In Luke 11 Jesus has taken himself off to a “certain place” to pray. If the context is correct he is in Bethany, a place he is very familiar with. Just this one phrase tells us so much about the way Jesus prayed, but what follows is very interesting. The Disciples approach and want to be taught how to pray. Prayer is very simple, but very complicated. The Disciples have asked the right question though.
Jesus teaches in three stages; firstly, he has made Prayer a pattern for his day. They knew where to find him, they knew where he would be and what he would be doing. Jesus needed to pray. So, he teaches by example.
He then gives them a “sample” prayer, the one most of us can recite without even thinking. It encourages thanksgiving, worship, petition, repentance and forgiveness, in just a few lines. This should be a model for all our prayers. So, he leaves them a model.
Finally, he encourages persistence and faith. Even when times are hard we need to keep praying, God is a good father who will give us good gifts, but we need to be persistent and stay faithful. So, he encourages us to keep on praying!
We are entering a season, I believe, of prayer. As a church one of our values is an “aspiration to be more prayerful” never has this value been more pertinent. So, I would like us to commit to three things
- Personal prayer – committ to praying through the Monday prayer email for 30 mins each week (which you can sign-up to here)
- Joining together in Prayer – either on a Monday at the prayer meeting at 22 or in our small groups. Praying for each other but also for Devonport, Plymouth and the UK
- Buying and reading “Dirty Glory” by Pete Greig, for inspiring stories of answers to prayer and the power of prayer (copies available online or through CRP)
When Jesus came down from the mountain after the Transfiguration he found the disciples unable to heal a demon possessed boy, the reason, according to Jesus, is that this kind can only be cast out by “prayer (and fasting)” (Mark 9:29). Do you think the disciples had not prayed? I think Jesus is saying that his whole life was dedicated to prayer and fasting.
If you want to be a good surfer you can’t just buy wet suit and a board and expect to be able to ride the first wave that comes your way. You must learn, (maybe you should be taught?), then you need to practice and practice and practice. Why do we expect prayer to be any different?