Christ Lutheran Church - Marshfield, WI

Teach Us

One of the hardest things in life is not being able to communicate with someone.

If you have ever been around someone following a stroke, you know what I mean.  There is nothing more frustrating for the person than having to play 20 questions with them or to ask them to repeat themselves for the 3rd time.  My grandfather had his larynx removed due to cancer, and the pain on his face said it all when, more often than not, he became an observer rather than a participant in a discussion.  He loved to talk and now it was taken away.

If you have ever loved someone you also know what I mean.  What do you say to your dying spouse to encapsulate the years you have spent with them?  Having been at the deathbed with three different families this past month, I have seen this play out.  Or what do you say to your secret crush, your dearly beloved, or even a close friend concerning your relationship with them?  Ever agonized over which words to say?  It can be maddening and consuming.

In fact, I would argue that lacking the words to say is more painful than any physical blow.  To miss the opportunity to convey thoughts, feelings, insights, emotion causes more devastation than any injury.

Take that pain you sense with these words and now look at the disciple’s words in Luke 11:1.
“Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.”

Oh!  Can you not feel their pain now?  They desire to talk to God, to commune with Him with their thoughts and words, but they don’t know how.  Luke 11 begins with Jesus praying, and the disciples are watching Him pray.  They desire to also be able to pray, but they are not sure what to say.  How detached from God they must be to ask those words!

Ever felt that yourself?  How can I talk to God?  Teach us also Lord!  

So, Jesus teaches them and us, and the Lord’s Prayer is the result.  This is why the Lord’s Prayer is the most precious prayer of the Church.  Because in this prayer, Jesus teaches us how to pray. He teaches us how to talk to God and in that little prayer is encapsulated every prayer that could be prayed.

That is the trick to prayer.  Prayer must be taught and that makes prayer hard because prayer is the language of children and beggars.  To learn to pray is to learn to become like them.

That is why Jesus tells a parable in Luke 11.  Ask!  Seek!  Find!  Knock!  The Greek here is “Keep Asking” “Keep Seeking” “Keep Finding” “Keep Knocking.”  You have heard or seen children when it comes to asking for things, they are relentless!  You be so as well with God!

Jesus then tells us the key to prayer in Luke 11:13 to conclude this, “how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.”

Only through the Holy Spirit can we pray.  It follows then that prayer must come from God himself.  God knows what we should pray for and tells us!  This is why all prayers are yes in Christ as Paul states!

Dietrich Bonhoeffer seized on this thought and says this, “Our prayer must come from the abundance of God’s Word, not from the dearth of our own hearts.”

Do not pray what is in you.  That is shifting sand.  Like a father teaching his son how to talk, we as Christians learn to talk to God from what he has first told us.

Pray the Words of Scripture.  Sit down with the Psalms or any part of the Bible and read a verse and then pray for what that verse teaches or reveals about God.  It will help you slow down when reading Scripture, but it will give you much to say to God!

In Christ,
Pastor Andrew

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