Learning to Pray

I have been learning some things lately. I am learning that if I stretch consistently (once per day), my back feels better. I am learning that if I eat a big healthy breakfast, I have more energy throughout the day. And I am learning that if I don’t eat a massive meal for supper, I sleep better at night.

The truth is, I already knew these things before. I am sure that you did too. The problem for me was that I never had the discipline to implement these basic health practices into my life. Now that I am being more intentional about following them, I feel better and healthier.

But there is something much more important that I have been learning about – the power of prayer. Once again, it’s not that I didn’t know prayer was important. Every Christian knows that. It was more a matter of implementation. In the busyness of life, prayer is often the first thing that suffers even though we know that shouldn’t be the case. As a pastor, a husband, a father, and a neighbor, I simply can’t function (at least effectively) without God’s power and strength in my life. So rather than letting prayer get pushed aside, I have made prayer a much higher priority in my life. Whether it’s during my morning devotional time, throughout the day in whatever I am doing (1 Thessalonians 5:17), or with my family, I am learning to pray.

I love the story of how Jesus taught his disciples to pray. In Luke 11:1-4 we read, “Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples. And he said to them, When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name. Your Kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread, and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation.”

Obviously, the disciples recognized that Jesus had a remarkable relationship with His Father. They knew they had a lot to learn about prayer, which I think is what motivated this question. So Jesus taught them a simple, but powerful little prayer. It’s not that as soon as they learned it, they had mastered prayer. Rather, Jesus gave His followers a model to follow, so that they might grow in humble dependence upon their Father in Heaven.

If you are “in Christ” then you have the great privilege of learning to pray for the rest of your earthly life. When you reach glory, there will be no need for prayer as you will be in the presence of Almighty God. How delightful and joyous that will be! “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.” (Revelation 21:3)

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