Want to learn more about building a life of prayer? Me too. Meet me here on Wednesdays for an ongoing series exploring prayer using Dr. Andrew Murray's book, With Christ in the School of Prayer. I'm honored to learn alongside you.
"As we grow in the Christian life, the thought and the faith of the Beloved Master in His never failing intercession becomes ever more precious, and the hope of being Like Christ in His intercession gains an attractiveness before unknown. And as we see Him pray, and remember that there is none who can pray like Him, and none who can teach like Him, we feel the petition of the disciples, "Lord, teach us to pray," is just what we need."
Anyone who dares to ask, "Lord, make me like You," will find that there is no imitation of the life of Christ without prayer. It is woven into the fabric of Jesus' earthly life from beginning to end, an anchor thread appearing in both ordinary moments and extraordinary trials and triumphs.
Each disciple must come to this truth: if we would truly be like Jesus, we must pray.
Slowly I came to see that all the dilemmas of my prayer life have essentially been dilemmas of my own making. Bound up in perfectionism, relying on the advice of men, blindly trying to find my own way to please God, I never thought to seek Christ's help as the Teacher.
But now I ask, Lord, teach me to pray.
In the first lesson, Dr. Murray examines each word of this petition.
Lord, teach us to pray. "...the highest and holiest work to which man can rise. It is fellowship with the Unseen and Most Holy One. The powers of the eternal world have been placed at its disposal. It is the very essence of true religion, the channel of all blessings, the secret of power and life. Not only for ourselves, but for others, for the Church, for the world."
Lord, teach us to pray. "We have read in Thy word with what power the believing people of old used to pray, and what mighty wonders were done in answer to their prayers. And if this took place under the Old Covenant, in the time of preparation, how much more wilt Thou not now, in these days of fulfillment, give Thy people this sure sign of Thy presence in their midst. [...] To us too, Thou has entrusted Thy work, on our prayers too the coming of Thy kingdom depends, in our prayer too Thou canst glorify Thy name...Yes, us Lord, we offer ourselves as learners..."
Lord, teach us to pray. "At first, there is no work appears so simple, later on, none that is more difficult. [...] Amid the painful consciousness of ignorance and unworthiness, in the struggle between believing and doubting, the heavenly art of effectual prayer is learnt. Because, even when we do not remember it, there is One, the Beginner and Finisher of faith and prayer, who watches over our praying, and sees to it that in all who trust Him for it their education in the school of prayer shall be carried on to perfection."
Lord, teach us to pray. "A pupil needs a teacher, who knows his work, who has the gift of teaching, who in patience and love will descend to the pupil's needs. Blessed be God! Jesus is all this and much more. He knows what prayer is. It is Jesus, praying Himself, who teaches us to pray. He learned it amid the trials and tears of His earthly life. In heaven it is still His beloved work: His life there is prayer."
To join "His beloved work" - this is what draws us. But first, we set aside the Martha-doing and come like Mary to sit at the feet of the Master Teacher to learn from Him alone. This week, will you join me in simply going to Him ready with a heart to learn? As simple as a whispered moment in the morning, "Lord make me willing!" or a challenge to weave prayer into the fabric of a busy life, let's begin with showing up for class. I have set aside two times each day that I want to purposefully meet with Him, one is part of a quiet, familiar routine and the other is a short time during the chaos of the day when I want to kneel and reorient myself toward Christ. Whatever your Teacher instructs: first thing in the morning, late at night, while you're making dinner, written in your journal, whispered out loud, kneeling at a prayer bench - wherever, whenever, let us go to Him as His disciples with hungry hearts and begin.
We come to You now in humility, with hearts that want to learn, and we ask You to begin again with us. Teach us to pray as You pray.
Oh Lord, teach us first the need of prayer. Let our own hearts hunger as Yours does for communion with the Father. Let us see in our own lives how prayer works, how it is the vital working of Your power in and for mankind. Will You surprise us and inspire us this week, Lord?
And Lord, teach us the humility of prayer. May we never consider ourselves too busy, too important to spend our time in the work that You did. We pray You would create space in our days, remind us and urge us on to prayer.
And finally Lord, teach us the way of prayer. We don't know how to do this work. We stumble, we stutter, we wander, we fail. But our feet are on the path now, Jesus, lead us and we will follow.
Thank You Lord. We will not fret, but just rest in Your promise to answer us and equip us with all we need to accomplish Your will.
In Your precious name, Jesus,
I'll be taking the next few days off to celebrate the holiday and prepare for Advent, but I'll be back next week. Wednesday I'll be sharing thoughts from Lesson Two: 'In Spirit and Truth' or 'The True Worshippers'
Find all the articles in this series here: Wednesday Prayer Series