Can you imagine beholding Jesus Christ praying in perfect communion with His Father? It is a staggering thought; how He would have prayed. If you would have seen Him you also would have asked, “Teach me to pray!”
Text: Luke 11:1 Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.”
This exhortation was shared before a morning prayer meeting at the 2017 Fellowship Conference.
Blessed be the Lord. For those of you who remember Eric Liddell the runner, it was in a sense celebrated in the move “Chariots of Fire.” A lot of you are way too young to know he is, but hopefully you do. After his splendor, if you want to call it that, of winning the gold medal, he goes to China, right? To serve the Lord Jesus Christ and die there. They were sending him off, and as he got into the open carriage, and they were going to take him to the ship to sail to China where nobody would celebrate him, he leaned out of the carriage, and he sang that hymn with this powerful voice so all of his friends and everybody could hear: Jesus Shall Reign So I never will sing it again I don’t think without remembering that just phenomenal truth in him. Grace.
I’ll read quickly a verse out of Luke 11. If you want to turn there, you can, and I’ll try to be succinct here. Luke 11:1 “And it came to pass that as He, (this being the Lord Jesus), was praying in a certain place, when He stopped (or when He ceased) one of His disciples said unto Him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.'” When you read through the Gospels, and you see the man Christ Jesus, it is stunning – page after page, chapter after chapter, to see, hear, behold all that He was saying and did. Think of this today. It helps us. It helps me. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, in His total humanity prayed all the time.
I’ve had Christians years back ask me, “should we really make that big of a priority about prayer?” It’s kind of staggering that somebody would even ask that question. But you think, you young people, that are perhaps new in the faith; those of us, by the grace of God, who are down the road further; prayer is constant. The Lord Jesus Christ prayed, and can you imagine when the disciples would come and find Him and He’s praying? We say, “I wish I was there when Lazarus was raised from the dead.” “I wish I was there when…” People say that. But can you imagine beholding Jesus Christ, the Son of God, in perfect communion with His Father in prayer? It’s a staggering thought how He would have prayed. And we tend to think of Him in the garden in those latter hours. Wouldn’t you have said to Him, teach me to pray? Oh Lord, that’s what they said, teach us to pray.
So just a few thoughts from the life of our great King and Savior. Where did He pray? When did He pray? He prayed everywhere. He prayed all the time. You don’t have to go to a special place. We don’t have to make a pilgrimage somewhere. Here, in my car driving here, this morning when I woke up when I was wide awake and my dear wife was sleeping. And I’m thinking I don’t want to wake her. So I just lay in bed. Right? I still pray with my teenagers. Sometimes I pray over them when they’re asleep. You see, beloved, anywhere at anytime.
Mark 1:35, “A great while before day, Jesus went out and prayed.” Meaning in the middle of the night. Luke 5, “Jesus withdrew into the wilderness and He prayed.” Matthew 14, “He went up into a mountain apart to pray.” You see the pattern? He’s always communing with the Father. Always crying out to God, His Father. Praying full of the Spirit in perfect communion with Him. We can learn. We can lay hold of these things. He’s told us to pray. He told the disciples to pray. Here’s how you’re to pray.
And then, of course, at the end of His days before the cross, in the latter hours, He went to Gethsemane and He knelt down and prayed. Perhaps the most powerful scene of prayer in history ever. We would say yes, it is. Jesus praying before the atonement.
So you pray anywhere, at any time, and not be held back. You’re going to have days of joy. Pray. Sing unto God. You’re going to have days of heaviness. You’re going to have days of struggle, sickness. You’re going to have days of being laid off from work. Friends that hurt you. Pray. You’re seeking God. You’re communing with Him all the time. It’s like it should be an uninterrupted line of communication.
This generation probably gets it, because they always want to be wired in. In my childhood, there were a lot of times when you weren’t dialed in. You didn’t have any connection. But in Christ and in communion through the Holy Spirit, we have constant access, right? We have access to Him. He’s brought us nigh. So where and when? Anytime. Anywhere. And who do we pray for? What do we pray for? All things. All people. You go in today and get gas on your way traveling home, and you meet an attendant, and you can tell that they’re struggling and you speak a word to them. You get back in the car and say, “Oh Lord, have mercy. Have mercy on him. Come, Lord. Let the word of Christ come alive. Quicken it to him.” So praying for others.
The little children are really not here in the full measure right now, are they? Can you picture the crowds bringing little children to Jesus Christ? And we think of Him laying hands on them and the text says, Matthew, “they brought unto Him little children that He should put His hands on them and pray.” Wow. And He did. He prayed.
Mack knows these things, but when you hold your grandchildren, there’s a different feeling you have as a man holding a grandchild as holding your own child. As precious as holding our children have been through the years, but the thought of holding a child a little one and praying for him, Jesus Christ is our example. We should pray. We should pray all the time for others.
Jesus prayed for Peter. Lee Dodd, one of our beloved elders, spoke on this text recently about Jesus’s restoring Peter, but before Peter rejected Him, remember? Jesus said, “I have prayed for you.” What must Peter have felt about that? “That your faith fail not.” Praying for him, interceding before the event happened, knowing what was to come, Jesus Christ, our great High Priest and Savior praying for Peter.
And lastly, He prayed for the disciples. John 17 Read it today if you get a chance. I was reading it this morning. The flow of words, intercession, prayer, this whole crying out of Jesus Christ for the disciples. He said I pray for them, remember to the Father, I pray for them, and listen, and for them also which shall believe on Me. I think that’s us. Right? Right, brother? It is. That means, that He is continually, right? At the throne making intercession, right? Forever. For us. But He was praying for the disciples, and He was praying for the days of His church growing and the saints that would come in the days ahead. That’s us. So when we go to prayer here, we can learn from our great Savior, and we can enter in with faith, with delight, with joy, to let the high praises of God be in our mouth. Worshipping Him. Knowing that He hears. Knowing that He loves to hear the cry of His children. Lord Jesus, teach us to pray.