When Jesus walked on earth, His disciples had a wonderful opportunity to learn from Him. They walked with Him. They heard Him teach. They saw Him perform miracles. They saw how He interacted with different people. They had the opportunity to ask Him questions and learn from Him. They could learn many wonderful lessons from Jesus, but they hit the nail on the head when they sought to learn of one thing in particular. Luke 11:1 says, “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 asked Jesus to teach them to pray. As E.M. Bounds said, “The most important lesson we can learn is how to pray.” We need to learn to share God’s Word with others. We need to learn to obey what God has said. We need to learn of God’s character and know God personally. All of those things are very important. But we also need to learn to pray.
Prayer does not come naturally to us. Very often we are independent and self-sufficient people. It is not easy for us to go and ask for help. We often struggle to go to God for help, and we often struggle to be consistent in prayer. So we need to learn to pray. We need to grow in prayer.
As much as we like to be independent, we need God’s help in our lives. In John 15:5, Jesus said, “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” Without Christ, we can do nothing. We need Christ. In order to follow and serve God effectively, we need Christ. We can try to make the greatest strategies in the world for serving God, but they will fail without God. We can try to accomplish great tasks for God, but they will fail without God. We need God, and the way to see God’s working in our lives is through prayer. We need to pray. When we pray, we can see God working. We can see God accomplishing His purposes. But when we pray and see God answer prayer, He also deserves the glory for what He has done.
In reality, God accomplishes His purposes through us; we do not accomplish them on our own. Prayer is one way that we acknowledge that, because prayer is when we acknowledge that we cannot complete the task on our own and that we need God. When Gideon was going to fight the Midianites, God said that he had too many men. God wanted to make irrefutably clear that He would bring the victory. Gideon and his army would not. When God gave the victory, God deserved the honor and glory for what He had done. So we need to learn to pray, seeking God’s help in our lives, and giving Him the glory He deserves when we see what He does.
Jesus said, “Without me ye can do nothing.” He meant what He said. One of the most important lessons we need to learn to life is to pray.