Teach Us to Pray

I have spent the past 31 years seeking to learn how to pray. I have read more books on prayer than any other subject. I have done more Bible study on this topic than any other. I have participated in a plethora of prayer methods and disciplines seeking to develop my prayer life. Why then do I still feel like the disciples in Luke 11:1 asking Jesus for help in learning how to pray? In one sense prayer is as natural as breathing; yet in another it feels like speaking a foreign language. . How can this be?

Jim Woodroof once advised young preachers not to preach on anything which God had not yet taught them. Good advise. I have long felt that God teaches me just enough so that I have something to share with the congregation while, at the same time, continually reminding me that I’m not that far down the road myself.

As we enter into the “Reel Prayer” series, I am excited to teach what God has taught me, while fully realizing that I too am part of the flock of God at Clear Lake. I join the rest of the body of Christ looking to the great Shepherd of the sheep for guidance and direction. May he truly, “guard, guide, and direct” all of us as we seek to follow him.

On another note, I am hopeful that my techkie friends will enable me to post the movie clips I’ll be showing each week. Check back later in the week and see if we’ve been able to get them up.

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Byron FikePreaching Minister

Byron has been the preaching minister at Clear Lake since 1999. He and his wife have three grown children, who have also devoted their lives to serving the Lord. In his personal time, Byron likes to read books, watch movies, and play with his little dog Willie. He also is an avid follower of Alabama football, having grown up in Tuscaloosa during the glory days of Bear Bryant.

Comments

2 Responses to “Teach Us to Pray”

  1. avatar Jeremy says:

    I find prayer very interesting and challenging. While I firmly believe that God is concerned about us and wants us to share with him all matters of life, I often find myself questioning the physical value of prayer. I do not question how prayer affects our spiritual health and being, but I am not so sure about God’s interaction in this world on our behalf. Let me give two examples, one theological and one everyday.
    If God is all powerful and all good, would his will not be done no matter what I pray? We see examples of people praying and talking to God in the Bible that seemingly “change” his mind. Or do they? How do we not that God, in his infinite knowledge and power already willed the “change” before hand? Can we be sure that it was the prayer itself that changed God’s mind? I am not questioning the power of prayer on the one praying and the need to perhaps see change after a prayer, I just wonder how much God is swayed by our prayers.
    Secondly, a more mundane example. A tornado strikes and destroys all the homes in a neighborhood, save but one. Those in that house are believers and say that they saw the tornado coming, prayed to God for their deliverance and it hopped right over their house. Can we say that their prayer was more righteous than that of the believers that lived next door? Were they just praying harder?
    I know that I need to grow in this area. Perhaps this is the year!

  2. avatar Byron says:

    Great questions! As I mentioned in the first sermon of the series, the nature of God and the subject of prayer are very intertwined. Does God have everything all mapped out where everything that happens in life is his will(as apparently the Calvinists believe), or does God partner with us humans to accomplish his will in the world? I’ve concluded the following:
    – There are some things God will do whether we pray or not (I’m not praying for the sun to rise in the morning for example)
    – There are some things God will only do in answer to prayer (when Jesus said to pray for workers it appears that God will not send them unless we pray)
    – There are some things God will do only in answer to fervent, persistent prayer (the parable of the widow and the judge comes to mind)
    – There are some things God will never do no matter how persistently we pray (Jesus prayed three times for the cup to pass but was denied)

    While petition is an important part of prayer, it is but one type. Adoration, confession, and thanksgiving when combined with Bible study and thoughtful reflection are wonderful ways to help us learn how to pray prayers of petition and intercession.