When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, He didn’t teach them about prayer, but instead gave them a prayer to start praying.
One of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.”Luke 11:1-4
And he said to them, “When you pray, say:
“Father, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread,
and forgive us our sins,
for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
And lead us not into temptation.”
Ever since the new birth, believers instinctively know how to pray, and at the same time most of us still feel somewhat uncomfortable if we would be asked to pray with other believers. This is where Jesus’s teaching on how to pray is very helpful.
You learn to pray by being around prayer. When you listen attentively and echo a hushed ‘Amen’ during the public prayers of the various worship leaders during Church services, when you attend every prayer meeting simply to listen to the prayers of the saints, when you are quick to be around pray-ers even if you won’t pray out loud, that is when you learn to pray.
The one thing that you will learn from the prayers of the mature, is that their prayers are not defined primarily carefully crafted words, or lengthy lists of items. Instead, like even the initial prayer of repentance, prayer is the pouring out of one’s heart before God. If it is on your heart, then it ought to be in your prayers (Ps 62:8).
If you worry about it, then you ought to put it in your prayers (Phil 4:6).
If you are distressed over something, then you ought to put it in your prayers ( 1 Sam 1:10).
If you have sinned, then you ought to uncover it in your prayers (Ps 32:5).
If you are experiencing God’s goodness, then you ought to recount it in your prayers (Ps 75:1).
If you are poor, needy, and oppressed, then you ought to mention it in your prayers (Ps 34:6).
The list is really endless. If there is something on your heart, then you ought to put it in you prayers. That is what you learn by being around the mature when they pray. One day the Lord will have one of his young children listening to your prayers and learning how to pray.