He stands ready to teach us

Luke 11:1 (NIV): “One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.'”

Gordon Hugenberger in his book on the Lord’s Prayer, writes of this question and Jesus’ response:

Jesus’ response to this question is remarkable. He might have said, ‘The ability to pray as I do is a spiritual gift: it cannot be taught.’ It is apparent, however, that this was not Jesus’ opinion of the matter. The ability to pray is not just a special gift reserved for a select few. For this reason it is not included in any of the lists of spiritual gifts…If we are followers of Christ and we want to learn how to pray, he stands ready to teach us.

This is the starting point for Andrew Murray’s With Christ in the School of Prayer. In the first chapter, he writes,

‘Lord, teach us to pray.’ Yes, to pray. This is what we need to be taught. Though in its beginnings prayer is so simple that the feeblest child can pray, it is at the same time the highest and holiest work to which man can rise. Prayer is fellowship with the Unseen and Most Holy One. The powers of the eternal world have been placed at prayer’s disposal. It is the very essence of true religion and the channel of all blessings. It is the secret of power and life not only for ourselves, but for others, for the Church, and for the world. It is to prayer that God has given the right to take hold of Him and His strength. It is on prayer that the promises wait for their fulfillment, the Kingdom waits for its coming, and the glory of God waits for its full revelation.

Yes, teach us to pray indeed. And again, there He stands, ready to teach us.

Jesus never taught His disciples how to preach, only how to pray. To know how to speak to God is more than knowing how to speak to a man. Power with God is the first thing, not power with men. Jesus loves to teach us how to pray.

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Grasp this mightily

Now open the ears of your heart, timid child of God! We aren’t supposed to learn to be holy as a hard lesson at school so we can make God think well of us. We are to learn it at home with the Father to help us. God loves you not because you are clever or good, but because He is your Father. The Cross of Christ does not make God love us. It is the outcome of His love to us. He loves all His children: the clumsiest, the dullest, and the worst. His love lies underneath everything. We must grasp it as the solid foundation of our religious life, not growing up into that love, but growing up out of it. We must begin there or our beginning will come to nothing. Grasp this mightily! We must go beyond ourselves for any hope, strength or confidence. And what hope, what strength, what confidence may be ours when we begin with ‘Our Father which art in heaven!'”

Andrew Murray