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Dr. Jay P. Cook, Pastor

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How Jesus Prayed
Luke 11:1

This morning I want us to just look at the first verse in Luke 11.  Then in the few weeks we will look at some of the ways Jesus prayed and what He taught His disciples.  

Luke 11:1 (NIV)
1 One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, "Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples."

I believe that prayer is a spiritual discipline that needs to be developed in our lives. It is something that we can learn to do even though it appears to be something that comes naturally to all of us.  Just because it comes naturally to us does not mean that we shouldn’t learn how to pray.

Let me give you a simple analogy.  There are some individuals that things just come naturally to.  There are some people that have natural talents – maybe in music or drawing.  When I was in college there was a guy who was phenomenal on the piano.  He could play a hymn on one hand and another hymn on the other hand at the same time.  Don was a natural he could hear a song once and then could play it.  With all that natural talent and ability he could have sat back and rested in his giftedness but instead he was a music major who wanted to learn more than what just came naturally to him.  

Our son Josh is a natural athlete – he could play anything and excel at it.  I on the other hand was not a natural athlete – I had to learn the fundamentals and had to practice.  I served in a town that was a bedroom community to Erie, PA and there was a guy who was playing basketball for the University of Pennsylvania.  Jed Ryan was an awesome basketball player and his mother was the choir director of our church.  Now I am big college fan and try to watch March Madness – basketball tournament.  I watched Jed Ryan hit five 3 point shots and score 22 points and almost upset beat Florida. His mother said he had the height and natural talent.  But he didn’t make it on just the natural talent.  He made it on practicing the fundamentals every morning and every night.  They even built an outside court which was heated so he could practice in the winter.  His sisters, mother and father would feed him the ball so he became an accomplished shooter. For Jed it was learning the correct fundamentals and then practicing. It was all about learning and practicing and you know what that is true when it comes to prayer also. 

Whether you are a mechanic, a doctor, a musician or a disciple of Christ we have to be learners.  A synonym of disciple is student or learner.  To be like Christ in our prayers takes a hunger to learn and a passion to practice.   

Luke mentions that Jesus was "praying in a certain place" (11:1), when the disciples approached Him concerning prayer. It may be that our Lord’s example of prayer brought into contrast their lack of an effective prayer-life. Seeing the deficiency of their prayers, they asked for help. Although the need to pray is natural for believers, human weakness calls for Jesus to teach us to pray.

  1. Could it be that they put two-and-two together? After all, they had seen him do many miracles like feeding the 5000; walking on the water; calming the raging sea.  
  1. They had heard Him teach incredible truths about the Kingdom of Heaven, and had even seen Him raise Jairus’ dead daughter.
  1. They were looking at Jesus and wondering how He did those miraculous things and how did the masses stick around to hear Him preach for hours.

 They may have been saying to themselves, “Wow! I want to do what He’s doing and I want to know what He knows…

  1. How effective is our ministry compared with Jesus’ ministry?  Maybe we aren’t as effective as the disciples became because we need to know how to pray also? Do you sense a need to learn how to pray the way our Master prayed?  I do!



Harvie Neatherlin (Ten Principles Of Prayer) tells the story about an empty chair. A man’s daughter asked the pastor to come and pray with her father one day. When he arrived, he found the man lying in bed with an empty chair beside his bed. The pastor assumed the fellow had been informed of his visit. "I guess you were expecting me," he said. "No, who are you? I’m the new pastor," he replied. "When I saw the empty chair, I figured you knew I was going to show up. Oh yeah, the chair," said the man. "Would you mind closing the door? I’ve never told anyone this, not even my daughter," said the man. "But all of my life I have never known how to pray. At church I used to hear the pastor talk about prayer, but it always went right over my head. I abandoned any attempt at prayer," the old man continued, "until one day about four years ago my best friend said to me, "Joe, prayer is just a simple matter of having a conversation with Jesus. Here’s what I suggest.
Place an empty chair in front of you, and in faith see Jesus in the chair. It’s not spooky because he promised, "I’ll be with you always." Then just speak to him and listen in the same way you’re doing with me right now." "So, I tried it and I’ve liked it so much that I do it a couple of hours every day. I’m careful, though. If my daughter saw me talking to an empty chair, she’d either have a nervous breakdown or send me off to the funny farm." The pastor was deeply moved by the story and encouraged him to continue praying. Two nights later the daughter called to say that her daddy had died that afternoon. "Did he seem to die in peace?" he asked. "Yes, when I left the house he called me over to his bedside, told me one of his corny jokes, and kissed me on the cheek. When I got back from the store an hour later, I found him dead. But there was something strange, apparently, just before Daddy died, he leaned over and rested his head on a chair beside the bed." Joe became intimate with God through prayer, so he wanted to pray. We can have this same intimacy too.  If you are having a difficult time with prayer maybe try the chair approach.

Please click here for attached slides for the sermon.