If you are a Christian and you need something, the first place you should turn is to the Lord. Jesus teaches us that we are to ask for anything we need, even for daily bread. That’s how dependent on Him we are to be. It seems to me then, that if I want to grow in prayer, the first place to go is to God. So I suggest praying about prayer.
Isn’t it interesting, and maybe a bit sad, that we struggle so much in prayer, and yet never come to the Lord and ask Him to help us to pray. Do we really believe that we are so spiritual that we can handle this on our own? If we know that God wants us to be a people of prayer, and that is certainly clear in Scriptures, then when we ask believing God to make us a person of prayer, we can expect great results. I pray every day that God would make me a man of prayer. In His way, and in His timing, He will always answer that prayer.
The apostles are a good example of this kind of prayerful dependence on the Lord as we seek to grow in prayer. Realizing how critical prayer was to the ministry of Jesus, they asked Him to teach them to pray (Lk.11:1). The truly amazing thing about this is that as far as we know, this is the only thing the apostles asked Jesus to teach them.
What was Jesus’ response to this request? He certainly did not downplay their request or tell them they didn’t need to be taught. He gave them a clear outline of what to pray in simple straightforward fashion. We often call this the Lord’s Prayer, though it might better be named the Model Prayer, or the Disciples Prayer. Jesus knew that His disciples needed help in their prayer lives, so when they asked, He provided that help for them. He will for you, too!
Make me a person of prayer.
Praying about prayer can have several important aspects. The most basic request is for help to pray. “Make me a person of prayer” is that sort of foundational prayer. You are not so concerned about methods as simply the fact that you need to be praying. Making this sort of foundational request each day will build prayer into your life for the long term.
Ask for help praying about situations.
Building on this, we begin to ask God how to pray about certain issues or situations. This recognizes our own limitations and the need for God to step in, even to the shaping of our prayers.
The great promise of the Lord’s help in this area is found in Romans: “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans” (Romans 8:26). God does not leave us on our own to flail about. When we ask, He will even show us how to pray in a way that He can bring about the answer that will accomplish His purposes.
Action Step: Begin today with the most basic prayer of all: “Lord, make me a person of prayer.” Pray this every day.
–Dave Butts is the president of Harvest Prayer Ministries and the author and co-author of many articles and more than 10 books, including Prayer, Peace and the Presence of God.