The Encourager

The Encourager

“"Lord, Teach us to Pray" - Jeff Curtis”

“Lord, Teach us to Pray”

By Jeff Curtis


People often ask preachers advice on how to preach, how to teach, how to use power-point, how to write bulletins. But no one has ever asked me to “Teach me how to pray.” That is the request that the disciples of Jesus made of Him; “Lord, teach us to pray just as John also taught his disciples” (Luke 11:1).


The apostles had some knowledge of prayer. They likely knew the prayers they had memorized in their synagogue education. They were familiar with the formal prayers of the rabbis, the recited prayers of the priests in the Temple, and the loud and eloquent prayers of the Pharisees. Something was different, though, about the prayers and the prayer life of Jesus. They had seen Him “often slip away to the wilderness and pray (Luke 5:16), or go “up to the mountain by Himself to pray” (Matt. 14:23), and spend “the whole night in prayer to God” (Luke 6:12). They had also seen Him rise from His knees with renewed strength, revived after communicating with His Father. They wanted what He had. And so, the request, “Lord, teach us to pray.”


Jesus’ response is found in Luke 11:2-13. He didn’t tell His apostles everything about prayer, but He did share basic truths needed by anyone that desires to improve their prayer life.


Be Prayerful. Jesus first repeated what is generally called “The Lord’s Prayer.” More accurately, this could also be called “The Disciples’ Prayer” or “The Model Prayer.” The longer and better-known version is found in the Sermon on the Mount (Matt.6:9-25). This example teaches us a lot about the God we approach in prayer.


We come to God – our Father. And so, the prayer begins with the word “Father.”


We come to God – the Divine being: “Hallowed by Your name.” To “hallow” is to “treat as holy.” The third of the Ten Commandments was “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain” (Exo. 20:7). The first concern in every prayer should be to honor and glorify God.


Be Persistent. To encourage His disciples to pray, Jesus told them the parable of the persistent host in Luke 11:5-8. In the parable, a friend arrived at midnight. In those days, hospitality wasn’t just a social nicety, it was a practical necessity and a moral obligation. There was no food in the cupboards, but there was room. The man went to a neighbor and knocked persistently to receive bread for his guest.


Be Patient. Why should we persist in prayer? Because God answers prayer. He who asked received, who sought found, and he who knocked had the door opened. This truth is illustrated in the parable of the persistent host. The asking, seeking, knocking man got three loaves of bread he needed.


Be Positive. We have every reason to remain positive concerning the prayers we utter. The fact is reinforced in Christ’s closing words in vv. 11-13. A boy comes to his father and asks for a fish. Then asks his father for an egg. The father would trick the son with something other than food.


Jesus said that fathers who care about their sons don’t play unkind tricks on them, and neither does our heavenly Father. Earlier Jesus used the same analogy, He had said, “How much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!” Matt.7:11).


It was important for the disciples to learn how to pray. Ahead of them lay Gethsemane, the trials of Jesus, His scourging, the jeers of the mob, horror of the cross, and the dark silence of the tomb. Today, wea are also faced with many trials and temptations. It is equally important for us to learn how to pray.



Passage to meditate on:

 Proverbs 17:14

The beginning of strife is like releasing water; therefore, stop contention before a quarrel starts.