Teach us to pray

Date: Monday, August 26

ScriptureLuke 11:1-13

Verse: He was praying in a certain place, and after he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” (Luke 11:1)

In the church I grew up in, the associate pastor often gave the pastoral prayer during worship. They were beautiful. They were long, commenting on everything from the weather to the people from the church who were in the hospital. They used a special language, I remember coming home looking up the word “bereave” one Sunday afternoon, thinking he might have been mispronouncing believe in his prayer. And they were uttered in a special voice that somehow sounded holy. They were an amazing, beautiful part of our worship each Sunday. An unintended consequence of those beautiful prayers though, was that at least one young person thought that was the right way to pray, and there was little hope of ever being able to do that like he did. 

My guess is the disciples had seen Jesus pray, which must have been amazing. They wanted to know the secret to his success in an area where they felt inadequate. I can relate. So when the opportunity presented itself, they ask him to teach them how to pray. 

Remarkably, Jesus doesn’t give them a formula, though many have tried to find one in the example he gives. There is no reference to a posture he took, or a special tone of voice he used. The example he gives is not long, nor does it use some specialized, formalized, churchy vocabulary. The first word, “Father,” sets the tone for the whole thing. It is as if Jesus is saying, “Just talk to God. Tell him what’s on your mind. He loves you and has your best interest at heart.” 

This is a profound truth. This is what prayer is about. God is not impressed with our “ability” to pray. He is instead moved when we come and pour our hearts out to him. 

Prayer: Father, teach me to pray. Amen. 

Action: Throughout this week, and this entire series, experiment with some different ways to pray than folding your hands and bowing your head. Here is a list of a few examples: 8 Ways to Pray

Respond: How has prayer enriched your life? Answer by clicking “Leave a Comment” below. If you are receiving this via email, click the title at the top of the email to take you to the devotion webpage where you can leave a comment.

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About Joe Iovino

Christian, husband & father, Associate Pastor in Monument CO, guitar player, motorcyclist, Mets fan.
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