“He who has learned to pray has learned the greatest secret of a holy and happy life.”
I am currently laboring under a great conviction!
It seems to me that it’s human nature to make things more difficult than they really are. Lately, in my own walk with Jesus, I have found myself spending so much time reading about prayer in preparing to preach and teach about it, that I never actually get around to praying. In fact, I have no less than fifty books in my library detailing the “how to” element of prayer and I am certainly grateful to these writers for their insights. I am among thousands of people who have learned the importance of growing deeper through more effective prayer times.
Nevertheless, I’m beginning to understand that the best way to learn how to pray is to follow the example of Jesus’ disciples and seek the Lord Himself to be my teacher. Andrew Murray, the great nineteenth-century pastor and prayer warrior once wrote, “Certainly, no book ever written on prayer can begin to compare with the Bible, the very Word of God. Every aspect of prayer is revealed through His Word…It is here that we learn to practice the heavenly art of effective prayer.”
He goes on to explain how each phrase Jesus used in the Lord’s Prayer answers the disciple’s request that He “teach them to pray.” In it the humble believer can learn how to express adoration, intercession, submission, petition, confession as well as pleas for forgiveness and deliverance. But that’s not all.
During their last meal together before His death on the cross, Jesus repeatedly instructed his disciples to pray “in My Name” (John 14:13-14, 15:16, 16:23-24, 26). It was like He was giving them a divine “power of attorney,” authorizing them to draw upon the infinite resources of our heavenly Father, through the Name of the Son.
This is awesome stuff! They are certainly insights we believers need to learn and live by about perhaps the most important topic in the world. However, what we really need to do is pray.
I read about a grandfather who passed by his granddaughter’s room one night and overheard her repeating the alphabet over and over in an oddly reverent way. He asked her, “What on earth are you up to?” She explained, “I’m saying my prayers, but I can’t think of exactly the right words tonight, so I’m just saying all the letters. God will put them together for me, because He knows what I’m thinking.”
With her childlike faith, this little girl, who hadn’t really learned how to pray yet, just went ahead and prayed anyway, trusting her Father in heaven to know her heart and put it all together.
I think I’ll do the same today! How about you?