What Can I Learn From How Jesus Prayed?

Matthew 6, Luke 11

Prayer is not something automatically learned. It is not natural or effortless. You had to learn to walk and learn to talk,and you must learn to walk with God and talk to Him. The greatest argument for prayer is the fact that Jesus Himself prayed. He prayed at His baptism, when He was tempted, before choosing His disciples, before going to the cross, etc. The disciples saw Him pray and said, “Lord, teach us to pray” (Lk. 11:1). Jesus used what we know as “The Lord’s Prayer” (found in Matthew 6 and Luke 11) to teach His disciples, and there is much we can learn from that model prayer today.

The Place of Prayer

Luke 11:1 begins, “As He was praying in a certain place….” In Matthew 6, Jesus said, “But when you pray, go into your private room, shut your door, and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you” (v. 6). It is not wrong to pray in public. In fact, it is commanded throughout the Old and New Testaments. But who you are in private is who you really are. Have a specific place that you go pray every morning. Growing up, I was not a morning person. I was a night owl! Watching my wife, Tammy, made me a morning person. She got up early, went to her spot, and read her Bible. Now I do it and it affects my whole day. Pray without ceasing. Pray first. Put Jesus first. Pray before you start your day, over your marriage, before every meeting, etc. Warren Wiersbe said, “Prayer is the provision for every need and the solution to every problem.”

The Pattern of Prayer

Jesus never said, “Pray these exact words.” Jesus is not telling us WHAT to pray but HOW. It’s an outline, a guide, a template. Jesus begins, “Our Father….” Prayer is relational. We do not pray to a statue, saints, grandparents, or a priest. We go directly to the Father. “Hallowed be Your name.” We honor and respect His name. There is power in His name. God works for His name and not ours. “Your Kingdom…” We pray for the eternal life to come, for the Lord’s return, for the resurrection of our loved ones, for the end of sickness and death. Pray God’s agenda. “Your will be done.” It is God’s will for the church to grow and for people to be saved. The purpose of prayer is not to get man’s will done in heaven but to get God’s will done on earth. We are to ask for three things daily: daily bread, forgiveness of sins, and protection from temptation. God wants us to depend on Him daily. We cannot live on yesterday’s blessing. Sin separates us from one another and from God. We have to daily ask God’s forgiveness and daily choose to forgive others. We also all face temptation every day. Even Jesus was tempted, but God has promised to make a way of escape. Do you ever feel like you don’t know what to pray? Your mind wanders. Do you feel your prayers are not getting above the ceiling? Following this pattern helps keep us focused.

The Persistence of Prayer

In Luke 11, Jesus tells the story of a man trying to wake his neighbor. The point is clear – persistence pays off. “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened” (v. 9-10). These are all continuous verbs meaning to keep on asking, seeking, and knocking. Just because we have a pattern of prayer does not mean we will automatically be prayer warriors. We can’t ask for something one time and presume we have it. Persistence gets results.  Press in to the three levels of prayer. Ask – Dependence on God. Don’t be too proud to ask for help. Seek – Desire. When you don’t know what to do seek the mind of God. Knock – Desperation. Jesus ends this illustration saying, “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?” (v. 13). Matthew said “good things” to those who ask. Luke was more specific. The greatest gift God can give is to give you Himself!

The Power of Prayer

In Matthew 6:16 and 17, Jesus said, “When you fast….” In Matthew 17 there was a situation in which Jesus’ disciples were not able to cast out a demon. Jesus replied, “This kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting” (v. 21). Prayer and fasting takes our faith to a new level. So many people are bound to addictions. Prayer connects us to God. Fasting disconnects us from the world. Whether it’s a complete fast (liquids only), a selective fast (removing certain foods from your diet), a partial fast (only eating at a certain time of day), or a soul fast (choosing not to look at social media, watch TV, etc.), fasting is a voluntary denial of something you love for someone you love more. If you have done all you know to do to no avail, maybe it is time you fast and pray. Prayer and fasting go hand in hand together.  Prayer is lifting one hand to God and fasting is letting go with the other hand. Jesus did not say “if” you pray but “when.” He did not say “if” you fast but “when.”


Works Consulted:

Be Compassionate, Warren Wiersbe

Pray First, Chris Hodges

Christ Centered Exposition Luke, Thabiti Anyhbwile

The Prayer Code, O.S. Hawkins


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