Teachable Moments

Some Prayers are Worth Repeating

You’ve heard it said, don’t reinvent the wheel.  It’s good advice – some things are already done so well in their basic form, it is unnecessary and foolish to try and duplicate them.  I suggest that there are some prayers worth repeating because they are perfect – just perfect – as they are.

What are these prayers and who do they come from?  Let’s do a historical walk through a ‘Hall of Prayer’ to discover what is worth praying again.

PROPHET OF PRAYER – Samuel

Samuel is an example of prayer not because of the words he spoke, but because of his heart attitude toward prayer.  Samuel is known as the prophet of prayer; he receives this name justly for the many times we find him praying for others as he saves Israel more than once by interceding for them with the Father. 

POINT:  Do those you love need help? Pray!

As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by failing to pray for you. And I will teach you the way that is good and right.                1 Samuel 12:23

KING of ISRAEL – Solomon

The third King of Israel ruled well when he relied on the Lord’s wisdom.  When he sought direction elsewhere, he failed.

POINT:  Do you need wisdom?  Pray!

“You have shown great kindness to David my father and have made me king in his place. Now, Lord God, let your promise to my father David be confirmed, for you have made me king over a people who are as numerous as the dust of the earth. Give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people, for who is able to govern this great people of yours?”                             2 Chronicles 1:8-10

FIRST CHRISTIAN MARTYR – Stephen

Accused of blasphemy against the temple and the law, Stephen was stoned to death in 36AD.  What did he do with his dying breaths? He prayed, asking God for mercy against his enemies.

POINT: Do you need to forgive?  Pray!

And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.” And when he had said this, he then died. Acts 7:59-60

CHURCH FATHER – St Clement of Alexandria, 150–215 AD

A Christian theologian and teacher in the Egyptian city, Alexandria, Titus Flavius Clemens was a convert, coming out of Paganism.  Having parents who were non-believers, Clement prayed for children and families, making much of the theology of the Trinity, especially God the Father and Jesus the Son.  

 POINT:  Do you desire for your children to know Christ?  Pray!

Be kind to Your little children, Lord; that is what we ask of You as their Tutor, You the Father, Israel’s guide; Son, yes, but Father as well. Grant that by doing what You told us to do, we may achieve a faithful likeness to the Image and, as far as is possible for us, may find in You a good God and a lenient Judge.

May we all live in the peace that comes from You. May we journey towards Your city, sailing through the waters of sin untouched by the waves, borne tranquilly along by the Holy Spirit, Your Wisdom beyond all telling. Night and day until the last day of all, may our praises give You thanks, our thanksgiving praise You: You who alone are both Father and Son, Son and Father, the Son who is our Tutor and our Teacher, together with the Holy Spirit.

MISSIONARY – Elisabeth Elliot (1926–2015)

A missionary in Ecuador to the Auca tribe, Elisabeth’s husband, Jim Elliot, was murdered in 1956 trying to make contact with this people group.  After his death, Elisabeth spent 2 years as a missionary reaching out and serving the very people that killed her husband.

        Point:  Do you want to live a life fully submitted to Christ?  Pray!

Loving Lord and heavenly Father, I offer up today all that I am, all that I have, all that I do, and all that I suffer, to be Yours today and Yours forever. Give me grace, Lord, to do all that I know of Your holy will. Purify my heart, sanctify my thinking, correct my desires. Teach me, in all of today’s work and trouble and joy, to respond with honest praise, simple trust, and instant obedience, that my life may be in truth a living sacrifice, by the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the name of Your Son Jesus Christ, my Master and my all. Amen.

Dear Reader, are you inspired by how others reach out and up to their God – how they depend upon Him and ask Him to work?  Read these prayers and make them your own or use them as an encouragement to write your own. However you engage with these faithful followers of Christ and their prayers, may you never grow weary or complacent about the amazing grace we receive when we take time to pray.

Blessings to you from the God we seek!  Elizabeth

Teachable Moments

The Story of Teach Us to Pray

Let me tell you a story.  A story you may have heard before, but with details you may have missed.

Once upon a time, a rabbi named Jesus visited some friends, Mary and Martha, in Bethany, a suburb of Jerusalem.  After dining with them and giving Martha some much needed advice, he went to “a certain place to pray” (Luke 11:1a).  

  • Bethany is nearby and thus, it is very possible that this “certain place” was the Mount of Olives where he went to pray prior to his betrayal and subsequent crucifixion. Where exactly?  Not sure. But, he had a designated space.

“When he was finished..” (Luke 11:1b)

  • His prayer took time. How much time?  No idea.  But, he invested time.

One of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” (Luke 11:1c)

  • Not surprising, his disciples saw Jesus’ behavior and wanted to learn to do the same thing.  What do we do?, they asked.  People are fascinated with formulas and that is what they wanted from Jesus. 

“And he said to them, “When you pray, say:  ”Father, hallowed be (holy is) your name. Your kingdom come.  Give us each day our daily bread and forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation.” (Luke 11:2-4)

  • Jesus answered the disciple’s question and told them what to pray.  Is this what we should pray?  Yes.  Is it the only thing we should pray?  No. 

A Quick Recap:

  1. Create space and time in your life to pray.
  2. Use the prayer Jesus taught his disciples to pray as a guide for your own prayers.

The Story Continues
Jesus, because he was such a good Rabbi, went on to tell the disciples more than they thought they needed to know (Luke 11:5-12).  Jesus did not end the conversation on a what but a who.  

If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:13)

  • The disciples wanted a pattern; Jesus ultimately gave them a person.  

Dear Friend, the moral of Jesus’ teaching on prayer helps us prioritize our space and time, gives us a pattern for what to pray and ultimately, brings us back to the person of God, the Holy Spirit.  May what the disciples received from the teaching of Jesus on prayer be true in our lives as well.

Blessings to you and fondly yours, dear readers, Elizabeth

Prayer and Quotes of St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430AD) on Prayer

Breathe in me O Holy Spirit that my thoughts may all be holy.
Act in my O Holy Spirit that my work too may  be holy.
Draw my heart O Holy Spirit that I love only what is holy.
Strengthen me O Holy Spirit to defend all that is holy.
Guard me then O Holy Spirit that I always may be holy.

“You have created us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in You.”

“To fall in love with God is the greatest of romances, to seek Him the greatest adventure, to find Him the greatest human adventure.”