Well let’s open up our Bibles to Luke chapter 11 and verse one.
“It happened that while Jesus was praying in a certain place, after He had finished, one of His disciples said to Him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray just as John also taught his disciples.’”
I want you to notice some things that are very, very important here. I believe with all my heart it was a fearful thing to watch Jesus pray, that it was an awesome event, higher than any other thing he did, because if you notice here it says, “It happened that while Jesus was praying in a certain place, after He had finished...”
No one dared touch that ark. When he was bowed on his knees, when he was calling out to this Father it was like no other thing anyone had ever seen on the face of the earth.
And then he goes on and it says, “One of his disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray.”
Now I find this a most amazing statement and I find it a statement that is very, very overlooked among those who study this text. If you will notice something very, very important, a disciple never came to Jesus and said, “Teach us to preach.” A disciple never came to Jesus and said, “Teach us to walk on water.” A disciple never came to Jesus and said, “Teach us to raise the dead.” A disciple never came to Jesus and said, “Teach us to cast out demons.”
Now if you were to want to know how to play basketball, you probably wouldn’t come to me because I know so little about basketball. You would try to find out what my expertise truly was and then you would ask me about that. You ask a man about his expertise. You ask a man about the thing which most impresses you about that man.
I believe that without a doubt, the greatest demonstration of divine power was seen not when Jesus Christ raised the dead and not when he walked on water, but when he prayed. And I believe that when the disciples saw Jesus praying, they could not believe their eyes. They could not believe even what their ears were telling them. Jesus was a man of prayer.
Now let me ask you a question. When people hear you pray do they hear someone who knows God? Do they hear the rhythm of the religion? Do they hear words that have been taught to you by other men? Do they hear form? Do they hear intellect? Or do they hear a man or a woman or a child who spends much time in the presence of God?
Has anyone ever come to you and said, “Teach me to preach like you preach”? Well, that may be something to boast about, but not before God.
Has anyone ever come to you and said, “Teach me to administrate like you administrate”? Has anyone ever come to you and said, “Teach me to pray”?
I am not much of a man, but I have had the privilege in my life to be in the presence of many men used by God. And the one thing that I noticed. They had very little in common except one thing. When they bowed their knee, something unusual happened.
There is a saying. When someone achieves a certain thing he may look over and with a twinkle in his eye say, “You can’t learn that. You have got to be born with that.”
You can’t fake prayer.
Jesus was a man of prayer and when he prayed people saw the difference.
Now I want to look for a moment at the idea that Jesus was a man of prayer. And I have just scribbled down here a bunch of verses and I am going to kind of read a hodge podge of verses that you might come to understand the importance of prayer in the life of Jesus Christ and then come to understand that if prayer was so important to the incarnate Son of the living God, then how much more important should prayer be to us? How much more should we depend upon prayer?
Jesus lived a life of prayer. That is the first thing I want you to see. In Luke 5:16 it says, “But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray.”
You know, often times when we find something that we greatly enjoy as opposed to what we grudgingly must do, we try to slip away to it. A man might want to avoid his yard duty by slipping away to watch a ball game. A man may come in to work early so he can slip away to go hunting. A wife may want to slip away to go to the mall. They slip away to the things that they most enjoy.
Isn’t it a crime that Jesus Christ and the labor of the kingdom seems almost to be work that we want to slip away from?
I heard tell of a story. Evangelist, he came... he got of the plane and was received by the pastors and immediately they took him out to play golf. I don’t have much of a problem with that. I never played golf myself. But they took him out to the golf course and that is a fine thing. I guess the saw that he needed to rest. And as they were going out there across whatever you cross to do whatever you do when you play golf, the evangelist just happened to mention, he said, “Well, you know, the Lord is so good. The other day he was just...”
And the preacher stopped him and says, “Let’s not talk shop out here. This is the place where we are going to rest.”
The only place you will ever rest is in Jesus Christ. And you know when you are walking with God, when? When you slip away to him, when you say, “There is so much I have to do, so much grudging work, so much labor. I just wish that I could slip away to him for a moment because he is the one to whom I escape. He is the place I rest.”
When prayer becomes a labor we are not like the Christ, we are not like Jesus. It says he would slip away into the wilderness and pray.
Notice he would go into the wilderness. My friend, the world, even the Church is just so filled up with noise that every once in a while—especially those of you who are pastors—you have got to slip away and you have got to go to a wilderness where no one can find you and seek your God. And be very careful that sometimes you don’t take along all those books with you, because to many Jesus Christ can just become proper exegesis, proper hermeneutic, a thing to be studied instead of a person to be loved.
Jesus would slip away. In Matthew 14:23 it says, “After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone.”
Someone said, “Why did Jesus need to pray so much? He was the incarnate Son of God.”
We are going to talk about that. But let me show you just the foolishness of that question. Could it just be possible that he always wanted to slip away and be alone with God simply because he loved him?
It says in Luke 6:12-13:
It was at this time that He went off to the mountain to pray, and He spent the whole night in prayer to God. And when day came, He called His disciples to Him and chose twelve of them, whom He also named as apostles.
Let me ask you a question. Have you ever made a... have you ever had to make a really tough decision? Did you ever pass the entire night in prayer to do so. If you say no, I say to you, “Behold, we have found a man stronger than Jesus.”
Isn’t it amazing that the Christ would slip away and spend the entire night in prayer to discern the Father’s voice, to pick the men that had to be picked.
But we have got the upper hand on that. That is not so much needed anymore.
He goes on.
“Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to His disciples, ‘Sit here while I go over there and pray.’”
Who could forget Gethsemane? Who could forget a war that was fought in that place?
My friend, when he got up off his knees, the battle was over. The war was fought there. How many things do we have to fight with? How many Philistines do we have to put up with that stay in the land and they are like thorns to us? Why? Because we do not take the matter by the horns. We do not go to the Lord and wrestle until the victory is won.
Jesus Christ overcame in that garden and he overcame by struggling through it in prayer and gaining the victory.
That passage, “But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting,” that just doesn’t have to do with demons, my dear friend. There are so many mountains in your life, so many obstacles in your life, so many things in your life that seek to derail you, to stop you. And they are going to stay there because some of those things just don’t go away by counseling. The go away by falling on your face before God until he delivers you.
Jesus was a man of prayer. He showed it in every aspect of his life.
And he goes on. Jesus taught in prayer.
The Scriptures are so filled with the teachings of Jesus Christ on prayer that there is just nothing we can do with that tonight. There is two passages that I want to point out and they are both found in Luke 18.
In verse one he says, “Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart.”
That is Jesus Christ right there. If you want to sum up everything he taught about prayer, we ought to pray at all times.
Now for you young men here, let me just teach you something that will help you. I hear so many young men today saying, “Well, I don’t have a really a specific time in which I pray. I am more, you know, throughout my day I just kind of practice the presence of God, but I don’t really have that secret place I go to.”
Let me tell you something, young man. There is no way you can learn to practice the presence of God if you do not spend much time in secret prayer. The power to practice the presence of God, the power to live a life of prayer to always be speaking with the Father, that is born out of secret time with the Lord, segment of time with the Lord in prayer.
And he said we ought to be praying always and not to lose heart. The initiating of prayer is never a problem. Do you realize that? You have initiated so many petitions before the throne. The question is: Have you wrestled them through? Have you pressed on in to lay hold? Have you kept going? Are there petitions in your heart, in your mind, down on pieces of paper that possibly have been there for 15 years? But you say to the Lord, “I will not let you go.” | read more..