January 5 I Sunday
“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.’” —Luke 11:1
“Lord, teach us to pray,” a request from one of
Jesus’s disciples. Scripture does not reveal who said that line but whoever he was, that disciple must have longed for something he had seen in Jesus’s relationship with the Father.
Prayer is a means of intimacy with God, not just through the time we spend on our knees, but also in the constant sense of being in communion with God that we are able to enjoy throughout the day. This is probably what Paul meant when he wrote, “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17, NKJV). Paul’s instruction is not for us to keep our hands together and eyes closed without ceasing. Rather, in the whole of our life—no matter what we are doing or who we are with—our constant touch with God becomes second nature. Brother Lawrence echoes this thought in The Practice of the Presence of God, where he describes the prayer life as simply practicing the presence of God as we bring God into every part of our daily life.
While prayer is our connection with God, there are times when we do not know what to pray for. Paul tells us, “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us through wordless groans” (Romans 8:26). No matter how long we have been a Christian or how well developed our prayer life may be, we all need help.
Prayer and a Spirit-filled life are very closely connected. In E. M. Bounds’s book Power Through Prayer, he writes, “The Church is looking for better methods; God is looking for better men.” The Holy Spirit does not flow through methods, anoint machineries or empower plans but He flows through, anoints and empowers people.
W. Graham Scroggie’s book, Method in Prayer, says, “One of the biggest mistakes that a Christian can ever make is to imagine that increased social or spiritual activity can be any compensation for the lack of secret communion with God.” No spiritual activity can be a substitute for a lack of spiritual communion with God. Scroggie tells us in the same book, “A prayerful life is always a powerful life; and a prayerless life is always a powerless life.” Not that prayer itself is powerful, but prayer is the means whereby God, who alone is powerful, can work through, engage with and work in us.
When the disciple said, “teach us to pray,” he was asking Jesus to teach us to connect with God because the focus of prayer is a journey into the heart of God.
Prayer: Powerful God, thank You for working powerfully in my life. Help me pray without ceasing so that the practice of Your presence in my life becomes second nature. Amen!