Lord, Teach Us to Pray - Bob Sawvelle - Man praying as the sun rises in the mountains.


Lord, Teach Us to Pray

Over the next couple of weeks, I want to examine Jesus’ prayer life and what He taught the disciples about prayer. A confident prayer life gets answers to prayer! It is vital you and I learn the prayer principles Jesus taught. By the way, you can find more on this subject in my book, Our Eyes are On You: Principles to Prevail in Faith & Prayer.

Foremost, prayer is our pathway to commune with God, to dwell in the secret place with Him. My prayer is not to manipulate God. Rather, I pray as a son in right relationship to the Father, believing what He has said about me through Christ and what He has promised us as His disciples. Plainly stated, God tells us to pray, to ask of Him. But it flows out of ongoing relationship with the One we love and adore!

Consider that as you give yourself completely to God, confident faith develops. Faith is by His grace, but your participation with God allows the Spirit to strengthen your faith. As you faithfully follow Jesus, your faith grows, and your prayer becomes more confident. Faith and prayer are linked. God’s faith causes confident prayer.

Just as grace and faith are connected, so are faith and prayer. God extends grace that we can believe in Christ, the Spirit then empowers us to be people of faith who become people of prayer.

You have been given God’s faith, God’s Spirit, God’s promises, and God’s authority!  Expect impossible situations to change as you prevail in prayer. When you have God’s faith on a matter, you begin to pray and speak with a confidence that the promise is received now and is on its way.

Remember, the fullness of God dwells within you as a follower of Christ, therefore, as you commune with God, from your inner being, spirit to Spirit, know that God is at work in and through you to answer prayer and change situations. Consider that “we have been elevated to the life of God—completely untied with Him through the death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus…and…we are now participants of this life in God through the indwelling of the Spirit.” [1]

God does not want His people to succumb to fear, defeat, and failure!

God wants us to see results in prayer, just like we see people get answers to prayer in the Bible. Consider the following people:

Abraham and Sarah, in their old age believed God for Isaac, the son of promise. God miraculously touched Sarah’s womb so she could give birth to him (Gen. 21:2).

Jacob, desiring to be blessed by God, deceived his brother Esau. Years later, Jacob feared his brother would exact vengeance on him. Jacob spent all night in prayer, wrestling with God, and eventually prevailed with God, so God prevailed over Esau (Gen. 32-33). Proving that even the hardest heart can change through prayer and God’s supernatural touch!

Gideon, fearful of the Midianites, was unsure of God’s will. So, he asked God for a sign with a fleece. He asked for a sign that the fleece be wet, and the ground dry the first night. The second night, he asked God to let the fleece be dry and the ground wet. God answered his prayer. Assured of God’s will, Gideon confronted the Midianites, and with God’s supernatural help, won a victory and liberated the Israelites from a cruel oppressor (Jud. 6:36-40).

David sought God continually. He was a man of faith and courage. In every season of his life, God answered David’s prayers. He declared confidently in Psalm 23, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want!” Later, after an adulterous affair with Uriah’s wife Bathsheba, David cried out to God for mercy and forgiveness. He would later pen in Psalm 51, “Lord, give me a clean heart and renew a right spirit within me.” God answered his prayer. David’s life gives hope to each of us!

Solomon, David’s son from his eventual marriage to Bathsheba, became king over the greatest empire on earth. But he lacked something—God’s wisdom to lead the nation. God answered his prayer for wisdom, and he became the wisest man of his generation. God commended him for asking for wisdom and not riches or fame.

Later, King Hezekiah reigned. He was confronted by a great army from Assyria. He prayed and that night God sent an angel of the Lord to strike the invading force. By morning, 185,000 soldiers lay dead (2 Kings 19:15-35). A “suddenly” occurred, proving once again that God can do more in a moment with faith-filled prayer than in a lifetime of worry and fear of circumstances.

Soon after, Hezekiah became deathly ill. In the natural, there was no hope for his recovery. But Hezekiah turned his heart toward God and prayed. God answered, healed him, and gave him another 15 years to live (2 Kings 20:1-11)

Jabez, distressed by the conditions of society, cried out to God, And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, “Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!” So God granted him what he requested. (1 Chr. 4:10 NKJV) God answered his prayer, and people were impacted.

We read of Elijah and his stay with a widow. Her son became ill and died. Elijah prays that God would raise the son to life. We read of no previous dead raising in the Bible, there was no precedent for this. Yet, the prayer of Elijah caused the boy to revive (1 Kings 17:20-23). Jesus is always the resurrection and the life!

Jerusalem had been ransacked by the Babylonians in the days of King Nebuchadnezzar. The city laid waste for years. Daniel, one of the young men in exile, began to pray for Jerusalem’s restoration. He lived to see King Cyrus make a decree permitting all Jews who wanted to return, to do so and rebuild the city (Dan. 9).

I believe the Lord is saying we are living in a moment, similar in some respects to Daniel’s time, where that which seems desolate, forsaken, and impossible to be restored will be as we pray and not lose heart!

Habakkuk prayed for revival, “… Lord, revive Your work in the midst of the years! In the midst of the years make it known; In wrath remember mercy.” (Hab. 3:2 NKJV) Most historians believe his prayer was answered with the greatest and last revival that occurred in the history of the kingdom of Judah (2 Kings 23:21-25).

In Acts 12:3-11, we read how Peter was thrown into prison with the intent to execute him. But the Church prayed! The believers in Jerusalem prayed without ceasing for his release, and God sent an angel to the prison to free Peter and lead him to safety.

God continues to answer the prayers of His people in every unimaginable circumstance!

Whether it is for family, guidance, wisdom, provision, healing, or freedom from oppression—whatever your situation, God answers and supplies in response to believing prayer.

Jesus said, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. (Matt. 7:7-8 NIV)

What does this mean? It means that God’s supernatural, invisible power is working with us, able to work out every problem, anticipate every need, and supply whatever may be required. His power is so great, it can move mountains, impossible situations! As God is true, so is His promise. Your prayers can be answered too—take time to learn principles to answered prayer!

Lord, teach us to pray!

Let’s begin with what Jesus taught in the “Lord’s Prayer”

Now it came to pass, as He 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.” So, He said to them, “When you pray, say: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And do not lead us into temptation but deliver us from the evil one.” Luke 11:1-4 NKJV

“Praying in a certain place”

Jesus had entered a favorite location, Bethany. Mary, Martha, and Lazarus lived there. Jesus was probably in the garden behind Martha’s house. Jesus felt at home and relaxed here. For example, He spent the night in Bethany before His triumphal entry into Jerusalem.

We all have places like this. We refer to them as “prayer closets.” It’s important to establish a place, or places, where it is conducive to you establishing a consistent prayer life. It may be a room in your home, or perhaps you enjoy praying outside, maybe on the porch or taking a walk.

“Lord, teach us to pray.”

Disciples had witnessed Jesus’ supernatural lifestyle. But, teach us to pray, not teach us to heal or deliver oppressed? Why?

The disciples had watched Jesus as He healed the sick. They witnessed His miracle power to open the eyes of the blind and deaf. They observed Him cleanse a leper with the touch of His hand. His words calmed a stormy sea and raised the dead to life. How did He do these healings and miracles? What was the secret to such miracle power?

It was mysterious to them at first, but eventually the disciples learned His secret. Jesus had this power because He was a man of prayer!

The disciples watched Jesus pray and realized His prayer life was a component of His miracle-working power. Jesus was willing that they should learn how to pray and operate in greater works (John 14:12).

At the very onset of Jesus’ ministry, He spent 40 days in the wilderness fasting and praying and left the wilderness in power. Luke records:

Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness… Then Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and news of Him went out through all the surrounding region.” Luke 4:1, 14 NKJV

We often want the answer without the discipline. Prayer can be relaxed, free-flowing, and intimate with God. But prayer is also a time of disciplined communion with God. Through prayer, we enter a deeper understanding of the heart and will of God. Our prayer becomes empowered through our communion with God.

There are no shortcuts to spiritual vitality—it’s about abiding in Christ daily! Not out of duty, but from a place of love and desire to be with Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith! Prayer is essential for living a victorious Christian walk.

Join me next week as I continue this series, “Lord, teach us to pray!”


Bob Sawvelle Signature


For a deeper look at this topic, watch the Passion Church message “Lord, Teach Us to Pray”


[1] Bob Sawvelle, Receive Your Miracle Now: A Case for Healing Today (New Kensington, PA: Whitaker House, 2017), 182.



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