Do you ever feel ineffective in prayer?

True prayer is really a foundation of true ministry. Without regular, fervent prayer, we may produce much activity, but we won’t see lasting spiritual fruit.

Not only that, but our own spiritual growth is dependent on regular communion with the Lord in prayer. An old Scottish pastor, Thomas Brooks, observed, “The power of religion and godliness lives, thrives, or dies as closet [private] prayer lives, thrives, or dies. Godliness never rises to a higher pitch than when men keep closest to their closets.”

And yet, if you’re like me, you find yourself often echoing the words of Jesus’ disciples, “Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1).

The full verse says, “And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples. (Luke 11:1)

Recorded in the very verse with the disciples’ request we learn three attributes of Christ’s prayer life:


“…as he was praying…”

That the disciples would find Christ praying is no surprise. Not only did He sometimes spend complete nights in prayer (Luke 6:12) and often rise early to pray (Mark 1:35), but Jesus’s life was a state of continual communication with the Father.


“…in a certain place…”

It seems Jesus had designated places where He would go to pray. Just before Calvary, Judas knew he could find Jesus in the Mount of Olives at the garden where he frequented as a prayer place (Luke 22:39).

If you’ve ever traveled to countries with an eastern culture, you know that it can be difficult to find privacy. Yet Jesus found places of solitude where He made time for private prayer.


“…when he ceased…”

Jesus was so engaged in His time of prayer that for the disciples to ask a question would have been an interruption. The way many of us pray, however, is so disengaged that we are constantly letting our own thoughts interrupt us and perhaps thankful for the intermittent distractions coming from our phones.

Jesus was fully involved in prayer. He was bringing definite petitions before the Father. This was no mere ritual—it was real communication.

John Bunyan said, “In prayer, it is better to have a heart without words than words without heart.” I’m afraid we too often pray through a list with no real heart engagement in the serious business of prayer.

Constant, private, whole-hearted—do these adjectives describe your prayer life? If not, could they this week?

Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.—Hebrews 4:16

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