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Teaching Prayer by Example Requires Consistency


The disciples observed Jesus preach, teach, and heal but we do not read in Scripture where they asked Him to teach them to preach, teach, or heal. They did, however, ask Him to teach them how to pray.

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.” He said to them, “When you pray, say . . .” (Lk. 11:1-4)

Could it be that Jesus made it so obvious that prayer was central to all else they might do that they saw this as their greatest need? He so consistently prayed that they undoubtedly learned that prayer was the means to tap into the power source for any and all kinds of ministry.

(Click image to enlarge in Pinterest & repin.)
(Click image to enlarge in Pinterest & repin.)

Jesus’ Consistency in Praying Got Their Attention.

Though Jesus did verbally teach about praying (Matt. 5:43-45; 6:7-14; Luke 10:2; 11:5-13; 18:9-14), He seemed to have really gotten the disciples’ attention by how He prayed, helping them see their need to also make prayer a priority.

The day referenced in Luke 11 when the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray was not the first time the disciples saw Jesus praying. Notice some of the examples recorded in Luke leading up to that day.

  • Jesus prayed when he was baptized (Lk. 3:21).
  • Jesus spent the night praying prior to choosing the twelve disciples (Lk. 6:12).
  • Jesus “often withdrew to lonely places and prayed” (Lk. 5:16).
  • Jesus offered prayers of thanksgiving when feeding the 5000 (Lk. 9:16).
  • Jesus would pray in private when His disciples were with him (Lk. 9:18).
  • Jesus was praying when He was transfigured in the presence of Peter, James, and John (Lk. 9:29).
  • He prayed spontaneously after the disciples returned from their missions trip (Lk. 10:21).

Jesus’ Consistency in Praying Reinforced What He Taught Them.

The day referenced in Luke 11 when the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray was not the last time the disciples would see Jesus praying. Having seen Him praying up to that point led to a teachable moment where they were ready to learn more about praying. The instruction they received that day would be further reinforced by what they would yet see, especially in Jesus’ darkest hour. Here are some examples:

  • Jesus gave thanks for the bread during their Passover celebration which He said represented His body which would be broken for them (Lk. 22:19).
  • Jesus told Peter that He prayed for him that his faith would not fail in light of how he would betray Jesus (Lk. 22:32).
  • Jesus agonized in prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane with some of the disciples close by him (Lk. 22:40-46).
  • Jesus prayed for the people crucifying Him that the Father would forgive them (Lk. 23:34).
  • Jesus called out to the Father as He hung on the cross dying (Lk. 23:46).
  • Jesus gave thanks when breaking bread with His disciples after His resurrection (Lk. 24:30).
  • Jesus lifted up His hands to bless the disciples right before He ascended to heaven (Lk. 24:50-51).

Imagine the lessons the disciples learned about the importance of prayer as they watched their Messiah praying even in death. What they had seen before in the good and busy days of ministry and what they had heard Him say when they asked Him to teach them to pray, was reinforced exponentially as He remained consistent in prayer to the very end.

For Personal Reflection: Do you tend to let circumstances affect your prayer life or are you consistent in praying regardless of how busy or stressed you might be?


4 Replies to “Teaching Prayer by Example Requires Consistency”

    • Patti, here are two verses you might be thinking of:

      “Christ Jesus who died – more than that, who was raised to life – is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.” (Rom. 8:34)

      “Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.” (Heb. 7:25)

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