Lord, Teach me How to Pray
There must have been something quite fascinating about Jesus’ prayers that made His disciples ask Him to teach them how to pray. I cannot remember reading anywhere in the Bible of His closest friends asking Him to teach them how to turn water to wine, open the eyes of the blind, raise the dead or multiply bread and fish (I might be wrong though), but here they were asking Him to teach them to pray. They must have seen how powerful prayer was in the ministry of Jesus. He did nothing without asking His Father’s opinion (prayer) and they must have watched as He took time out regularly to pray. Whenever He wanted something done, He went to His Father.
Every miracle we read about that He deliberately performed started off with Jesus giving thanks to God and it was not only during good times He prayed, even in pain, we see Him praying and asking for His Father’s help through His adversity. When you look at the model Jesus gave us for prayer, you will discover that the first thing He was asking us to do is to make the will of God our highest priority.
What that means is that when we come to God in prayer, we should always ask for God’s will to be done in the situation. I read somewhere (I cannot remember where) that prayer helps change things but it doesn’t always make everything easy and automatic. Most of the time when we pray, we want things to be easy, we want the situation to change now, we do not want to wait or endure, but I have realized that in some cases, before the change comes, there is a process of waiting and endurance (learning process) we have to go through so that the change will be permanent. In real life, we spend three years in nursery before we move on to primary school, five years in secondary school before we move on to two years of A levels, that is a total of seven years before we go into a university.
It is the same way we should look at our spiritual lives; sometimes the trials we go through are just examinations to move us to our next level in our walk with God. We have to learn to say what Jesus said during His own trial period “Not my will, but Your will be done”, because at the end of the day, if we truly believe God is in the midst of our trouble then we must say those words and mean them from the depths of our heart.
The next thing I discovered He was saying was that we must learn to trust God for His daily provision. We must learn to take one day at a time, knowing that if today is okay, then surely, everything has been put in place for tomorrow. He is saying we should ask God to meet our needs for today and stop worrying about tomorrow.
He will provide the peace, joy and, finances for today when you ask in faith. God has promised to meet our needs and even to grant the desires of our hearts. He is our ever faithful provider.
The next thing Jesus talks about is that we must forgive others as God forgave and continues to forgive us daily. Every day, we find ourselves doing things that make God unhappy, but every time we go to Him with a repentant heart, He forgives and wipes our slate clean. He laid down His life for us before we loved Him, how many of us can do that? Let us always remember the story of the servant who after his master forgave him his debt of millions of dollars decided to torture someone else for owing him a few hundred dollars. This is what we do when we refuse to forgive people that have offended us when God forgives us daily for our numerous sins.
Finally Jesus tells us to flee temptation and rely on God for our ultimate victory over sin. The Bible tells us that God always makes a way of escape for us when we are faced with temptation, but the problem is we refuse to take the way because of the pleasure we derive from it. There are some relationships we are in now that we know we should not encourage but because of the pleasure and lust of the flesh we hold on to them convincing ourselves we will not fall. All we have to do is break the relationship, the way of escape has been provided, but we do not take it.
There are some places we know we must not go and company we must not keep but we convince ourselves that we are strong enough not to fall. We are like an alcoholic who sees a wine bar and decides to go in convincing himself that since he now goes for AA (Alcoholic Anonymous) meetings he will not drink. All he had to do was cross over to the other side of the road, hail a taxi and flee from the area. Jesus is saying we should not tempt faith; do not think that because you are now born again, you cannot fall. He is asking us to flee first and then pray to God for total victory.
Brethren, let these themes permeate our prayer life daily so that as we begin each new day, we remind ourselves of what Jesus taught His disciples. Remember also that prayer itself is an act which only the Holy Spirit can teach us. Lord, with the help of the Holy Spirit, teach me how to pray. Amen Under Grace, Under Mercy