Prayer Requests and Learning How to Pray

How Jesus Teaches Us to Approach Prayer

How Jesus Teaches Us to Approach Prayer

“One day Jesus was praying at certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.’ He said to them, ‘When you pray, say:

hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins,
for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.
And lead us not into temptation”’
(Luke 11:1-4)

The Bible study group chat I belong to dings daily with requests for prayer. There are people bordering our lives dealing with pain every day. How are we supposed to pray, both for our own requests to God and for those on behalf of others? Scripture promises that the Holy Spirit Himself translates and deciphers our prayers as they drift into heaven. He offers a supernatural comfort to those who are in pain and suffering.

There is a basic outline for prayer many of us learn in Sunday school, which is rooted in the prayer Jesus taught His disciples to pray. First to praise God, remembering and reciting who He is and the wondrous things He has made and done. Next comes our gratitude, as we spill our hearts of all we are thankful for in our lives. Even in dire straights, we can find many things to be thankful for. Thirdly, we confess our sins and lift our worries up to God, because He cares for us and has made a way for us to be forgiven, forever. And lastly, we lay our requests for His healing, provision, blessing and guidance on our behalf and those of others.

When we are searching for the words and ways in which to pray to God, we can look to Jesus Christ. He is our living example, in all things, as we walk through our lives on this earth. As we faithfully look to Him, these verses Luke recorded in His Gospel show us to follow His lead as we pray.

1. Jesus Was Praying at a Certain Place

Often throughout Scripture, we find Jesus praying at certain place and/or a certain time. The place and time are not as important as the effort He made to move away from other people to be alone with God. At times, we see Him wake early in the morning, modeling the importance of putting time with God first before we jump into our day. Only God knows what each day will bring. We can be better prepared for what lies ahead of us when we take time before our day begins to sit with our Father who cares for us. Following Jesus’ example, find a certain place to dedicate to prayer. The location doesn’t matter as much as our heart’s intent to connect relationally to with God each day. Dedicate a time, set aside to prepare to listen and learn from God. Daily, we need to pour out our worries, concerns, and sins to Him …but also to praise Him for the blessings in our lives, and remember who He is and Whose we are.

2. The Disciples Were Ready to Learn

“Teach us,” they asked Jesus. The disciples knew Jesus enough to trust His teaching. They had faith in Him, and what He said. Faithfully following Jesus means to have a teachable spirit, heart and mind. The Holy Spirit is faithful to develop a supernatural humility within us, and a desire to submit to God’s will for our lives over our own plans and desires.

To have a teachable spirit is to be ready to listen, and willing to sacrifice what we want for God’s purpose in our lives. “Give us each day our daily bread,” Jesus taught them to pray. We don’t have to doubt God will provide for us each day – we can count on it! As we pray, God already knows the needs we have and is familiar with the desires of our hearts. “Daily bread” is not food alone, but wisdom and truth, direction and perspective. God is faithful to give us the clarity we need to follow Christ daily, when we are ready and willing to learn.

3. Jesus Gave Them the Words

When we don’t have the words to pray, we can simply utter the words Jesus has given us to say. His example of prayer to the disciples is not the only text from the Bible we can pray. Daily, there are dozens of Scriptures to help us communicate the depths of our hearts to God.

As my daughters grow from tweens to teens, I look for other mothers who have gone before me, and how they have prayed for their children. God is faithful to place people in our lives, even in the form of authors and teachers, who will guide and bring us one step closer to Him through the prayers we pray. Sometimes, I don’t know what to pray for my kids, but I am familiar with my worries. Even a search engine can spit out a list of Scriptures which coincide with what we are concerned about.

Praying Scripture is powerful. We do not serve a God of coincidence. There is a reason we are left with a piece of Scripture, Jesus’s words recorded by Luke in this case, to guide us in how to pray. The entirety of the Bible is full of prayer and powerful truth. Whether we need help with anxiety, or a healing of it on behalf of our child, we can pray Psalm 139 on their behalf, that they know who God says they are.

Prayer is powerful. Instead of getting lost in our thoughts, the Bible clearly tells us to take our thoughts captive and hold them accountable to the Truth. Prayer gives us the perspective to know which thoughts are rogue and which are of true concern and conviction from the Holy Spirit Himself. A daily habit of prayer grows our sensitivity to God’s voice as He speaks uniquely to us. As different as we all are on this earth, so are the specific purposes He has providentially set forth for each of us. Let us prayerfully, specifically, and intentionally pursue Him, and His purposes for us, daily.

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Meg BucherMeg writes about everyday life within the love of Christ at megbucher.comShe is the author of “Friends with Everyone, Friendship within the Love of Christ,” “Surface, Unlocking the Gift of Sensitivity,” “Glory Up, The Everyday Pursuit of Praise,” “Home, Finding Our Identity in Christ,” and "Sent, Faith in Motion." Meg earned a Marketing/PR degree from Ashland University but stepped out of the business world to stay home and raise her two daughters …which led her to pursue her writing passion. A contributing writer for Salem Web Network since 2016, Meg is now thrilled to be a part of the editorial team at Salem Web Network. Meg loves being involved in her community and local church, leads Bible study, and serves as a youth leader for teen girls.