• Melissa Burgess

Lord, Teach us to Pray


"As Believers, the word “prayer” encompasses every aspect of our past, our present, and our future."

The first prayer we pray is one professing Jesus Christ as our risen Savior and believing Him to cover the sins of our past. Our daily prayers are often focused on the struggle of a day to day pursuit of holiness and glimpses of our future hope. Prayer in its basic definition is simple and even a child can manage it. However, as we grow in Christ we come to realize prayer as the holiest of work, where the powers of the unseen have been placed in our hearts, mouths, and hands. Even the Disciples themselves humbly asked of Jesus in Luke 11 “Lord, teach us to pray”.

"The brokenness of the world compels us to want to know we are connected to the source of hope through answered prayers."

Many books have been written about how to pray, how to receive answered prayers, and formulas are sometimes shared to crack the prayer code. Amidst our human conversation of prayer is the Holy scripture that instructs us plainly and clearly.

The Bible says in 1 John 5:14 “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.” The key factor is being in the will of God.

Being in the will of God requires a life totally surrendered to God. He must be our greatest adventure, our deepest passion, and our purest love. The will of God is not typically sunshine and roses, because we can manage those situations alone.

"He leads us to situations that require our complete weakness allowing for His complete strength."

The will of God for the 3 Hebrew boys was the fiery furnace, for David it was facing Goliath, for Daniel it was the lion’s den, for John it was exile, for Paul many lashes on his back, and for Jesus His only Son, it was the cross.

"Being in the will of God brings a resilience to our personal prayer life that is unlike any other we can experience in life."

A brilliant example of such tenacious pursuit is Nehemiah. We meet him in Nehemiah chapter 1 as a man living in privilege as the cupbearer to the King. News reaches him of his people being overtaken in battle and their wall destroyed.

The wall represented the separation between God’s chosen people of standard and the rest of the world. It was important for the Children of God to make a distinction between themselves and those around them. Nehemiah was moved by their condition and did in chapter 1 what he continued to do throughout his journey, he prayed to God.

Nehemiah’s prayer in chapter 1 can serve as a model and a testimony to answered prayer. He begins by giving honor to God and declaring who God is to His people. Verse 5 “O Lord God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments.”

Within this one verse we see two things.

One, Nehemiah knew the power of His God.

Two, Nehemiah understood that God answers the prayers of those that meet the Biblical standards of love and obedience.

"From a posture of humility, Nehemiah began to repent on behalf of himself and for his people.

He realized that any request brought in the presence of a Holy God must first be purified. The motivation for his prayer was not himself alone, but the condition of his people.'

In the chapters that follow, Nehemiah’s work to rebuild the wall is opposed by enemies in many different schemes. Over and again, Nehemiah answers intimidation, threats, evil, and setbacks with prayer. Over and again, God answers the prayers of Nehemiah and the impossible is made possible as the wall is completely rebuilt.

"As we follow his story we see him inspire people to come back to God as their first love, he stands against injustice to the poor, he is generous, he restores holiness, and he refocuses a lost people on the covenants of God."

When we read this list of things flowing from the life of Nehemiah we have no doubt as to how he managed to receive so many answered prayers. The lesson for us is that any time we are praying for those things within the will of God, His answer is always “yes.”

The “yes” is not however freely given, it comes with expectation. God expects for us to be holy and cleanse ourselves of the world. When the world is our focus it will contaminate our prayer life.

"We will find ourselves praying for numbers instead of souls, praying for prosperity instead of opportunities to give, praying for forums to be heard instead of relationships that allow us to listen."

The core truth in the story of Nehemiah is that answered prayers happen when our prayers are purely Kingdom focused. John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world, He sent His only son, that whoever believes in Him, should not perish but have eternal life.” Luke 19:10 “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

"If you are longing to experience answered prayers and see the power of God move mountains for you, then connect your prayers to the heart of God."

Let’s challenge ourselves with Luke 12:27 to “Consider the lilies, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.”

Take 30 days and utter no prayers concerning your personal wants and watch God answer your prayers for others while supplying your every need.

Answered prayers are unselfish prayers that are saturated with a love for Christ and Christ alone. If as a Believer my eternal reward is heaven and this earth is temporary, then surely my heart should be focused on where I am going and who I can bring with me instead of what I can enjoy here.

Prayer should reflect the God we serve and cannot be accomplished in natural words from men. These holiest of conversations with Jehovah God must be scripture inspired, sacrificial, and purified.

Our words in prayer are only powerful, because of the God who hears them!

"But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted!"

John 15:7

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