Teach us to pray

Learning how to ride a bicycle was not a recreational skill for me when I was a youngster. I desired it more than anything.

Riding a bicycle meant going faster than walking. It also meant acceptance from the children living in my neighborhood. So, learning to ride was not an “elective.”

Prayer should be like that to us, but it often isn’t.

Jesus was approached by his disciples in Luke 11:1 with the request, “Lord, teach us to pray just as John also taught his disciples.”

Jesus said, “When you pray, say Father, hallowed be thy name.” Fathers love their children and want them to have what they need. God is no different. James wrote, “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits among His creatures” (James 1:17-18). We should come to God expecting he loves us and wants to bless us.

The name of God is to be respected, or “hallowed.” We don’t enter the courts of prayer thinking, “Well, as long as I am in the neighborhood, Father…”

Before reducing prayer to a laundry list of requests, remember to give God the glory. One translator rendered Luke 11:2, “Father, let your name be held in reverence.” Those who would use God’s name must remember to whom they are talking.

“Give us this day our daily bread,” Jesus said. We pray for bread, recognizing everything comes from God. It is more than a request for food, it is an acknowledgement of God’s greatness in our lives.

“And forgive us our sins, for we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us,” (Luke 11:4 NASB). If we would have our sins forgiven, we must be ready and willing to forgive others. If we don’t, our sins will not be wiped away (Matthew 6:14-15).

“And lead us not into temptation,” Jesus said. This short statement shows our realization of our need for guidance and God’s presence in our lives. We must ever guard against those temptations to sin. In addition, we must remember that human beings can also fall into trials. One commentator wrote, “We may not escape trials, but we can meet them with God on our side.”

Do we want to learn to pray with the same fervor we learn those things we believe are necessary to us? Are we willing to expend the same kind of effort learning to pray that we would learning our jobs? We should.

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