Teach Us to Pray

What would our lives be like if we truly believed in the power of prayer?  Think about Jesus’s example for a moment.

Yet He often withdrew to deserted places and prayed.  -Luke 5:16

The gospels are full of evidences of Jesus praying.

  • Jesus prayed alone (Matt. 14:23; Mark 1:35; Luke 9:18; 22:39-41)
  • Jesus prayed in public (John 11:41-42, 12:27-30)
  • Jesus prayed before meals (Matt. 26:26; Mark 8:6; Luke 24:30; John 6:11)
  • Jesus prayed before important decisions (Luke 6:12-13)
  • Jesus prayed before healing (Mark 7:34-35)
  • Jesus prayed after healing (Luke 5:16)
  • Jesus prayed to do the Father’s will (Matt. 26:36-44)
  • And many more times!

If Jesus prayed this often and now lives to make intercession on our behalf (Heb. 7:25), how much more should we make prayer a priority?

Think about the disciples who followed Jesus’ ministry for 3 years.  What are some of the amazing things that the disciples witnessed Jesus do?

With all that the disciples experienced, they asked Jesus to teach them one thing:

He was praying in a certain place, and when He finished, one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John also taught his disciples.”  -Luke 11:1

Reflect on the magnitude of this statement!  Men who had seen Jesus walk on water, feed 5000 men, heal countless maladies, and command the attention of thousands as he preached only asked him to teach them to do one thing: teach us how to pray like you pray.

Because when Jesus prayed, everything changed!

After this inquiry, Jesus provided a template for praying that we know as “The Lord’s Prayer.”  While it is often used in a form of repetition in corporate settings, Jesus was teaching on the importance of certain elements that should be consistent in our prayer lives.

In the section below, I want you to notice something in order to help us better understand Jesus’ prayer.

  • Make a note of any second person pronouns (you, your)
  • Make a note of any first person plural pronouns (our, us)
  • Make a note of any first person singular pronouns (I, me, my, mine)

Our Father in heaven, Your name be honored as holy.

Your kingdom come.  Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.

And do not bring us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.  -Matt. 6:9-13


It is revealing to acknowledge that there are no first person singular pronouns in the Lord’s Prayer.

The Lord’s Prayer isn’t my prayer – it is our prayer!

With this acknowledgment, it helps us understand the nature of prayer and the nature of the Church.  We are not isolated Christians!  The first half of this prayer has to do with God, and the second half of this prayer has to do with us.  Reread that prayer noticing the plural nature of it.

Use the Lord’s Prayer as a template.  Don’t just read it.  Spend some time in prayer unpacking what it means that our Father is in heaven.  What part of his will do we want to be done?  What temptations do we want him to keep us from?  Spend some time praying to our Father!