Home > Christianity, Faith > How To Learn How To Pray

How To Learn How To Pray

I remember it well.  It was sometime in the fall of 1991.  I was at the church I grew up in.  I was really upping my game in church life.  It’s too bad that I wouldn’t realize for a couple of more years that I needed more than just church in my life.

I was sitting there minding my own business listening to the prayer requests and the people who prayed for each item.  That’s when I heard something I had never heard before.

“Larry Carter, will you pray for ______?”

I sat there stunned for a moment.  Had the pastor really called my name?  Was there time for me to slip out the door while every head was bowed and every eye closed?  Would I spontaneously combust during my prayer?

I managed to croak out a prayer and obviously I am still alive.  But this and other circumstances like it have always made me wonder something.

Why aren’t we taught to pray?

Jesus’ disciples found him praying in a certain place.  I think this means that Jesus had a regular, planned spot where he prayed.  After he finished, someone asked Him, “Lord teach us to pray just as John also taught his disciples.”`

Think about what just happened.  The disciples seemed to be watching Jesus pray.  When he was done, they asked to be taught to do it like John’s disciples had been.  Evidently, John the Baptist taught his followers how to pray.  This was known publicly.  Perhaps this particular disciple  of Jesus had been one of John’s disciples and had firsthand knowledge of what John had done.  So, they wanted to learn how to pray like Jesus.  If John’s praying had been like Jesus’, then this would have been unnecessary.  But Jesus’ praying was different.  It was on another level compared to John’s.

What did Jesus do?  He told them how to go about praying.  He said when you pray do it like this.

It seems, though, that we are expected to just know how to pray or figure out how to do it on our own.

I remember as a kid watching my dad change the brakes on a car.  He told me to watch while he did it.  When it came time later to change the brakes on my own car, I didn’t know what to do.  I had never done it.  I had watched it be done, but I stared at the brakes not really understanding how to handle it.

Jesus basically said, “Here is how I pray. Now do it.”  He threw his followers in right away.  He taught them how to pray and then said when you pray, do it my way.

That’s the way a good teacher does it.  They show you how to do it while you watch.  Then they watch you do it while they watch.  Finally, they let you do it on your own.  Essentially, that’s what Jesus is doing.  He is giving the disciples on the job training on the subject of prayer.

Do you know how to pray?  I don’t mean do you know how to say words in front of a crowd and call it prayer.  Have you learned how to pray?  If not, I would suggest a few things.

1.        Begin praying.

2.       Seek someone who you think is a prayer warrior and ask them to pray with you.

3.       Pray some more.

4.       Pray about your praying.

5.       Pray some more.

In other words, you won’t ever know how to pray unless you actually get down to the business of praying.

Do you know how to pray?

Categories: Christianity, Faith Tags: , ,
  1. March 1, 2013 at 2:50 pm

    Sometimes I think I know. Others times I am not so sure. More often than I would like to admit it say, “What was that?”

    • March 1, 2013 at 3:25 pm

      Bill, I definitely don’t think we should claim to know how.

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