jesus, it is when prayer is persistent that it is effective. In this humorous story of a man pounding on his neighbor’s door at midnight, Jesus presents prayer as a profound, persistent exercise (vv. 5-8). True prayer can be an agonizing work experience because it pulls out of one’s soul the great resources we have and attaches them to the even greater resources of God. Meaningful prayer expects things of the one praying as well as anticipating things from God.
Prayer Requires Faith. Effective prayer requires faith that there is Someone listening. I’m afraid that some people, even some Christians, do not pray because they really do not believe anyone is listening. They see God as distant and unconcerned with what is going on in the lives of individual people. The Bible presents a different picture of God. He is portrayed as responsive and most interested in what we have to say. In comparing the Heavenly Father to their earthly fathers, Jesus asks his disciples, “If you know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?”
There is no limit to what God can do to an individual Christian or to a church who will exercise this form of disciplined, believing, and persistent prayer. Jesus said, “My house shall be called a house of prayer.” When it is, it will be a house of power.
Dwight Moody once said,
“Every great movement of God can be traced to a kneeling figure.”