Teachings of Jesus on Discipleship
Lesson #5: Jesus Instructed His Disciples to Pray

  by: Bill Bratt         Email: info@icogsfg.org


A Christian is a person who is a disciple of Jesus Christ, who is our master, and His disciple must have a strong desire in spreading Jesusí teachings and His message of the gospel of the kingdom of God. A disciple must learn from the words and teachings of His master and from the example that his Master lives by.

One of the most important lessons that Jesus taught His disciples was how to pray. In order to be a good teacher, the teacher must be setting the right example. Jesus always set a perfect example and that included how He prayed.

Jesus was a man of Prayer

The gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John records many examples of Jesus praying.

How much time would you pray before making an important decision? Jesus had a very important decision to make. He had the duty of choosing twelve disciples who would be His companions for the following three years. Letís notice how much time He spent in prayer before He chose His twelve disciples: "Now it came to pass in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. {13} And when it was day, He called His disciples to Himself; and from them He chose twelve whom He also named apostles" (Luke 6:12-13).

Letís notice another example of Jesus praying. John the Baptist was in prison and had just been beheaded by Herod the tetrarch. Johnís disciples then came to Jesus and told Him what had happened. "When Jesus heard it, He departed from there by boat to a deserted place by Himself. But when the multitudes heard it, they followed Him on foot from the cities. {14} And when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick. {15} When it was evening, His disciples came to Him, saying, "This is a deserted place, and the hour is already late. Send the multitudes away, that they may go into the villages and buy themselves food." {16} But Jesus said to them, "They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat." {17} And they said to Him, "We have here only five loaves and two fish." {18} He said, "Bring them here to Me." {19} Then He commanded the multitudes to sit down on the grass. And He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed and broke and gave the loaves to the disciples; and the disciples gave to the multitudes. {20} So they all ate and were filled, and they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments that remained. {21} Now those who had eaten were about five thousand men, besides women and children" (Matthew 14:13-21).

Jesus blessed and broke the bread. To bless something is to gives thanks and praise to God. Jesus always put God first. As a result of Jesusí compassion and prayer a miracle occurred in which over five thousand people were fed. I am always amazed at this event because it shows how gracious Jesus was to the people. He wanted to feed His guests and not send them away hungry.

Jesus taught His disciples that prayer did not have to be long to be effective. The following example is about Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha. Lazarus had gotten sick and his sisters had sent word to Jesus that he was sick. Jesus on purpose lingered for two more days before leaving for Judea. When He arrived at Bethany Lazarus had been dead for four days. Now letís notice the prayer of Jesus: "Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, "Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. {42} "And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me." {43} Now when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, "Lazarus, come forth!" {44} And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with graveclothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, "Loose him, and let him go"" (John 11:41-44).

Notice that this was a public prayer and Jesus said that He said it for those who were present and watching this miracle take place.

Letís look at another example of the prayers of Jesus. The night before Jesus was crucified He was with His disciples. He knew that His crucifixion would happen soon and he was sorrowful and deeply distressed. "Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, "Sit here while I go and pray over there." {37} And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed. {38} Then He said to them, "My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me." {39} He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, "O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will." {40} Then He came to the disciples and found them asleep, and said to Peter, "What? Could you not watch with Me one hour? {41} "Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." {42} Again, a second time, He went away and prayed, saying, "O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done"" (Matthew 26:36-42).

The lesson that Jesus was teaching His disciples is recorded in verse 41: watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. We must avoid the temptation of sin. We must also avoid the temptation to sleep when we should be praying.

Lord Teach Us to Pray

"Now it came to pass, as He (Jesus) 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).

Jesus begins to teach the disciples about prayer. Jesus said: ""And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. {6} "But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. {7} "And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. {8} "Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him" (Matthew 6:5-8).

Jesus gave His disciples three warning lessons in regards to prayer:

1. Donít pray to be seen of men. This is a type of hypocrisy and vanity. God is impressed with a humble attitude and a contrite heart.

2. Go to a private place and shut the door. Prayer is personal and private between you and God.

3. Donít use vain repetitions. God is interested in quality prayer and not the quantity of many words and phrases.

In This Manner, Therefore, Pray

In Matthew 6:9 (NKJV) Jesus said "In this manner, therefore, pray:" We need to remember that Jesus did not pray this "model prayer" that he gave to His disciples. This "model prayer" is an outline or pattern that He gave to His disciples as a teaching tool for them to learn how to pray. Jesus did not say that these are the exact words that we should use and repeat over and over and over again. We should use this "model prayer" as an outline. Think about each phrase, then meditate and pray and expand upon each phrase.

Seven (7) Requests In This Model Prayer

It is interesting to notice that there are seven specific requests in Jesusí "model prayer" as listed in Matthew 6:9-13 (NKJV): "In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven,

1. Hallowed be Your name.

2. Your kingdom come.

3. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven.

4. Give us this day our daily bread.

5. And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors.

6 And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one.

7. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen."

Jesusí "model prayer" outline contains the vital keys to help you in your prayer life. Apply them daily. 

The Real Lordís Prayer  

The real Lordís Prayer is recorded in the entire chapter of John 17. This was during Jesusí last Passover after He had washed the disciplesí feet and He instituted the New Testament sacraments of the bread and the wine. In this prayer, Jesus prayed for Himself, His disciples, and all believers.

Ask, Seek and Knock

In the sermon on the mount, Jesus taught His disciples that they needed to be persistent in prayer by asking, seeking and knocking: Jesus said: "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. {8} "For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. {9} "Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? {10} "Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? {11} "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!" (Matthew 7:7-11).

The lesson we need to learn is to be persistent in prayer, for the Father knows how to give what is good to those who ask him.

Ask for Your Needs

Talk to God about your vocation, shelter, food, clothing, transportation, health, etc. God knows your needs, but He desires that you ask. "For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him" (Mat. 6:8).

If you donít ask then you may not receive what you need. James the brother of Jesus said: "Yet you do not have because you do not ask. {3} You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures" (James 4:2-3).

We have to be careful that we donít ask "amiss". A synonym for "amiss" is evil. We must not ask God to punish someone for any kind of an evil reason that we might have. God promises to supply your "needs" not your "wants".

You can definitely pray for your "wants" and if God supplies them then be thankful and grateful.

In Jesus Name

When we are praying and ready to finish our prayer, we say "In Jesus Name." Jesus told His disciples: "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. {13} "And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. {14} "If you ask anything in My name, I will do it" (John 14:13).

In Conclusion: Jesusí disciples learned many valuable lessons about prayer by seeing Jesus pray, hearing His prayers and asking Him to teach them to pray. We modern day disciples must learn these lessons by reading the scriptures and follow Jesusí example.

For more information on how to pray, pick the following link for our article: 
Lord, Teach Us To Pray


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