Meridian Star

November 2, 2013

From the Shepherd’s Heart

By Dr. John A. Temple / guest columnist
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN —     “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.” — Luke 11:1

   Following this scripture is the Lord’s Prayer. This prayer is quoted in many churches every Sunday, and considered the ultimate model for how we pray.

    A closer look at the request of the disciples is not, “How to pray.” Instead, the request is, “Teach us to pray.” This verse one tells us much about the habit of prayer in Jesus life.

    First, notice that Jesus was praying when they made their request. The life of Jesus was saturated with prayer. He prayed before choosing the disciples. He prayed in times of grief such as the death of John the Baptist.

    He prayed after successes such as the feeding of the multitude. He prayed before great trials such as Gethsemane. Even his last words were a prayer, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.” The request of the disciples was a request for a lifestyle they had seen. If Jesus is our model, we will be people who pray without ceasing.

    Secondly, Jesus was praying in a certain place. Jesus had a dedicated place where He regularly prayed. People who have a habit of prayer usually have a place of prayer. To have a place that is hallowed for the purpose of meeting the Lord increases the likelihood that communication with the Almighty will be remembered and practiced.

    To increase your prayer life, have a prayer bench, prayer room, or certain chair in which you pray. If you have a prayer journal or devotionals that help you pray, keep them in one place. Make a sanctuary out of some place and pray in that place as often as you pass that spot.

    Thirdly, Jesus’ prayer life was uninterruptible. In the scripture, notice the disciples did not make their requests known until Jesus had finished praying. The priority of Jesus was communication with the Father. Prayer was so important that he was never distracted from that intimate moment.

    The disciples waited to speak until Jesus was finished praying. Everyone makes time for what is important. When we make prayer our priority, others will be embarrassed to interrupt.

    Fourthly, Jesus prayed without hesitancy before others. The disciples were present as Jesus communicated with the Father. It was not for show or making a statement. Jesus was unapologetic about His focus on prayer.

    As his followers, we should come to such a dependency on God that we don’t care who sees or hears our prayer. We don’t mind others seeing us on a cell phone. We shouldn’t mind them seeing us on a line with heaven.

    The next time you feel a necessity to quote the model prayer, commit to the model lifestyle. The power is not in the words said as much as the intimacy sought with Holy God.

Dr. John A. Temple is pastor of Poplar Springs Drive Baptist Church, located at 4032 Poplar Springs Drive in Meridian. Visit the church website online at www.