Jesus, Teach Us To Pray
If there were a set of people who knew how difficult it was to pray it would have to be Jesus' disciples. Don't believe me?
In Luke 11:1 we see one of Jesus' disciples asking HIM to teach them "to pray" not necessarily "how" to pray but to carry out the actual act of prayer. And what about in Matthew 26:36-40 when Jesus took Peter, James & John to go pray with HIM at Gethsemane only for HIM to meet them asleep? Or what about me (Yes I am a disciple of Jesus Christ haha), who used to have the excuse of "not having enough time to pray"? Either way it goes praying can be a difficult process to carry out. But why?
Because the act of prayer is spiritual and not of the flesh. Matthew 26:41 tells us that "The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak" and these two are in constant battle day and night (Galatians 5:17). Praying is an act of worship and those who seek to worship God must worship in spirit and in truth. Through prayer we give thanks to God our father, through prayer we present HIM with our requests and desires and through prayer we show that God is great and that our faith lies with him (because why would we pray to someone who we don't believe is capable of answering our prayers!). It takes practice and constant living out the word to train the spirit to do the will of God and praying is the will of God (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).
Prayer should be a lifestyle and not a 911 emergency call line when something bad happens. Prayer does not have to be done on bended knees and with interlocked fingers but can be done when you are walking to class or the grocery store, driving, laying down, on the treadmill, in the shower or even at work. Prayer can be carried out absolutely anywhere because God is Omnipresent (everywhere at the same time) and even the tiniest of whispers are heard by HIM.
So what replies or words of encouragement did Jesus most likely have for these disciples?
To the first disciples he offers a model:
“Father, may your name be kept holy.
May your Kingdom come soon.
Give us each day the food we need,
and forgive us our sins,
as we forgive those who sin against us.
And don’t let us yield to temptation"
I believe he taught them this model to show them that prayer does not have to be difficult or full of lofty ambiguous words but simple and straight to the point, just like talking to the person next to you!
To Peter, James & John:
He says to keep "WATCH" & pray. The more alert you are to the things happening around you, to the brokenness in people's heart or the state of this world, the easier it is for you to pray. How can we see everything that is going on and not pray for protection and guidance? Watch and pray in order not to give into temptation because you don't know when the devil will try and strike and you don't know the day of Jesus' return, Watch and pray for those around you who may want to pray but may not have the strength to and watch and pray for the church (the body of Christ) that we may stand the trials of time.
& to me:
He may encourage to "Be still". It is very easy for our busy lifestyles to take up so much of our time that we lose track of what's important and it is very easy for us to let trivial things such as being on the phone and watching tv shows get in the way of our prayer life. But He reminds me daily that even through the chaos and busyness, He is there and that I should be still and engage in his presence. Despite the fact that I may not have the time to go into my closet or room and pray a lengthy prayer like I would, I can pray one of these simple yet powerful words throughout my day:
The bottom line is to pray continually and I personally pray for you all that God will give you a willing, persistent and fervent spirit of prayer in Jesus mighty name. Amen