Words of Faith 8-14-18
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2018
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
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One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, "Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples."
Have you ever come to a place where you stopped and just said, "Something is missing here and I'm going to find out what it is!" Maybe you went through a great struggle or time of difficulty and you suddenly realized that there was something missing something needed?
The disciples had come to just such a point. The disciples had now been in "the valley" for some time. The mountaintop (transfiguration) experience was wonderful but in the valley the attacks came! First, it was discouragement, then pride, next division and then distraction. Then religious leaders were hanging around looking for something by which to accuse Jesus. And even in a Christian home among the believers the attacks came. We saw how distraction can lead to control and then resentment toward our brothers and sisters in Christ.
The Disciples must have begun to wonder, "What is it we are missing here?! Why are we getting all these attacks? Why is it that the Master never gets caught up in these attacks? Why is that Jesus never gets ruffled?" The Disciples started watching more closely and when they did they noticed something. Jesus was a man of prayer! That must be what was missing!
Andrew had been a disciple of John the Baptizer before coming to Jesus. Andrew may have suggested that they ask Jesus to teach them how to pray since John the Baptist did so with his disciples.
So the Disciples made a plan. They followed Jesus to His time and place of prayer. When He had concluded in prayer, they asked: "Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples." In these verses we have the major teaching by Jesus on prayer. Jesus taught why to pray, what to pray, how to pray and the results of effective prayer. Everything you need to know about prayer is right here.
Why pray? Jesus actually had been teaching that lesson for two whole chapters. For nearly two chapters of this Gospel, the disciples had been experiencing real world life and ministry with all the attacks, trials, inner disputes and difficulties. These are the places where we become convinced of the need for prayer. Jesus could have done a teaching at any time on the need for prayer but instead He waited until they asked Him, "Lord, teach us to pray."
Jesus didn't wait on this teaching because it was unimportant. It's just that for most of us the WHY of prayer is not easily learned. We must usually come to a place where we are driven to our knees. Then we ask: "Lord, Teach me to pray." By modeling a life of prayer, living under the protection of God, and living an anxiety free life in anxious times, Jesus had taught the most important part of the lesson.
Jesus could have come down the mountain and with every attack delivered a sermonette on the importance of prayer. "You wouldn't be discouraged if you had prayed, you wouldn't be so puffed up with pride if you had prayed, you wouldn't have any trouble seeing God at work in the those who cast out demons if you had prayed, you wouldn't have any mystery at all in your life figuring out that the Samaritans are your neighbors if you spent more time in prayer." Instead, Jesus simply modeled a life PROTECTED and EMPOWERED by prayer.
Sometimes people will say: "Convince me of my need for prayer." If you are not convinced right now of your need for prayer there is little that can be said to convince you. You may need to go back out into the valley for a while and fight in your own strength a little longer. You'll eventually find yourself here in Luke 11 saying: "Lord, teach me to pray..."
I could attempt to convince you of WHY to pray. I could bring to you many testimonies of people who for years lived without prayer and finally became miserable or needy enough that they turned to the Lord. Or I could point out many people who have great peace even in places of terrible torment, like Jesus did. But if you are really not convinced, then this teaching is probably not really for you, yet.
But if you are convinced. Jesus is going to teach us.
Lord, teach me the wonder of a vital prayer life. Show me the delight of time spent with the Father. Reveal to me the magnificence found only in solitude with You. Teach me to pray. In Jesus' name.