by Jeffrey W. Hamilton

The disciples once asked the Lord to teach them to pray (Luke 11:1-4). Jesus’ first response was to give them a sample prayer. We can learn much from this simple, yet eloquent prayer. First, notice that it is not a long prayer. Jesus made his points briefly and clearly. Second, notice the variety of topics covered in this brief prayer. It gives praise to God, the Father and Creator of our world. It states a desire that God’s will be accomplished. It asks for blessings from God in the form of supplying our daily necessities. Forgiveness of sins is requested while acknowledging that we too have responsibilities in this realm. Finally, it asks for aid in our battle against Satan and his temptations. Quite a list for such a few lines.

We can learn much about praying from the prayers of others. The Bible records a number of prayers. Hannah’s prayer in I Samuel 2:1-10 gives praise to God for giving her a son. Notice Solomon’s humble prayer in I Kings 3:5-9 when he first became king of Israel. Hezekiah gave a heartfelt prayer when the Assyrian army laid siege to his capital city (II Kings 19:15-19). Daniel prayed not just for his own sins, but for the sins of his nation – acknowledging the justice of God’s punishment of Israel (Daniel 9:4-19). Ezra, in embarrassment, also acknowledged the sins of his people after God allowed them to return to Jerusalem (Ezra 9:6-15)

Examine each of these prayers and see what you can learn from them.

For Further Study

Verses to Consider

  • Psalm 66:17-20
  • Proverbs 21:13
  • Matthew 6:5-8
  • Matthew 7:7-11
  • Matthew 23:14
  • Mark 11:22-26
  • Luke 18:1-8
  • Ephesians 6:18-20
  • Philippians 4:6
  • Colossians 1:9-12
  • I Thessalonians 5:17
  • James 1:5-8
  • James 4:1-3
  • James 5:13-18
  • I John 3:21-22
  • I John 5:14-15

Questions to Ponder

  1. What topics are covered in each prayer sited in the lesson?
    • Hannah -
    • Solomon -
    • Hezekiah -
    • Daniel -
    • Ezra -
  2. Is there a particular set form that prayer must follow?
  3. What makes a set of words a prayer?
  4. What is meant by pray without ceasing or pray all the time?
  5. Is there anything we should not pray about?
  6. Are all prayers answered?
  7. Can anyone pray and expect God to listen?
  8. If God knows everything, then why should we pray?
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