Prayer Lesson 01: Lord, Teach Us to Pray

What is prayer?  Just about everyone - both Christians and non-Christians - have an idea about prayer.  If you asked the average person on the street what prayer is, you might get some variation of the following answer:

"It's where a person get down on his or her knees, palms folded together, head bowed reverently down, and makes requests of God."

That certainly is a decent answer, but is that all there is to prayer?  Think about your own personal prayer life.  You may know that prayer is an important part in the life of the Christian experience.  Yet, do you find difficulty in finding what to say or what to pray about?  Do you find that you only pray for a few seconds before each meal and struggle to pray for more than one or two minutes at night?

Let's turn to Luke 11:1. 

- According to this verse, what did the disciples ask Jesus to teach them?

  • Answer (highlight to read): The disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray.

The disciples must certainly been impressed with Jesus' prayer life that they would make such a request of Him.  There was something about prayer and being in communion with God that gave Jesus strength.  They saw what prayer did in the life of their beloved Master.

Let's turn to Matthew 6:9-13 and read the model prayer Jesus taught His disciples:

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.  Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.

You may be asking yourself, "Well, that is certainly a nice prayer, but how is it relevant to the problems and struggles in my life today?"  Let's read Matthew 6:9-14 again more carefully.  If you study each verse out, you will find that this prayer from beginning to end is full of Bible promises for us to claim.  For example, let us focus on Matthew 6:9.

Let's turn to 2 Samuel 7:14; John 16:27; John 20:17; and Galatians 4:6.

- According to these verses, who can we can we consider God to be to us?

  • Answer: Our Father 

Let's turn to Psalms 11:4.

- According to this verse, where is God's throne?

  • Answer: In heaven

Let's turn to Leviticus 19:2.
- According to this verse, why does God call us to be holy?
  • Answer: For He is holy
Jesus is teaching us quite a few lessons in verse 9 alone!  No matter what problems we have in our life, we have a holy God in heaven who is in control of the universe.  Not only is the Lord our God, He is also our loving Father who cares for us!
Let's turn to Micah 4:8; Amos 9:11; and Mark 9:11. 
- According to these verses, what do they all say about the kingdom of God?
  • Answer: The kingdom of God is coming. 
Let's turn to Proverbs 21:1; John 7:17; Philippians 2:13; and Romans 12:2.
- According to these verses, what do they all say about the will of God?
  • Answer: His will be done
Jesus is teaching us in verse 10 that we can trust the fact His kingdom will come and ultimately, His will be done on heaven and on earth.

Let's turn to Psalms 136:25.
- According to this verse, who does God give food to?
  • Answer: All flesh
Let's turn to Matthew 4:4; John 6:33-35; and John 6:58.
- According to these verses, what does Jesus say He is?
  • Answer: Jesus is the bread of life.
- According to these verses, what happens to those who eat the bread of Jesus?
  • Answer: They will live forever.
Jesus is teaching us in verse 11 that not only will God provide for our daily physical needs when we come to Him in prayer, He will also provide for our spiritual needs when we study the Bible and partake of Jesus, the bread of life!

Let's turn to Psalms 103:3; Isaiah 1:18; and Acts 3:19.
- According to these verses, what does God promise to do for us?
  • Answer: He promises to forgive our sins.
Let's turn to Luke 17:4 and Matthew 18:23-35.
- According to these verses, what should we do when our brother sins against us and repents?
  • Answer: We should forgive him. 

God promises us in verse 12 that God is faithful to forgive us of all sins if we sincerely repent of them and that we forgive others who sin against us.  

Let's turn to Psalms 50:15; James 1:13; and 2 Peter 2:9.
- According to these verses, what does God promise us?

  • Answer: He promises to deliver us from temptation if we call upon Him.
Let's turn to Daniel 2:44; Revelation 11:15; and Revelation 21:3.
- According to these verses, what do they say about the kingdom of heaven?
  • Answer: The kingdom of heaven will endure forever.
Jesus is teaching us in verse 13 that He will come through for us in the end if we keep our focus on Him!  As you can see, this prayer is indeed chock-full of God's promises from beginning to end.  Yet, that is not all there is to this prayer.  You see, each of these promises tell us something about God.  Let's go through a few examples, shall we?  

In verse 9, we read that God is our Father.  God is indeed a loving Father who cares for us - not just a dictator demanding obedience to arbitrary laws as some people wrongly think.  Verse 9 tells us that God is in heaven.  There is much wickedness surrounding us and we go through many trials and struggles in life, but ultimately God is in control.  In verse 10, He will give the wicked and the righteous their just rewards when He come to earth again.  In verse 11, God is our provider.  In verse 12, God is our Savior.  In verse 13, we can be with God forever if choose to follow Him.  Step by step, this prayer reveals to us God's great and lovely character!  

Lastly, this prayer leads us to a new covenant experience with God.  Let's turn to Hebrews 8:6.
- According to this verse, why is the new covenant better than the old covenant?
  • Answer: The new covenant has better promises.
Let's turn to Deuteronomy 5:27-29.
- According to these verses, what did the Israelites promise?
  • Answer: They promised to do all what the Lord told them to do.
Let's turn to Jeremiah 31:33 and Hebrews 10:16.
- According to these verses, what will the Lord do in the new covenant?
  • Answer: He will put His laws into their minds and write it on their hearts.
Friend, the failure of the old covenant is that the people did not follow through on their end.  In the new covenant, God promises to empower us to keep our end of the covenant.  In the model prayer Jesus is teaching us what God (the promiser) can do for us (the promisee) that we cannot do for ourselves.  Jesus is inviting us to pray to God, learn more of His loving character, claim promises that He is waiting to give us, and overcome the problems we face in this world through His strength!  Friend, do you need power in your life?  Do you want a more intimate experience with God?  Will you take the time to pray to God daily?

Happy Sabbath!

A Short Prayer