Encouragement for Today
“Lord, Teach Me to Pray”
Ramona Davis, Prayer Ministry Coordinator, Proverbs 31 Speaker Team Member
Matthew 6:9-13, “Pray like this: Our Father in heaven, may Your name be honored. May Your Kingdom come soon. May Your will be done here on earth, just as it is in heaven. Give us our food for today, and forgive us our sins, just as we have forgiven those who have sinned against us. And don’t let us yield to temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” (NLT)
“Elephant! Mine!” he exclaimed as we shared a picture book. The little preschooler could name each animal as I pointed to the pictures. “Snake! Mine!” – “Turtle! Mine!” He was so cute as he excitedly named each animal then claimed it his own.
This exercise with my little friend reminded me of prayer. Prayer, like the Gospel, is so complex we can’t understand the depths of it, yet so simple even a child can understand it. I began to think of all the ways we make prayer difficult.
I have heard many distressing comments regarding prayer:
“All you have to do is have enough faith to name it and claim it.”
“My prayers aren’t deep enough.”
“When I hear others pray, my prayers seem so small.”
“My prayers stop at the ceiling.”
“I wish I could pray like her; her prayers are so eloquent.”
“Maybe my faith isn’t strong enough for God to answer my prayers.”
My friend, hear this, if you are talking to Him you are praying and He is listening. If you are talking to Him you do have enough faith. Don’t make prayer difficult. He loves the sound of your voice when you talk to Him. He loves the sound of your heart when you have no words. He longs for you to come to Him in prayer.
Prayer is an attitude of our hearts toward Him. If you believe answers are closed to you because you can’t pray, don’t use the “right words,” or don’t have enough faith, you have overlooked the very foundations of prayer.
Prayer is recognition of our dependence on God. Don’t let feelings of helplessness keep you from praying. In his book Prayer, Hallesby said, “Helplessness is the real secret and impelling power of prayer.” It is our helplessness that should lead us to turn to Jesus in prayer. We present our requests to Him because we are helpless. Jesus Himself said we can do nothing without Him.
Prayer is also declaring our faith in Him. The Bible tells us that without faith we can’t please God. Perhaps you feel as though your faith isn’t strong enough. How much faith did you need to become a Christian? Enough faith to recognize that you need Him. If you turn to Him in prayer, you have enough faith. By prayer you give Him access into the need, just as you gave Him access into your heart.
We don’t need great faith to “talk Him into” being interested in us and be involved in our lives. He was interested in us long before we were interested in Him. He died on the cross because of His great love for us while we were still sinners.
We certainly don’t need faith to help Him “fix” the problem. He does quite well without us telling Him how to answer. He holds all power and authority and is Master of the impossible. We only need enough faith to give Him access through prayer.
Simply open your heart and give Him access. Talk to Him honestly about your needs and your feelings. Talk to Him honestly about your prayer life, knowing that you will not be condemned. Tell Him what you and others need and grant Him access to answer according to His plans, purposes and timing.
Rest knowing that He hears your words and your heart and He will answer, according to His will. Rest knowing He holds all power and authority to answer. Rest knowing that He is pleased when you come to Him in prayer.
My Prayer for Today:
Lord, forgive me when I make prayer difficult. I need you, Lord. I also need you to help me with my doubts. I am ashamed to tell you that I doubt, but I am grateful that you won’t rebuke me. You comfort and guide me. Teach me to pray. Refresh and deepen my prayer life. Thank you for the awesome gift of prayer. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Read Mark 9:14-24. What did the father ask for?
In what areas is doubt creeping in? Ask Him to help you just as this father did.
Reflect on the powerful simplicity of the Lord’s Prayer, and the other answers Jesus gave when the disciples asked Him to teach them to pray (Matthew 6:5-18).
John 15:5, “Yes, I am the Vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in Me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from Me you can do nothing.” (NLT)
Hebrews 11:6, “Without faith no one can please God. Anyone who comes to God must believe that he is real and that he rewards those who truly want to find him.” (NCV)
Psalms 116:1-2, “I love the Lord because He hears and answers my prayers. Because He bends down and listens. I will pray as long as I have breath!” (NLT)
Matthew 5:3, “God blesses those who realize their need for Him. For the Kingdom of heaven is given to them.” (NLT)
Becoming a Woman Who Listens to God, by Sharon Jaynes
Secrets of the Vine, by Bruce Wilkenson
Prayer of Jabez for Little Ones, by Bruce Wilkenson
Message of the Month Club by Proverbs 31 Ministries
Originally published Thursday, 09 June 2005.