And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.—Luke 11:1
Today, I’m sharing an introduction to a series of studies on “Settings of Prayer.” We will be starting back the study on Habakkuk very soon, but from time to time, I plan to take a break from our expositional studies to add to this study on prayer. Much of these studies are simply thoughts from a personal study on prayer that has been a blessing to me and I trust will be to you as well.
Luke 11 starts off with a picture of the disciples watching Jesus as He prayed. The subject of prayer must have been on their minds for a while because when the Lord ceased praying, they asked Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.” This very request was in itself a prayer. A prayer that the Lord answered. Many of the Lord’s answers to the disciples’ questions began with a rebuke, but we see no rebuke in this answered prayer. I believe the Lord was waiting for the disciples to make this request, and when the request is made, He graciously teaches them to pray.
I want you to notice that the Lord does not teach the disciples to pray by outlining a series of doctrinal truths concerning prayer. He begins with an example prayer.
Oftentimes teachers will introduce their lessons with a set of definitions, terms, or facts the students need to know. But it really takes the use of examples for these things to be grasped. However, learning doesn’t stop there. Examples can help the truths to be grasped, but many times it takes a time of affliction (homework or study) for the truths to be retained and embraced.
All throughout the Bible there are examples of prayer. I’ve made up a rough list of some these examples that I will be studying through one by one. You can take a look at the list here. There are prayers of great men and women of God that portray for us wonderful truths concerning prayers. There are also other prayers that were not so great from which we can learn what things to avoid. As we go through these examples of prayers found throughout the Bible, pay attention to the nuggets of truth God is teaching us.
And don’t be shocked when the Lord takes you through a time of affliction, for those times are opportunities to apply these truths.