First Baptist Church Marshallville
Wednesday, August 04, 2021
Rooted in the Past -- Growing Into Our Future

From the Under Shepherd Jan 1, 2012

(A word to the reader. These notes will be short so that visitors to this site can read them quickly.   For those interested in learning more on the subjects discussed, resources will be listed for further study.   You may also corner the pastor for discussion! Expect new posts around the 1st and 15th of each month.   The intent of these notes is to engage the mind as well as touch the heart.)
Lord, Teach Us to Pray
Lesson 1
            We extol the place of prayer in our spiritual walk, but likely spend more time talking about prayer than praying! Jesus prayed; the disciples prayed; Paul exhorted the Thessalonians to "pray without ceasing." (1 Thessalonians 5:17)   Yet, how much time do we spend praying?
            This post begins a series of lessons on prayer.   We shall take as our theme the request of the disciples to Jesus "Lord, teach us to pray." (Luke 11:1)   We too shall come into the presence of our Lord and ask him to teach us as he taught that first band of twelve disciples.   In doing so we shall begin where he began with them ("The Lord's Prayer") and follow through to his last words on prayer to the Twelve on the last night of his life in the Upper Room.
            Andrew Murray, a 19th century prayer giant, wrote that prayer is the "root and strength of all other work" that we do (With Christ in the School of Prayer, preface).   We cannot accomplish any spiritual work without that work being undergirded by prayer.   Richard Foster, writing in the late 20th century, noted that prayer is the most central of the spiritual disciplines because it "ushers us into perpetual communion with the Father" and "brings us into the deepest and highest work of the human spirit."    He goes on to declare that "in prayer, real prayer, we begin to think God's thoughts after him and to desire the things he desires, to love the things he loves, to will the things he wills." (Celebration of Discipline, p. 33)
            Prayer changes our life by transforming our life.   If you are not praying, you're not developing as a disciple of Jesus Christ.    Your development is directly dependent upon both the quantity and quality of time you spend in prayer (and reading of Scripture)!   Prayer requires preparation of our lives; and at the same time helps us prepare to live more faithfully as disciples.    As G. Campbell Morgan preached: "Preparation for prayer is the life lived in harmony with the truth we profess to believe.   It is not spasmodic, occasional, but lies in the preparation of the life itself and in proportion as we are living as we ought to live, we not only want to pray, we are able to pray; we not only want to pray and are able to pray, but we do pray, and that so as to prevail." (The Practice of Prayer, pp. 48ff.)
            So, get your Bible handy, get comfortable, and let's ask "Lord, teach us to pray."
Resources for further study
         With Christ in the School of Prayer. Andrew Murray
         The Practice of Prayer. G. Campbell Morgan
         Celebration of Discipline. Richard Foster