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.” — Luke 11:1 ESV
A group of teenagers and I sat cross-legged on the church lawn, soaking in the warm summer sunshine. One of the girls had just returned from a mission trip in a developing nation, and I couldn’t wait to hear about her experience.
“So, Renee, tell us about your trip,” I inquired. “What is the one thing you think you will remember the most?”
I imagined her answer would have something to do with a child who captured her heart with a sweet smile. Or a church service she attended that was so very different from ours. Neither of these guesses was right.
“Oh, that’s easy,” Renee replied. “I will always remember it was on this trip when I learned how easy it is in our culture to answer our own prayers.”
Her statement stunned me for a moment. But before I could pipe up and ask her to explain further, she continued. “You see, here in America, we bow our heads and say grace and ask God to ‘give us this day our daily bread.’ And then? We hop in our cars, run down to the grocery store, and buy a loaf or two. We ask Him to keep us safe and warm. Then parents buy their kids the best car seats available, and we crank up the furnace whenever we feel chilly. It is so easy in our culture to provide the answer to our own prayers. But the people I met on the trip? They pray God will give them their daily bread, not knowing if they will have enough food to feed their families that night. They ask God for things they can’t always provide for themselves.”
I had never thought of this concept before, and it caused me to think about two things.
First, I want to use my abundance to help answer someone else’s prayers.
Second, I need to learn to pray bold prayers, asking God for the things that only He can bring about. That is, if they are in accordance with His will.
Today’s key verse from Luke 11 gives me hope that I’m not alone in thinking my prayer life could use a makeover. Luke 11:1 reminds me that even the disciples wanted help learning how to pray.
My little chat with this spiritually sensitive teen changed me. I began to work into my prayers not only requests that God would help me be attentive to those who need my help, but also that He would help me make bold requests I can’t possibly answer myself — and then that I would stand back in faith and watch Him work.
How about you? Is your prayer list full of items you can cross off yourself? Perhaps it’s time you too began to ask, “Lord, teach me to pray.”
Father, teach me to pray more boldly. Help me pray more confident prayers that can’t be answered on my own and can only happen through Your power. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Excerpted with permission from Settle My Soul by Karen Ehman and Ruth Schwenk, copyright Karen Ehman and Ruth Schwenk.
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Whose prayer can you answer today? And, what bold prayers do you need to start praying? Let’s stop and ask the Lord today, “Teach us to pray” and pray in confidence and anticipation! Come share your thoughts with us on our blog. We want to hear from you!