“He was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John also taught his disciples.” He said to them, “Whenever you pray, say…” (Luke 11:1–2)
We’re in a series of sermons discussing faith. Faith is the foundation for life of a Christian. The Apostle Paul tells us, “So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the message about Christ.” (Romans 10:17) We’ve each been given a measure of faith. So, in order to grow and strengthen that measure of faith, we’re looking at stories about faith from the New Testament.
In a sermon a few weeks ago Jesus cursed the fig tree. The Lord told his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, everything you pray and ask for—believe that you have received it and it will be yours.” (Mark 11:24)
Prayer is the link that connects all these stories of faith together. Prayer strengthens our faith and makes our faith effective. James says: “…The prayer of a righteous person is very powerful in its effect.” (James 5:16)
Prayer is such a common topic in church, we often assume that we know how to pray. But most of us don’t, so it’s a good idea to talk about it. That’s what Jesus did with his disciples.
The fact that Jesus’ disciples asked him for a lesson in prayer isn’t surprising. Rabbis would often teach their disciples how to pray – evidently John taught his disciples as well. Each rabbi would have a distinct style of prayer, but I don’t think that’s what Jesus’ disciples were looking for.
Jesus had already outlined this prayer at the Sermon on the Mount. Now they wanted more. They weren’t looking for a technique or style of prayer – they wanted to pray like Jesus. They wanted results like Jesus. So, one day, when he finished praying, they asked: “Will you show us how?” I think they were asking, “Jesus, what’s the secret of prayer?”
In teaching them, and us, Jesus gives us several principles of prayer found in the Lord’s prayer – sometimes called the model prayer.
Join us Sunday and we’ll dissect this prayer, looking for principles that can make our own prayers “powerful and effective.”