Luke 11:1, “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.”
The disciples saw Jesus go alone and spend time in prayer countless times. Surely they saw Him pray more than any other single thing He did—more than teach or preach or heal the sick. It makes sense that they would ask Him how to do the thing He did best-pray. But, when they asked Jesus about prayer, they did NOT say, “We see you spending hours each week in prayer. We want the power You have. Please teach us how to pray to God as you pray to your very own Father.” No, it seems the disciples never ‘got it.’ Instead, they asked Jesus to teach them to pray “as John also taught his disciples.” Isn’t that an odd request? As if, they were missing out on something that others had? THEY had the presence of God with them, but they felt that other followers had something more than they did. Looking at Scripture, it seems absurd and embarrassing that they would ask Jesus to “be as good to them as” John was to his disciples.
Aren’t we often like the men who followed Jesus? We want to follow Christ. We will sacrifice to do so. But too often, we just don’t ‘get it.’ The Lord desires to teach us through His Word and His Spirit, but we are more interested in trying to be like other people and know what they know. Our focus is not always on Christ, but on other Christians. We all need to remember that Jesus is our desire and Christ-likeness is our goal.
- Go to the source. I thank God for books, magazines, articles and blogs by Christian authors! I have been challenged and convicted to seek Christ through the written word of some amazing men and women who serve the Lord. I encourage every woman to take time each week to read about the Christian life. BUT, this is never a substitute FOR the Bible! The Bible itself is the inspired, preserved Word of God. It is to be my daily source of spiritual nourishment and strength. The Holy Spirit is the best teacher, and the Bible is His textbook. Human understanding may be flawed, but the Scripture is perfect. Ladies, we need to be sure that we get our doctrine, our instruction, our comfort, our philosophies, and our commands straight from the Word of God. Know it. Read it. Memorize it. Study it. Meditate upon it. Let nothing take Its place of importance in our lives.
- Do not compare your blessings with others’ blessings. Social media can be a great tool. I enjoy keeping up with friends on Facebook. One down side to these sites can be the envy they can cause. It’s obvious that we can look at other people’s lives online and become jealous, wanting what they have. What is awkward and hard to admit, is that I have found myself, more than once, feeling envy at God’s blessings in someone else’s life. A friend may share an answer to prayer, or a praise, or a blessing. She is giving all the praise to God, and, in my black-slidden condition, I can ignore the blessing and envy her relationship with God! Have you ever been there? Jesus’ disciples did not want the presence of God in their lives and much as they wanted something they did not have. How ironic! They had Jesus! Yet, they were still jealous. Be careful of envy, even on a spiritual level.
- Beware of idolatry. When the disciples wanted Jesus to teach them ‘like John the Baptist,’ they were putting more importance on John than their Saviour. Was that John’s fault? No. It was not. It was the disciples’ fault for lifting him up in esteem more than Christ.
Oftentimes spiritual leaders are accused of encouraging their followers to idolize them, instead of pointing them to Jesus. This may be true on rare occasions, but much more often this fault belongs to the followers. It is human nature to give too much love and devotion to something or someone we can see, hear, touch, and perceive with the senses, than to give that devotion to an invisible God. Look at the Jews in the Old Testament. Always, always they were pulled from loving God and drawn to serving idols. Over and over and over again. We have that same human nature. We must be sure that nothing and no one takes the place of Jesus Christ as first in our hearts and minds. It is too easy to make our leaders an idol. They do not want to take the place of God in our lives any more than John the Baptist sought to be the example of teaching over the Master Teacher. He pointed all men to Christ. Yet, the disciples put him in too high of esteem in their minds. We must guard against this in our lives.
Be thankful for your pastor. Be grateful for the Godly women you hear on the radio, the authors you read, the evangelists, the public speakers, the Bible college professors, the Sunday school teachers. These people are all gifts of God in our lives, used by Him to point us to Christ. Simply be careful that none of these people take the place of Jesus in our affections and in our time spend compared to time spent alone, with our Heavenly Father, reading His Word, and in prayer, seeking His face.
Next week, I can’t wait to discuss the topic, “Are you brave enough to pray the Lord’s Prayer?” I believe it will be helpful. Have a great week, friends!