“Lord, teach us to pray”
Heart to heart connections with the King of the Universe
When we speak in prayer to Abba, our heavenly Father, are our hearts speaking – or are we just reciting a “prayer” someone else wrote or said years ago? For that matter, even our own unique prayers, if they’re from the same “prayer list” each day, can even those prayers turn to mere words and not be our hearts being bared to Him who sees our hearts anyway? There’s nothing wrong with prayer lists (topics to cover); I use them too. Let’s just remember to check that our hearts are in our conversations with the King of the Universe. Today’s blog is about praying, sharing our hearts with Abba each day; our own soul opening up to our dear Father, our Abba in heaven.
What would Abba – as our dear Father -- really rather hear from us, His children: a prepared, memorized standard prayer from a prayer book or devotional – or you pouring your heart out? It’s clear, isn’t it? Whether “pouring your heart out” means in ecstatic praise and joy, or from a broken heart in deep repentance, or words pouring from a mother’s heart in anguish as she begs Abba in heaven to heal her child – Abba surely wants our hearts! Abba means “dear father”, similar to our “Daddy”. Any of you who are fathers would immediately agree that you’d far rather have your little child speak from her heart to you, rather than have her read someone else’s prayer. Abba in heaven is no different.
One time Yeshua’s disciples overheard Him praying. I’m sure His disciples had long before memorized the standard synagogue prayers everyone said before meals, or after meals or endless other functions that had their own prepared prayers. You can buy “prayer books” in Israel and everywhere. Most people who had memorized the standard prayers (like even “the Lord’s Prayer”) would claim they know how to pray as they perfectly repeat their “Hail Mary” or “Lord’s Prayer” or rabbinic prayers. But when Yeshua’s (Jesus) disciples heard HIM pray, they knew something different was going on. He was actually connecting with Someone; they could feel it! So one of them asked Him to teach them how to pray.
Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, "Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples."
Have we ever asked Yahweh, “Abba, our dear Father, teach me how to pray to you"? Teach me how to talk with you. Teach me to open my soul and my heart to you”? If not, maybe that would also be a good start.
There are many recorded prayers in the Bible. None of them, to the best of my knowledge except the “Lord’s Prayer” (“the Our Father…”), were the standard memorized prayers being said today. When Solomon dedicated the temple in His powerful prayer you can read in 2 Chronicles 6, those words flowed from his heart. When we read David’s prayer when he repented of murdering Uriah and stealing his wife in adultery (Psalm 51), our own hearts break. Our own hearts feel his sincere anguish. That wasn’t a rote prayer either. No - -that one flowed from his heart too.
Think of prayer as having time with your Abba and also with your Beloved Savior. You’re spending time like you would if you were going on a walk together, or sitting down over a meal. It’s that kind of feeling as you speak from your heart.
Yeshua gave us some guidelines when we pray. He doesn’t want us going on and on, especially in something almost like a theatrical presentation in front of a lot of people. Father knows our hearts and we can pray directly and simply without a lot of show business! Neither does He want just memorized words!
Matthew 6:5-8 Apologetics Study Bible
“Whenever you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites, because they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by people. I assure you: They’ve got their reward!
6 But when you pray, go into your private room, shut your door, and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
7 When you pray, don’t babble like the idolaters, since they imagine they’ll be heard for their many words.
8 Don’t be like them, because your Father knows the things you need before you ask Him.
14 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows' houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. Therefore you will receive greater condemnation.
And of course, let’s be praying every day. And remember that prayer should be 2-way conversation. When I pray I have a pen and a notebook or pad of paper on the bed with me. I’ll speak – then I get quiet for a while and just “listen”. It’s amazing how many times I’ll get ideas and thoughts that I know aren’t mine. If we’re not hearing God’s voice, maybe we’re too busy, maybe we’re yakking too much. Maybe we’re not being silent enough to hear “the still small voice” that Elijah experienced on Mt. Sinai. Check out my 3-part sermons on “Hearing God’s Voice” (February 2009). More recently there’s a sermon on “Hindered Prayer”.
My point is: put your heart into your praying. I didn’t say “be loud”. No. Remember Hannah’s wonderful prayer in 1 Samuel 1:9-19? Eli the High priest couldn’t hear her, but he could see her lips moving in anguish. That was a powerful prayer from the heart. We could all learn from Hannah. Be sure to read it. And be sure we’re learning to pray, daily, from our hearts to His heart.