The Most Obvious, Most Neglected Curriculum for Prayer in the History of Prayer

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July 11, 2018

Luke 11:1

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.”

CONSIDER THIS

I’ve been seriously trying to learn to pray for over thirty years now. Several years ago I had a major epiphany. You know what an epiphany is—it’s when you finally see what you’ve been looking at for so long. Here it is: Jesus’ life is our school of prayer. God comes to earth in the form of a first-century Jewish peasant. He lives out before our very eyes a revolutionary life behind which is an extravagant life of prayer. A good number of those prayers are written down and have survived to the present day.

If I want to learn to pray doesn’t it make perfect sense that I will make those prayers—uttered by God, written down on scrolls and now reproduced in books (a.k.a. the bible) of which I personally own no less than 25—my curriculum? At the time, that never occurred to me before. Has it to you? So how many prayers of Jesus would you say we have written down? (without counting any twice). Scholars will surely debate this, but I’m going with 9. I count 9.

For the next several weeks we will work our way through these nine prayers and see what we can learn and how we can grow. Rather than keeping you guessing, here are the nine prayers as I count them:

  1. Matthew 6:9-13. Our Father. . . . . .
  2. Matthew 11:25-26. Blessed are you Abba, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Abba, for this was your good pleasure.
  3. John 11:41-43. “. . . Abba, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me. . . . . Lazarus, come out!”
  4. John 12:27-28. “Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Abba, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Abba, glorify your name!”
  5. Mark 14:36. “Abba, nothing is impossible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”
  6. Luke 23:34. “. . . Abba, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
  7. Mark 15:34. “ Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
  8. Luke 23:46. “. . . Abba, into your hands I commit my spirit.”
  9. John 17:1-26. “. . . . My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Abba, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. . . . .”

These nine prayers hold an eternity of divine wisdom. Together we will at minimum plumb their shallows over the next weeks. As we come into this school of prayer we will be well served to re-orient ourselves with the teacher. And just so you know that I know, I am not the teacher.

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.”

THE PRAYER

Almighty Ascended Lord Jesus Christ, you are high and exalted yet near as my breath. We join your ancient disciple in his petition, ‘Lord teach us to pray,’ only teach us like you taught the Twelve. With the help of the Holy Spirit, we humble ourselves and aspire to be faithful, available and teachable before you. Right here, Jesus. Right now, Jesus. Amen.

THE QUESTIONS

  1. Which of the nine prayers most surprised you to see on the list? Why do you think?
  2. Have you ever considered these prayers as curriculum in the school of prayer and delved into them as such? Why or why not?
  3. Faithful, available and teachable—which is your growing edge? What practical step can you take to mature in that direction?

P.S. I know many of your minds are racing through the Scriptures to think of more prayers from Jesus. I would welcome you to share those on the Seedbed Daily Text Facebook Group where we can jury them together. ;0) And I know, some of you have deleted Facebook. We respect that and are working behind the scenes on a platform of our own. For now, this is the best we have. Bear with us.

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J.D. Walt, is a Bond Slave of the Lord Jesus Christ. jd.walt@seedbed.com.

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