The Lesson We Missed On Prayer

Lessons Learned From John’s Prayer

What is Prayer? The Common vs. Uncommon Answer – Part 4

It’s hard to believe that in forty years, four decades, I’ve never heard anyone tell me what I’m about to share with you about “The Lord’s Prayer.” In fact, it’s absolutely amazing what popular culture has done to us when it comes to this topic of prayer. To set this up, let’s start with Jesus’ disciples.

Jesus chose twelve men as you know who were not volunteers in their church, nor were they faithful church attenders, nor were they employed by the local church. These guys didn’t have theological backgrounds. They were the last people you’d guess would be chosen to be on Jesus’ team. You have to agree with that. Just thinking about it would have you question why didn’t Jesus choose some of the folks in the synagogue that He knew spent time there. Yet, He selected guys who know very little about the things of the church of His day.

This actually works to our benefit, yet exposes a crucial flaw that can be found in church-goers, church-people. 

The Flaw Found in Church-People
If church-people had been the chosen disciples, they, just like church-people today, would have you believe they know things they don’t know. In this case, they’d have already known what prayer is and how to do it. So they think. Just like normal people today, who think they know what prayer is and how to do, the truth is they don’t. Based on the results received, they don’t. I wish I could stay here for a minute and explain how not knowing how to pray has affected your home, your marriage, your job, your commitments, your interactions with others and how you do church, but I can’t stay here. We have a lot of ground to cover.

The Benefits Of Not Being Church-People
Because the disciples weren’t church-goers, prayer wasn’t a skill or exercise they regularly practiced. Thank God the disciples were foreign to the ways of the church. Because they had very little to fall back on, we’re now able to take advantage of what they learned. Because they had to be taught the basics, like prayer, so now can we. Thank God for the disciples asking the questions of Jesus. Because if they’d been normal, they’d pretend like they already know it all. Again, I wish I could stay with this thought, but we have more ground to cover.

Prayer John’s Way: Prayer Unlike Others Of His Day (Our Day)
There’s not much that’s said about the prayers John’s disciples prayed. However when Jesus’s disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray they asked to be taught like John taught his disciples. This is interesting because of what it implies. Since the Bible doesn’t give us an example of the words John or his disciples used in their prayers, we can only draw conclusions.

Once Jesus was in a certain place praying. As he finished, one of his disciples came to him and said, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”- 

We can make two conclusions:

  1. John and his disciples prayed.
    This is the first uncommon principle. The fact that they prayed. I know we go to church and church-people would have you believe they pray, but the truth is they normally (51% of the time or more) don’t. That’s the truth. In fact, I’m being generous with this number. This means every time we ask someone to pray for us, one out of two never do; 50% of the time those we ask don’t pray for us.
    This next thought is going to bite a little (to the left). Every time someone asks us to pray for them, 50% of the time or more we don’t. It’s a 50/50 chance whether we do or we don’t. Here’s the sad truth, even when we do, we don’t know what we’re doing and the results, I hate to say it, are telling on us.
    That takes into consideration the prompted prayers. So what about the times we should pray and there is no prompting? I’ll leave you with that thought. We have more ground to cover.
  2. Their prayer was not like what the disciples had seen before.
    To Jesus’s disciples, John and John’s disciples prayed in a way that they’d never witnessed before. There was something uncommon in the way John’s disciples prayed. They prayed unlike the religious people or the synagogue priests which was common in their day. Otherwise, they would have gone to the rightful authorities on prayer.
    You have to admit this is interesting, they didn’t want to pray like normal people prayed. They’d rather pray like John’s disciples. They were more attracted to how John did prayer. What was it about how they prayed that was different? And that brings us to what Jesus gave them, what we call “The Lord’s Prayer” (a.k.a. The Disciples’ Prayer).

Prayer Jesus’s Way: The Beginner’s Guide to Uncommon Prayer

So His disciples asked Him [Jesus] to teach us how to pray.

Once Jesus was in a certain place praying. As he finished, one of his disciples came to him and said, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”- 

In response to His disciples’ request, the Lord Jesus sat down and gave them what we call “The Lord’s Prayer.”

I know you’re guilty of thinking that you could get away with simply repeating the Lord’s prayer. I know…I thought the same thing, but that’s common. That’s exactly what normal people think and as a result normal people reciting the Lord’s prayer get normal results. Jesus didn’t recite this at every moment. He didn’t say when your children get in trouble just repeat these words. He didn’t say when your finances are out of whack just sit down and read this over your bank statements. He didn’t quote it when He needed to feed the five thousand. Rather He said pray in this manner. Using this example. Use it as an outline or guide. Pray like this…to answer your question in how to pray like John taught His disciples how to prayer. He gave them the secret to praying unlike the rest of his day.

In this manner, therefore, pray… –

If you’re a faithful believer in the Lord’s prayer, then you should also be a follower of the One who gave you this outline. That would be Jesus. Wouldn’t it make sense to see how He put prayer into action? The disciples did. John’s disciples watched John put it into practice. Who are you watching that puts it into practice? 

Reciting or repeating “The Lord’s Prayer” is not what prayer is. That’s just not how it works. It’s just an outline, a beginner’s guide, so to speak, on how to pray. Notice it starts with acknowledging “Our Father”. It starts by you addressing God. Jesus’s outline provides us with a way to be prepared for when we do talk to God. In fact, it implies we should be prepared. Anytime a person needs an outline implies preparation.

We know it’s not a recited prayer because doing so wouldn’t take all night long to recite the Lord’s prayer, which can be done in seconds. The Bible shows us that Jesus did this thing, that’s foreign to normal people, pray, all night.

“One day soon afterward Jesus went up on a mountain to pray, and he prayed to God all night.” –

There’s no way it took Him all night to recite nor did he re-read it to God all night long. The disciples wouldn’t have found an interest in doing such a mundane task. As I think about it, to get the attention of the disciples and create a desire to want to pray means prayer was either exciting, produced results, or both.

Also the Bible gives an account of Jesus praying that reveals a request He made of God that wasn’t Him reciting this prayer outline, the Lord’s prayer.

“He went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”” – 

Now we see a direct record of the words used by Jesus in one of His specific prayers and it wasn’t a repeat of “The Lord’s Prayer.” Thank God that the disciples weren’t church-people.  What would we have missed out on? We would have missed out on learning the basics for how to pray for-real. 

I want to leave you with this. Normal is like a disease; it will eat away at everything that has the potential of moving you from average to exceptional. I’m not surprised that popular culture has dumb-down the exercise of prayer so that it doesn’t work the majority of the time. That’s what it means to be normal. Prayer isn’t an activity for the normal. People who pray (and I love to say this) are not normal. People who pray like John, John’s disciples, Jesus disciples, and Jesus are not normal. And neither are you.

Thanks for joining us at Share this and other web-posts with others, we appreciate you spreading these resources. Until next time, normal is no longer enough for you. 

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