He was praying in a certain place, and when he ceased, one

of his disciples said to him, "Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples."


These men had been out there preaching - healing the sick.


"Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!" 


But when they saw Jesus a few yards away from them praying, they knew that something was going on between Him and Heaven which they had never tasted.


When Jesus finished praying, it was obvious that He had been in

another world. –


- He was refreshed.


- He was new.


Every unusual manifestation of heaven that came through Jesus' ministry was either preceded or attended by Jesus praying. 


Now when all the people were baptized, and  when Jesus also had been baptized and was  praying, the heaven was opened, and the Holy  Spirit descended upon him in bodily form, as  a dove, and a voice came from heaven, "Thou art my beloved Son; with thee 1 am well pleased." 


Now about eight days after these sayings he took with him

Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. And as he was praying, the appearance of his countenance was altered, and his raiment became dazzling white. And behold, two men talked with him, Moses and Elijah, who appeared in glory and spoke of his departure, which he was to accomplish at Jerusalem.


 Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd.  And after he had taken leave of them, he went into the hills to pray. And when evening came, the boat was out on the sea, and he was alone on the land. And he saw that they were distressed in rowing, for the wind was against them. And about the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea.


And he came out, and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives; and the disciples followed him. And when he came to the place he said to them, "Pray that you may not enter into temptation." And he withdrew from them about a stone's throw, and knelt down and prayed, "father, if thou art willing, remove this cup from me; nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done." And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him.  And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down upon the ground.


Out of the prayer: Calvary.


Jesus was a man. He wasn't some kind of superhuman creature. Even though He was God the Son, He was a man.  But when this man prayed, Heaven came right down into Him.


Prayer wasn't some kind of duty with Jesus.  –


      - It was what kept Him alive like breathing. 


      - It was what enabled Him to travel through this sin-perverted

        atmosphere and not get messed up. 


      - It was His one comfort in a world that despised Him. 


When Jesus finished feeding the five thousand, He didn't sit down and have a relaxing little chat with His disciples. He had to get alone with His Father. That day of miracles had drained Him, and nobody on this earth could renew Him - only the Father. 

      And after that evening in Capernaum when people came from all directions for healing, Jesus got some sleep. And the next day, before anyone could call Him for breakfast He was gone to a lonely place to pray. 


The disciples saw all this and knew that if they were really going to be Jesus' pupils - His followers - this would have to become part of their lives too. John the Baptist's disciples were known to be men of strong disciplined prayer. By comparison, Jesus' disciples felt like a bunch of dummies. They felt like many of us feel. Here we've been following Jesus – 


 - we have seen miracles,


 - we've been out there telling others about  the Kingdom,


yet we know that we really don't know the first thing  about prayer, our prayers are weak,






I'm not talking about the prayers we may pray at prayer meeting - thank God for them. May they grow stronger all the time. But those prayers depend, in the long run, on the prayers we pray alone in our room with the door shut.


Are we really reaching Heaven there?  Is Heaven coming down to us? Are we stepping forth renewed by God, day after day after day, consistently?  How many times we have made resolutions: "It's going to be different from now on." "I'm really going to get down to it."


- We've read books about prayer. 

- We've tried techniques.

- We've pumped ourselves up, and squashed ourselves down,


and we're still stumbling when it comes to prayer.  And, as long as we're stumbling in the area of prayer, our ministries will stumble. We'll have one good day followed by ten bad days. And one good year followed by three bad ones. Moments of illumination followed by days of spiritual madness and blindness and astonishment of heart. 


We cannot have that consistent, steady, pounding stamina  of Heaven to keep laboring in season and out-of-season, in heat and cold, peace and war, famine and plenty, 


- until we have made God our daily sanctuary as our Lord made the Father His daily sanctuary, 


- until we come to the place where Heaven is the starting point of every single day we live, 


- until Heaven is the center of every thought we  think, Heaven, the goal of our desiring,  


Heaven, the source of all our willing. 


And this doesn't happen until we truly start learning to pray. Notice I didn't say until we have learned to pray. No flesh-and-blood human being can ever say he has learned to pray. All we can say, on this side of the grave, is that we're learning.


Most of us can't even say that. How can we say we're learning to pray when there is no effort? Only wishes and sighs and the occasional cry of panic, "God help me!" Mouldy prayer lists where we drone on with name after name and expect nothing. 


According to Luke, Jesus did not start teaching His disciples to pray until they asked Him. It would have been useless to try to teach these things until they wanted to learn. 


So those reading these words who are satisfied with their prayer life as it is, will go on without learning a thing.  You'll go to your grave with a little prayer routine you developed before you were twelve and hope your excuses will still hold water on the other side. 


But for those who are dissatisfied,


who thirst for help,


who want to learn,


help is coming to you beginning right now. There are three things we need to know. 


1. The only one who can teach you to pray is Jesus.  


You can read wonderful books on prayer by Andrew Murray, but

Andrew Murray can't teach you to pray.  


You can listen to beautiful sermons about prayer, but no sermon on prayer will teach you to pray. Jesus has to teach you.


The very first step in learning to pray is to confess  ignorance, dump all the preconceived notions, forget  your heavy insights and call on the name of the Son of God.


"Lord, teach us to pray."


From the moment you ask Him, and really mean it, Jesus will start. Which brings us to the next thing we need to understand: 


2. Jesus will teach you to pray when you start praying.


Notice that when the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, He didn't pull out a blackboard and draw diagrams and give them theory.


He said, "When you pray say, 'Our Father who are in heaven....."'


He encouraged them to start right off praying, gave them words that would help them. 


And, by the way, those words of Jesus in the Lord's Prayer would help us too if we weren't so ritualistic about avoiding ritual. 


"0, I can't say those words! They'll become a ritual." 


      "I don't want them to become vain repetition!" 


Take those words of the Lord's Prayer a phrase at a time and let Jesus show you what they mean. Let Him show you through them how to pray. If that's too complicated, just start praying with your heart lifted up to Him and Jesus will come to your aid. He will help you!


The main thing is to start praying. And to start praying you have to make the time.


- If you don't make the time for it, you won't pray.


- If you wait for a spare hour, you won't pray.


Satan will see to it that you'll never have a spare hour. 


To start praying you have to concentrate your mind on God. Jesus won't come in and do your thinking for you.  You have to keep bringing your thoughts back to the Throne until they stay there and hold still and bow down before the glory of the Father. 


To start praying, you have to speak.  "They spoke as the Spirit gave them utterance."  If they hadn't spoken, the Spirit would have given them no utterance. Jesus won't do your speaking for you.


- He'll help you, 

- He'll guide you,


but you will have to open your mouth and your heart and  start forming words.


To start praying, you have to listen. Holy guidance does not come with a big noise, it comes quietly. Jesus won't do your listening for you. You have to listen.


We start praying, keep praying, and as we pray the Master teaches us.  The more we pray, the more He is able to teach us. Which brings us to the final thing we need to know.


3.   Jesus will teach you to pray by sending the Holy Spirit.


The climax of Jesus' answer when the disciples asked Him to teach them to pray was: 


"If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!" 


The chief reason why the Spirit is given to us, my friends, is to help us to pray. If we're wondering why there isn't more evidence of the Spirit in our ministries... start asking why there isn't more prayer in our private lives. 


"When we cry, 'Abba! Father!', it is the  Spirit Himself  bearing witness with our  spirit that we are sons of God."


"Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words." 


Every single time you ask Jesus to help you with your prayers, and mean it, the Spirit comes - every time!  Even when you can't seem to do anything more than groan inside or weep or wring your hands, the Spirit is there helping you, yea, lifting the cry of your heart right up to the Father's Throne.


We've all been talking much these days about the need for boldness to proclaim the Word. And it's true, we need it - 0 how we need the boldness of God! But beneath that need for boldness is the underlying need in every single one of our lives to learn to pray.


"And when they prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken; and they were filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the Word of God with boldness."


The same Lord who taught them will teach us. The question is: Do we want Jesus to teach us to pray - badly enough to put ourselves at His feet daily - and learn?


If we do, then let's tell Him so right now,


let's ask Him to help us get started


this very hour.