Teach Us to Pray
"She (my mother) became a warrior far superior to any epic hero. She became a giant on her knees. With a sword in one hand she battled the enemies of death and disease, and with her other hand stretched toward heaven she kept beseeching God’s help and His mercy." - Bishop T.D. Jakes "There are parts of our calling, works of the Holy Spirit, and defeats of the darkness that will come no other way than through furious, fervent, faith-filled, unceasing prayer." - Beth Moore "Is prayer your steering wheel or your spare tire?" - Corrie ten Boom These quotes cause me to weep, weep with such joy and desire and even a little consternation to drop to my knees yet again and pray. Prayer changes everything and yet it is a forgotten habit by most believers and certainly the little church. Let's stop that, shall we? Let's learn the power and importance of prayer- all in one little bitty blog... I do love a lofty goal. In a recent social media post, a friend posed a question "does it matter if you pray out loud or silently?". I absolutely loved this question because I love discussing all things prayer related. Of course I said, "sure does!" and left it at that. Sweet friend that he is asks, "care to elaborate?". Right, folks may want to know the why behind this truth. In a world so riddled with his truth, your truth, their truth, few actually have the confidence to know they stand on and for truth. It very much matters whether you pray out loud or not. Although first and foremost is that you actually are a man/woman of prayer. If that is a given then let's dive into specifics. Jesus' disciples, after seeing their Master pray, came up to Him and ask, "Lord teach us to pray as John also taught his disciples." Allow me to speculate; I have children. I know a frustration and perhaps a little left out feeling when I see one. I wonder, did the disciples have a little whoa is us attitude when coming to Messiah? Teach us to pray like those other guys got to. How come You don't teach us to pray like John taught his guys? Maybe that's a huge speculative stretch but given other accounts of them wanting to call fire down from heaven and arguing over who was bestest in the Kingdom of God, I may not be too far off here. I think at times we think the disciples far too holy and super spiritual. These guys were epic disasters for roughly three years. In fact Jesus says at one point "Are you still so dull?". Ouch. They had seen prayer done in the temple and apparently on the street corners? so why wouldn't they know how to pray. Teach us to pray like You do, I believe is the true heart behind this question. "Lord give us spiritual hearts and ears." Jesus gives them such a simple paragraph to pray. Books and sermons have been preached at length all on this passage. Yet hardly do we need this. Jesus is pretty straight forward here. He said, "When you pray, say: "Father, hallowed be Thy name, Thy Kingdom come. give us each day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, For we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation." Luke 11:2-4 I love Luke, he's a bullet point kind of guy, I can so relate. get to the point already. This rendition of His prayer is basically cut in half but you get the idea. Also, no need for in depth sermons or explanations- Praise God's name, because He is holy. Ask for His Kingdom to come (in Matthew He says to ask for His will on earth as it is in Heaven), give us our needs for each day, forgive our sins because we are a people who forgive those indebted to us. Oh and lead us away from sins. If you're given to much prayer you know if you seek to know the nuances of what is His kingdom exactly, then you would sit and listen for Him to tell you. It is that basic and simple. We all have different roles in the Kingdom of God, different gifts and different callings. Ushering in His Kingdom will look vastly different for each of us. Let's not get caught up in "oh what do you think Jesus meant by His Kingdom? And our daily bread?? Ahh what could He possibly be trying to say??" He's saying your bread. Food, needs, cheddah cheese, as it were. So does it matter if we pray out loud, after all, this is the question at hand. The word say in the Greek is lego. Meaning, well, to say, to speak, affirm over, maintain, to teach, to exhort, advise, to command, to point out with words, to call by name, to call name, to speak out, speak of, mention. So we can pretty much gather Messiah Jesus meant, out loud. Well yea, but can't you speak in your heart, sort of in your mind? Sure, you can, but to create effective change and move mountains, the out loud is necessary. In the Old Testament we find Hannah praying in her heart, silently, yet her lips were moving. She was so fervently praying I wonder if she was weeping and just mumbling her words, unable to make a sound. Again, total speculation based on personal experience. When we are fervently praying, declaring and decreeing, the enemy of our souls cannot hear our thoughts. But he sure can hear our voices proclaiming the Word of God. We out loud align ourselves with His word and decree a thing thus, and it is done for us. We agree with God in prayer so that the devil cannot have authority over us, our children, our finances or our work. We speak it out. If you're praying in tongues, one simply cannot effectively do that in your heart. This is Romans 8:26 in action- we don't know what we ought to pray so the Spirit takes over, intercedes for us, uses our mouths to declare and decree His Kingdom and His righteousness. Too deep for words, human words, utterances. Groanings in the Spirit are needed when laboring in prayer. Still, making a noise here... Jesus said to go into your closet and pray in secret, He didn't say to pray silently. He said don't be a show off, using a ton of words that are useless, meaningless and prideful. Go into your closet, pray in secret to your Heavenly Father who sees in secret. Then, He will openly reward you. My brothers and sisters, it very much matters whether we pray out loud because the mere fact that we would even be discussing the topic tells me that hearts may not want to be out loud simply for lack of understanding and perhaps- embarrassment. Our faith is not just our faith. Our faith is for all to see us walk out and live out, in front of others. I've sat in far too many prayer meetings where the majority of people don't pray. Some have said "I just don't know what to say." or "I feel weird talking to God in front of others". Pride has no place in our prayer rooms. When the Lord said don't be a showoff and pray loudly on the street corners, it wasn't because He thought we shouldn't be out loud pray-ers, it was because they loved to be seen by men and praised by men. He said, "don't do that". One last thing- praying out loud literally shakes the foundations of wherever you're at. The early church had this weird habit of constantly being in prayer together and the very foundations of the buildings shook! When they were in prison, rather than fuss and complain about their current plight, they praised and worshipped God, singing hymns and songs. Guess what? An earthquake hit, shook the place where they were and the chains fell off setting them FREE!! WHAT??? (Acts 16:22-30) Not only that but the jailer was so freaked out by what occurred that he was about to kill himself and they talked him out of it. Then he decides he better convert if this is how their God acts on their behalf. You want real change in this world? You want to see the unborn cease being murdered by the thousands daily? You want to see a revival breakout in this nation and turn over tyrannical leadership? Drop to your knees and pray- out loud, fervently- as if your very life depends on it, because my friend- it does. It absolutely depends on it.