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Teach Us to Pray

Sometimes we need a good dose of trying circumstances to teach us to pray as we ought. When we are in times of plenty, it is easy to grow lazy in our faith. We start to coast and take God and his provision for granted. But when trouble or trials smack us in the gut—and we get the spiritual wind knocked out of us—well…now we start looking for God and his provision. We need his help…like yesterday. And we pray for his help. And his help always comes…like the Cavalry riding to the rescue in an old Western movie. Sometimes the help is deliverance from the trial.  Sometimes the help is strength and grace to pass through the trial—”My grace is sufficient for thee.”

Some of my fondest memories are the Lord providing for my needs in times of deep need.  I remember a time that I hitchhiked from Tacoma, WA to Langdon, ND shortly after I got out of the Army. I was broke…literally penniless.  The first night I slept on the cold concrete in an abandoned Highway Patrol station. When I woke up in the morning there was frost on the ground, and I was so stiff that I couldn’t stand up. I prayed that I would find better accommodations the next night. I did. God came through. I slept on a pile of cardboard between a restaurant and a dumpster. I even had a thick slab of cardboard for a blanket!

Food? After the first day my meager supplies were gone and I was hungry. It was either pray or go hungry. And pray I did. And God came through. The second evening I wandered in to a little cafe to warm up. A kindly truck driver bought me a hot meal.  The next morning, I rose from my cardboard bed, washed up with cold water from the spigot outside—even washed my hair—and changed into clean clothes. Then I started walking to warm up, and prayed that God would provide for me—the memories of being weak with hunger were still vivid.  Around noon a guy picked me up, drove me into town at the next exit, bought me a bag of fast food and a two liter bottle of soda, and then returned to the highway to speed us on our way. He dropped me off a couple hours later, and shortly after another gentlemen picked me up. Ultimately he drove two hours out of his way and dropped me off at the Idaho border. As I stepped out of his van he handed me two twenties and said, with a smile, “The Lord provides for his own.”  The  trip was one answered prayer after another. I was needy and prayed like a needy man.

Let this be a reminder for myself and a lesson to all of us.  We are all needy pilgrims journeying through a barren land. The world cannot meet our needs or sustain us on this journey. We either look to God for provision from heaven or we starve. When we pray like needy people, God moves on our behalf. And we are all far more needy than we realize. Can you imagine what kind of spiritual revolution we might have in our lives if we prayed for faith, holiness, and devotion like we pray for temporal needs? And we do need these things—now more than ever.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit.” (Matthew. 5:3)
“Blessed are you that hunger, for you shall be filled.” (Luke 6:21)

May you all hunger for and be filled with that joy that is only found in Jesus, the joy that the world cannot give and cannot take away.

“Eyes wide open, brain engaged, heart on fire.”

Lee W. Brainard

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