‘Teach Us to Pray’ vs ‘Pray for Us’

Today, I would like to talk to you about, “Teach Us to Pray vs Pray for Us,” based on the following Scripture: “And it came to pass, that as he [Jesus] was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord teach us to pray, as John [the Baptist] also taught his disciples. And he said unto them, ‘When ye pray, say…” (Luke 11:1).

We notice from today’s opening Scripture that the disciples did not ask Jesus to pray for them. Instead, they asked him to teach them to pray, and he did.

It was not Jesus’ intention to make us dependent on him. The contrary, in fact. The purpose of his ministry was to awaken us and empower us to act as free people. And that included being able to pray on our own, dealing with God directly, and being fully confident that He hears our prayer – because we are His offspring, and He loves us unconditionally.

There is nothing wrong with asking people to pray for us. We all sometimes need that support. However, we should be careful it does not become a habit. A key element of spiritual empowerment is the ability to pray for yourself, being confident that God hears you just fine, and that your prayer is efficacious enough to get you what you want.

Elijah was a normal person like us. Yet he was able to depend on his own prayer to work wonders for him – because he understood the principles of prayer. The Bible rightly urges us to imitate his prayer of faith: “Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain…And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain…” (James 5:17, NKJV).

How we pray says a lot about how empowered (or not) we are. The more confidence we have in our own prayer, the better. And the less we depend on other people’s prayer, the better we will get at improving our own prayer life.

During his ministry, it was important for Jesus that his followers could deal confidently (and directly) with God the way he did. In light of this, he dedicated time to teach them the ‘science’ behind effective prayer. At one point, he plainly stated that he would not pray to the Father for us – and he indicated the reason for this: “In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I shall pray the Father for you, for the Father Himself loves you…” (John 16:26-27).

Learning to craft our own prayer and believing in its efficacy is better than the ‘pray for me’ alternative – which leads to inferiority complex because we come to believe that someone else has greater influence with God than us. Teaching people how to pray is also better than asking them to come to us for prayer.

With love and blessings


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