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The Scriptorium

Learning to Pray

School's in session, and you're invited. Luke 11.1

Luke 11 (1)

Pray Psalm 25.4, 5.
Show me Your ways, O LORD;
Teach me Your paths.
Lead me in Your truth and teach me,
For You are the God of my salvation;
On You I wait all the day.

Sing Psalm 25.4, 5.
(Festal Song: Rise Up, O Men of God)
Make me to know Your ways, teach me Your paths, O Lord!
My Savior, all day long I wait and seek You in Your Word.

Read and meditate on Luke 11.1.

1.What did the disciple ask Jesus to do?

2. What prompted him to ask this?

Is it possible that this disciple had never prayed before? Not likely. But he seemed to think that he and his colleagues needed some additional instruction. They saw John teaching his disciples to pray, and they had been with Jesus and watched Him pray – as in this instance – many times before. They must have felt that, compared to how Jesus prayed, and even John’s disciples, something was missing in their “prayer life”.

So it is with all of us. Prayer does not come naturally to us. We must learn to pray, and the precondition for learning to pray is wanting to learn to pray, like this disciple. Only God can teach us to pray, and He may use a variety of means to help us improve in this most foundational Christian practice. Jesus’ example and teaching provide the core curriculum on prayer, and here in the first part of Luke 11 we get to sit in on one of His most extensive teachings on this subject.

We can learn much about prayer from Luke 11.1-13. Our prayer life can be richer, more satisfying, more filled with the sense of Jesus’ Presence, more brimming with Holy Spirit power, more consistent and constant, more resolute and complete, and more infectious if we will pay careful attention through the next 12 verses of this chapter.

But first we must ask ourselves: Do we want to learn to pray? Or are we, like the Pharisees of Jesus’ day, content with our prayers being customary, ritualistic, and perfunctory? When it comes to prayer, this is one of the most important areas where we need to “hear Him”.

Do you want to?

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162.
Yes, we do. We all long to “hear Him” teach us how to pray.

We want our prayers to elicit the same response in our own hearts, as the two on the road to Emmaus experienced in theirs, while talking with Jesus: “Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?” (Lk. 24.32)

Communion with the Lord in prayer is found in the Word of God, guided by the Spirit of God. And in that time of communication, we are infused with the power to live out His will in our Personal Mission Field—the power to discern His will, the desire to learn His Law, and the gift of faith to serve Him to the end (Ps. 119.112).

As the hymnwriter penned:

More about Jesus let me learn, more of His holy will discern;
Sprit of God, my teacher be, showing the things of Christ to me.

More about Jesus; in His Word, holding communion with my Lord;
Hearing His voice in every line, making each faithful saying mine.
(Eliza E. Hewitt, 1887)

We have the words of young Samuel to guide our request as we seek to learn more about prayer: “Speak, LORD, for Your servant hears” (1 Sam. 3.10).

“Teach us to pray” (Lk. 11.1).

For reflection
1. What would you like to learn more about or better where prayer is concerned?

2. What’s the best part of your prayer life at this time?

3. How can believers help one another to pray more and pray better?

I think that one of Jesus’ disciples was conscious in himself of human weakness, which falls short of knowing how we ought to pray.… Are we then to conclude that a man who was brought up in the instruction of the law, who heard the words of the prophets and did not fail to attend the synagogue, did not know how to pray until he saw the Lord praying “in a certain place”? It would certainly be foolish to say this. The disciple prayed according to the customs of the Jews, but he saw that he needed better knowledge about the subject of prayer. Origen (185-254), On Prayer 2.4

Pray Psalm 25.11-18.
Pray that the Lord will give you a greater and more constant sense of His Presence in your life, and that this will encourage you to seek Him more consistently in prayer.

Sing Psalm 25.11-18.
(Festal Song: Rise Up, O Men of God)
For Your sake, Lord, forgive.  All they who fear You, Lord,
shall know Your blessings day by day and follow in Your Word.

Your friends are they who fear and seek Your holy face;
Your covenant with them You share and save them by Your grace.

Be gracious, Lord, to me; my heart is weighed with woe.
My troubles and affliction see; let my transgressions go.

T. M. and Susie Moore

You can download all the studies in our Luke series by clicking here.

Two books can help you improve your practice of prayer. God’s Prayer Program shows you how to use the psalms to guide your prayers, and The Poetry of Prayer shows by a variety of metaphors what our prayers can be like. You can order a free copy of each by clicking here and here.

If you find Scriptorium helpful in your walk with the Lord, please seek the Lord, asking Him whether you should contribute to the support of this daily ministry with your financial gifts. As the Lord leads, you can use the Contribute button at the website to give with a credit card or through PayPal or Anedot, or you can send your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 360 Zephyr Road, Williston, VT 05495.

Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available free by clicking here.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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