Lord, Teach Us To Pray
- "Be earnest and unwearied and steadfast in your prayer (life), being (both) alert and intent in (your praying) with thanksgiving" (Colossians 4:2)
- "....be constant in prayer" (Romans 12:12)
- "Pray without ceasing" (1 Thessalonians 5:17)
- .......and last, but certainly not least, "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God" (Philippians 4:6).
We love these scriptures don't we?!? I bet while you were reading you whispered an "Amen." We quote and post these scriptures all the time, but do we really pray? Are we really earnest and unwearied in our prayer lives? Are we constant in prayer? Do we pray without ceasing? Are we really anxious for nothing? In every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, do we make our requests known to God? Listen friend, I believe that God is impressing upon His people to pray. Not just say that we do, or you know, pray every now and then, but to really pray. Today, let's go to the Word and look at few examples of people who prayed.
Hannah in 1 Samuel 1-2 was in a barren place. She desired to have children, but to no avail. She was mocked, ridiculed, and lost her appetite for the food that she once enjoyed. This may describe you in this current season of your life. You have all these desires and dreams and it seems as though nothing is coming to pass. You've cried and cried and cried. Things that seemed to satisfy you in the past aren't quite making the cut. You've tried to "stay positive." But, I have one question for you, have you prayed? The Word said that in the midst of her barrenness, "Hannah got up and went to pray" (1 Samuel 1:9). The Word then says she cried out and poured her heart out to God. She prayed so fervently that when Eli saw her he thought that she was drunk (1 Samuel 12-16). Listen friend, the enemy may be trying to make you think that because God has not manifested His promise to you; that either He does not hear your prayer(s) or has forgotten about you. But the devil is a liar! In the midst of your barrenness, like Hannah, you must pray and cry out to God. You must continue to seek His face! Once Hannah finished praying, Eli said, "Go in peace! May the God of Israel grant the request you have asked of him." One thing is for sure friend, when you pray, God will respond. He will speak to you directly, through His Word, or through someone else, but He will speak. After Hannah prayed, the Word says, ".....the Lord remembered her plea, and in due time she gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, for she said, "I asked the Lord for him." Friend, I don't know what it is that you are believing God to do for you in this season, but rest in God's goodness and faithfulness. He hears, He sees, He cares and He is there (Jeremiah 29:12, Psalms 34:17)! HE will not forget about your prayers and in due time, like Hannah, your barrenness will be done, and your "baby" will manifest.....but you must do as Hannah did, and PRAY!
Daniel in Daniel 6 was being persecuted for his faith and commitment to God. He excelled in everything he did; so much so that the King had plans to place him over the entire empire (talk about favor)! Well, this favor on his life drew a crowd (some good and some not so much). The other administrators began to be jealous of Daniel and desperately tried to find fault in him, but to no avail. "He was faithful, always responsible, and completely trustworthy" (Daniel 6:4). When they could not succeed in finding faults in him, they decided to attack him by way of his faith and commitment to God, "Our only chance of finding grounds for accusing Daniel will be in connection with the rules of his religion" (Daniel 6:5). This may describe you in your current season of life. One thing is for sure, when you are really living for the Lord and seeking His face, the enemy can't stand it and he will try any and everything to distract you and/or get you to compromise/relax your standards. The officials manipulated the King into signing a decree that stated, "....for the next thirty days any person who prays to anyone, divine or human----except to you, Your majesty----will be thrown into the den of lions" (Daniel 6:7) "But when Daniel learned that the law had been signed, he went home and knelt down as usual in his upstairs room, with its windows open toward Jerusalem. He prayed three times a day, just as he had always done, giving thanks to his God" (Daniel 6:10). You know the rest of the story, God protected Daniel and caused him to be even more successful, but the key was prayer. How do you remain constant, unwearied, and courageous in the midst of trial and persecution? You PRAY. So many times when the enemy comes against us blood bought believers, we complain, cry, and do any and everything, but pray. But just like Daniel, prayer needs to be our first response and constant companion, not our last resort!
Nehemiah prayed (for more on him read Called To A Great Work) when faced with the devastating news concerning his homeland and people (Nehemiah 1:4). He repented and prayed for himself, his family, and the Jews. He prayed the Word and also prayed that God "would grant him success" (Nehemiah 4:5-11). You may be in a season where you really want to make a move for God and/or towards what you believe is your calling, but just like Nehemiah, you must first pray. These days we can't afford to do anything until we hear God's voice. God granted Nehemiah success, but one thing I love about Nehemiah is that He didn't just pray for success; he prayed before he acted, during the work, in the midst of persecution and yes, even after the work was finished. Listen friend, when you hear from God on something, you don't have to worry about maintaining the promise in your own strength, God will empower you to steward the blessings He provides, but again, you must PRAY.
And last, but certainly not least is the greatest example of prayer that we have and that is Jesus.
- "Once Jesus was in a certain place praying...." Luke 11:1
- "And in the morning, long before daylight, He got up and went out to a deserted place, and there He prayed." Mark 1:35
- "And after He had dismissed the multitudes, He went up into the hills by Himself to pray. When it was evening, He was still there alone." Matthew 14:23
- "Then they went to a place called Gethsemane, and He said to His disciples, Sit down here while I pray. And He took with Him Peter and James and John, and began to be struck with terror and amazement and deeply troubled and depressed. And He said to them, My soul is exceedingly sad (overwhelmed with grief) so that it almost kills Me! Remain here and keep awake and be watching. And going a little farther, He fell on the ground and kept praying........" Mark 14:32-35
- "But Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer." Luke 5:16
- "One day soon afterward Jesus went up on a mountain to pray, and he prayed to God all night." Luke 6:12
Friend, these are just a few examples in the Word of Jesus praying. Oftentimes we strive to be like everyone, but our One and only....Jesus. If Jesus prayed, why do we not see the importance of prayer....and pray?!? Jesus prayed often before and during His earthly ministry. He prayed in the wilderness. He prayed and spoke the Word in the midst of great temptation. He prayed when he was in distress and sad. He also on many occasions prayed just to fellowship and commune with the Father. Intimacy with the Father was at the core of His prayer life. And just like Jesus, intimacy must be at the core of our prayer lives, or it will either be short lived or a nagging duty. We can't just pray when we feel like it! We must pray, study and worship not by the clock, but 'til we are full and when we're hungry, we should go eat (pray, study, and worship) again.
We like routines and if asked we can usually lay out our schedule for the week. Is prayer part of that routine? Do you set aside time to get alone with God and allow Him to speak with you? Do you commune with God throughout the day? Prayer is an essential part of our walk with God, and we should value it enough to make it a part of our routine. Katherine Kuhlman once said, "I've learned to commune with the Lord any time, any place. I take my prayer closet with me on the plane, in the car, or walking down the street. I pray always. My life is prayer." Friend, let this post stir up a godly passion within you to let your life be prayer. Whether you're in your bedroom, in the car, walking down the street, in the store, in a barren place, facing persecution and great trials, or desiring to make a move......PRAY! When we pray: "Mountains move (Mark 11:23), healing is released (James 5:15), sin is forgiven (2 Chron. 7:14), stress is relieved (Ps. 4:1) and anxiety is removed (Phil. 4:6)".....and this is just a brief list of the benefits of prayer! Truth is, whatever you need will be provided when you pray....so PRAY! The disciples watched Jesus perform miracles, signs, and wonders, but when they saw Him pray in Luke there response was "Lord, teach us to pray...." Luke 11:1 NLT Friend, ask the Lord to teach you to pray. He will. Ask Him to pour out His spirit on you. He will. "Spread out your petition before God, and then say, "Thy will, not mine, be done." And then let the Lord choose for you. He will (& you will not be disappointed).
This summer, let's all make a commitment to really seek God's face. Let's be more sensitive to the Holy Spirit and listen throughout the day for His voice. Let's take everything to God in prayer before we go to people, social media, or whatever else. Let's make prayer our first response and constant companion. Let's spend time daily communing with God. Let's allow Him to do a deep work in us so that He can truly work through us! Let's allow Him to satisfy every need, fill every void, answer every question, guide every step, and do what only He can do in His perfect timing. I'm excited about all that God is doing in, for, and through His people. And I truly believe that this is just the beginning of a glorious harvest. But Lord, while we wait in expectation, "Teach us to pray and make us people with whom You can share the deep things of Your heart! In Jesus' name, Amen!"
Stay encouraged and be bless!