Sermons

Summary: Notice what Jesus DOESN’T tell them. Jesus never tells the disciples they have to change first. He never tells them to become more than what they are and that they need to change before they can approach God. You can pray to God from right where you are.

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[ME] I grew up in church where the Pastor would call on people to pray during the service or to close the service. I distinctly remember one particular gentleman in our church, when he was called upon to close in prayer, my teenage friends and I would literally moan with the expectation of an additional five more minutes until church was out.

I really don’t remember praying all that much in church growing up, but I am sure I did. My father and mother always had prayer before meals in our home. I can remember walking by my father’s bedroom seeing him kneeling beside his bed before going to sleep. In fact, when I would come home from bible college, I made some good memories of joining my father at that bedside.

But one my first memories of prayer was my first day at Bible college in southern Ohio. They practiced something called “united prayer.” {tell story}

My prayer-life was a gradual learning process, but it was really like how I was taught to swim: thrown in and made to!

As I listened to others more seasoned in their prayer life than I, I began to take, and piecemeal my prayers and pattern them after these great men and women of prayer. I can remember saying to myself, “Oh yeah, that’s exactly what I’ve been wanting to say to God!” And, “Wow! That sounds cool, I can’t wait until it’s my turn to pray so I can say that!”

And I have come to the conclusion that learning how to pray is like learning a new language. You can learn letters, learn words, learn sounds and syllables, and try it out on yourself or close family members, but you really learn by just starting from where you are and jumping in with others and doing it.

Prayer can be scary, intimidating and make you feel naked when called on to pray in front of a group of people. And keeping prayer as a daily practice can be a struggle even for pastors to maintain.

That reminds me of a story of a mother who invited some people to dinner. At the table, she turned to her six-year-old daughter and said, "Would you like to say the blessing?" "I wouldn’t know what to say," the girl replied. "Just say what you hear Mommy say," the mother answered. The little girl bowed her head and with sincerity in her voice said, "Lord, why on earth did I invite all these people to dinner?"

There have been a few, and if I am honest, seasons in my life and ministry where the daily habit of carved out time for prayer for missing entirely.

And sometimes when I have started to pray, I put too much emphasis on how it feels and if it doesn’t feel anymore like it used to when my prayer-life was going good, and do you think I press through and triumph and persevere in prayer? No. You know what I usually do? I quit and give up and don’t even really try and say it’s too much work and not worth the struggle.

[WE] Have you ever felt that way? Have you ever wished your prayer-life was better than it was? Than it is? If you’re like me then you’ve probably asked, “What can I do to make my prayer-life better?”

[GOD] One of the disciples of Jesus asked the very same thing in Luke 11:1. They were all just listening to Jesus pray one day and when Jesus finished, one of the disciples said, “Hey Jesus! Could you teach us to pray. John the Baptist used to teach his followers to pray. Do you think you could teach us to pray too?”


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