“Lord, teach us to pray.” Luke 11:1
This simple statement, brought to Jesus, by one soul-starved disciple unleashed the greatest weapon in the battle against evil that believers will ever have available to them, this side of Heaven. The Request will never be ignored by The Lord, Jesus Christ. Whenever it is brought to Him, by anyone, in any generation, it is always answered.
Those humble enough to admit they do not know it all, will be enrolled in The School of Prayer and taught “to pray.” Those who confess they are in needy will not only receive instruction about prayer. They will be inspired “to pray.” There is no graduation day on earth from The School of Prayer. The lessons of intercession are learned on earth until the student graduates to Heaven. The only degree is a Ph.D.* (*Pray Hard Daily).
The power of prayer is found in The Presence of The Lord. Jesus makes Himself available to those who honor His Lordship and desire His companionship. Those who are proud of their education, and eloquence may talk about Him, and yet fail to talk to Him.
Talking about marriage and being married are not the same thing. In a similar way, talking about Jesus, without talking to Him falls short of intimacy with The Lord.
When David walked through the valley of the shadow of death, he discovered a life-changing truth, “You are with me.” Until that moment in time, David’s 23rd Psalm had been filled with solid references about The Lord. When fear overwhelmed him and danger surrounded him, David’s communication was transformed from a third person view of God to a face to face conversation with Him. Believing prayer does that…EVERY TIME.
There is always a great danger in being trapped in “The Valley of The Shadow of Death.” The enemy sets an ambush for those who become too busy doing the work of The Lord, that they fail to spend time with the Lord of the work. The enemy always knows the difference, long before the weary worker is aware of the loss of power. The enemy fears The Presence of The Champion, not the frantic efforts of the foot-soldier.
One disciple heard something in the prayer life of The Lord that was missing in his own life, and those around him. Recognizing one’s need always launches The Request and unleashes the weapon of prayer. Praying by blowing the whistle on others may appear gratifying, but it always invites The Lord’s correction of the whistle-blower.
Warning: Prayer warriors must be prepared to be changed, before they see a change in others. But I digress.
“Until the church utilizes prayer as the world class weapon in the battle against evil there will be little hope of a turnaround.” George Barna
“Lord” expresses a heart of humility, and a spirit of total surrender to the way and the will of Jesus. Prayerless people are prideful people. Only the humble of heart will truly know His Presence and His power. Heaven on earth, and in each heart always begins with, “Blessed are the poor in spirit.”
“Teach” reveals the process of prayer. The School of Prayer only enrolls those who admit they don’t know it all. English theologian and commentator, Dr. William Barclay, was once asked if a certain young man was one of his students.” He replied, “No. He only attends my classes.” His point was clear. Sitting in class with a stiff-necked rebellion to what is being taught only postpones graduation. Rebellious behavior always results in having to stay after school, or repeating the course.
“Us” unveils the essence of believing prayer, intercession. The Request was made by a single person, on behalf of a corporate body. Intercessory prayer is the very heartbeat of The Lord. He sits at the right hand of The Father and intercedes His followers at this very moment. Those who follow Him, not only have Jesus in their hearts, but they share His heartbeat and compassion for others. Selfish, self-centered prayers may very well be answered, but they always fall short of the kind of intimacy and intercession that mark the prayer life of Jesus.
“To pray” completes the point of the statement. Prayer doesn’t take place by listing requests, and sharing needs. Anyone who has ever led a Wednesday night prayer meeting, or an opening assembly in a Senior Adult Sunday School Department is very familiar with “the gasp” that escapes the mouths of those who have heard the latest ghastly hospital report on those who are missing from the gathering. The point of the meeting seems to be telling the goriest story, not interceding for their relief. In the words of a Texas rancher who knew how to tell a tall tale, “The first liar never has a chance.” Stop it! Start praying!
Note to self: Pray it don’t say it. Saying it over and over again and putting it before people, without laying it before Jesus, is not praying. Taking it to Jesus and putting it before the people is not always the same thing. Whatever you share, make sure it begins and ends in prayer. Anything less is not intercession. Sharing without praying only postpones the solution. “Lord, teach us to pray.” TALK LESS! PRAY MORE!