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The Need to be Taught

September 29, 2019 Speaker: Dr. Rick Gregory Series:

Topic: Prayer Verse: Luke 11:1–11:2

The Disciple’s Prayer

 “The Need to Be Taught”

Luke 11:1-2a


Theme: Don’t be discouraged by your prayer life, seek to learn from the Master.




I. The Portrait of Vibrancy in Prayer – 11:1a

A. The Expectation of Vibrant Prayer 

  • Prayer is elemental to the genuineness of faith in a person who knows and loves God.
  • As is true of any relationship, the quality of that relationship rides to a large degree upon the communication that occurs between the people in it.
  • Prayer is essentially defined as a redeemed child of God approaching their Heavenly Father in such a way as to display an honor to the Father by clearly communicating what is on their heart and mind.
  • Prayer is the full disclosure of the heart of the Christian – and ought to include worship, honor, glory, submission, deference, and the delight one takes in the Lord.
  • Prayer is not incidental in that it is merely segregated from all other activities as a singular event, but exists as a general way of life that is engaged in at all times.
  1. We are to “pray without ceasing” – 1 Thessalonians 5:17
  2. We are to “keep watching and praying” – Matthew 26:41
  3. We are commanded to “at all times they ought to pray” – Luke 18:1
  4. We are to be devoted to prayer – Romans 12:12
  5. We are to “pray at all times” – Ephesians 6:18
  6. We are to “devote [ourselves] to prayer” – Colossians 4:2
  7. We are “in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let [our] requests be made known to God – Philippians 4:6.
  • This is not something that is merely true of the NT saints but has been a constant expectation throughout Scripture – Psalm 65:2; Proverbs 15:8, 29.
  • We have demonstration of virtually all of the OT saints engaging in prayer – Abraham, Isaac, Moses, Hannah, David, Solomon, Elijah, Elisha, Hezekiah, Jonah, Ezra, Nehemiah and Daniel.
  • There are prayers recorded that are lengthy (1 Kings 8:22-53) and others that are brief (Nehemiah 2:4).

B. The Example of Vibrant Prayer

  • We have the ability to recognize that prayer saturated the entirety of our Lord’s earthly ministry – repeated viewed even within our book of Luke:
  1. He prayed at His baptism – Luke 3:21
  2. He prayed during His preaching – Luke 5:16
  3. He prayed before choosing the Twelve – Luke 6:12-13
  4. He prayed before Peter’s confession of Him – Luke 9:18
  5. He prayed at the Transfiguration – Luke 9:28-29
  6. He prayed after the return of the 70 – Luke 10:21
  7. He prayed for Peter – Luke 22:32, 41, 44
  8. He prayed with disciples on their way to Emmaus – Luke 24:30.
  9. He prayed at the Ascension – Luke 24:50-51.
  • Thus, as Luke advances the narrative of the training of the twelve by Jesus, we see Jesus praying – “It happened that while Jesus was praying in a certain place …”
  • “praying” [προσεύχομαι] – is a word that means “to come before or to” and shows a deliberate, intentional approach to God.
  • Jesus had distanced Himself from everyone as He drew close to the Heavenly Father, something that He instructed us to do as well – Matthew 6:6.
  • His prayers were fervent and effective – often filled with great emotion and passion – cp. Hebrews 5:7-9.


  1. What does a vibrant prayer life look like in your life? 
  2. What % of your prayers are private (you and God alone)? What does this tell you?
  3. If your spiritual life were to be based solely upon your prayer life, how healthy/sick would you be?

II. The Pursuit of Vibrancy in Prayer – 11:1b

A. The Recognition of Inadequacy in Prayer – “Lord, teach us to pray …”

  • As the disciples observed the vibrancy of Jesus’ prayers, they recognized that their own prayers were far less effective.
  • Often, disciples struggle with prayer because it requires the exercise of faith – thinking “If only I didn’t have to exercise faith but was able to see God when I talk to Him, it would be better.”
  • Yet, such a perspective is expecting to further one’s faith without having the exercise faith and that doesn’t work – cp. Hebrews 11:6.
  • Thus, they recognized their inadequacy in prayer and desire for Jesus to teach them – not “how” – but “to pray.”
  • This request likely didn’t come from the Twelve or he would have likely been named, but was perhaps one of the 70 He had sent out.
  • The request is that Jesus “teach” [δίδαξον] – a reference to “telling someone what they need to know or do”
  • It acknowledged the reality that their prayers had been laden by obligation, tradition, rote, and meaningless repetition – cp. Matthew 6:7.
  • When they saw what Jesus had and did, they wanted to be as devoted to prayer, as capable, as committed and thus they ask Him to teach them to pray.

B. The Request for Instruction in Prayer – “… just as John also taught his disciples.”

  • They then called attention to the disciples of John who were taught to pray by John the Baptist – cp. Luke 5:33
  • They saw the devotion that the Baptist’s disciples displayed and wanted to be mentored in prayers so that they could pray like Jesus even as the disciples of John began to pray like John.
  • “It is reasonable to assume that since John was not a part of the religious establishment, he had maintained a pure, uncorrupted approach to prayer in keeping with that of Old Testament saints.”
  • Even we recognize that we need help in prayer – perhaps as much as any other discipline within our Christian walk … it is the one area where we cannot “fake it.”
  • It is unfulfilling to have prayers that are empty, repetitive, and mechanical when it ought to be so spiritually charged that it is unlike anything that we’ve ever known.


  1. What does is the difference between being taught how to pray vs being taught to pray? 
  2. What would be the best change you can imagine in your prayer life? What would you have to do to make that change?
  3. Why (or why not) should you pray when your prayers feel mechanical, empty, and void to connection? What should you do when it is that way?

III. The Pattern for Vibrancy in Prayer – 11:2

A. The Anticipation of Prayer – “And He said to them, ‘When you pray …”

  • Jesus responds by clearly expressing the anticipation that those who follow Him will pray – “And He said to them, ‘When you pray …”
  • His response provides indication of what He expected of all of His disciples moving forward – permanent and universal instruction for all of us.
  • “When” [ὅταν] – conveys the idea of “whenever” or “at the time that …”
  • This response by Jesus does not dictate how often we are to come in prayer, merely that “when” we do, there are certain things that ought to be included that will enable you to pray effectively.
  • A “prayerless” saint is a disobedient saint – cp. Luke 18:1; 1 Thessalonians 5:17; James 4:17.

B. The Attitudes in Prayer – “… say …”

  • Jesus is not providing us a prayer to pray by rote – that would contradict the very problem that the disciples came to Jesus to avoid.
  • “Rabbinic disciples were known to request renowned rabbis to teach them prayers that would characterize and differentiate them from other rabbinic schools.”
  • This is not something Jesus would endorse since His entire condemnation of the religious establishment is their external, rote, meaningless exercise of religion.
  • Hence, Jesus does not mean by “say” that they were to repeat these words verbatim but that they were to include the following attitudes or emphases:


Vertical Requests

“Loving God through Praise”


Expressions of Love & Relationship with God’s passion

Hallowed be Your name

Expressions of adoration and worship – God’s praise

Your Kingdom come

Expressions of submission to God’s purposes

Horizontal Requests

“Loving Neighbor as Yourself”

Give us each day our daily bread

Expressions of dependency on God’s provision

And forgive us our sins for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us

Expression of compassion and mercy toward others based on God’s propitiation & pardon

And lead us not into temptation

Expressions of humility and vulnerability requiring God’s protection



  1. What is a top reason why we pray?
  2. In what way does prayer who love to and for God?
  3. Why is simply repeating the Lord’s prayer a dangerous way to pray? Do you ever fall into such repetitious praying?  



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