When it comes to carrying a good attitude into a class (including the class of prayer), nothing will help you more than seeing the value of the class. In my last post, I told you about a French class that I took in high school. Now let me tell you about another class from my days of academia.
In college, my major forced me to take an introductory class involving the application of computers. At that time, computers were just on the brink of taking over the world, and my college was wise to mandate a basic class in how to use them. But to a young man who was still equating the electronic typewriter with advanced technology, such a class seemed at best optional and at worst unnecessary. I just couldn’t see the class’s value.
So, as I had done with my high school French class, I went into that class with, shall we say, less than ideal enthusiasm. Since I had made it that far in life without relying (at least knowingly) upon computers, I figured that I could keep up that archaic pace. Little did I know that over the next few years computers would become standard operating equipment, just like telephones, televisions, and automobiles. I’m sure that when homes first began to be wired for electricity there were people who chaffed at the idea and couldn’t envision a home life void of lanterns and candles. Even though I didn’t realize it at the time, I wasn’t acting much differently as I sat in that computers class.
Perhaps you are guilty of a similar mindset in regards to learning to pray. You are asking yourself, “Since I’ve made it this far in my life without putting much emphasis on prayer, why start now?” At the risk of hurting your feelings, let me say that your attitude makes as much sense as my attitude toward that computers class. Whether you admit the
obvious or not, you need to learn how to pray. If you don’t, you will forevermore be out of step with the times God has for you. You’ll be using lanterns and candles while others are enjoying the power of electricity. You’ll be using an electronic typewriter while others are benefiting from desktop computers and laptops to do better and more prolific work. Yes, you learning how to pray inherently holds extreme value, regardless of whether or not you understand and appreciate that value.
Actually, though, I suspect that most people would readily agree to the value of a class on prayer. With the exceptions of atheists and agnostics, everybody would love to learn how to harness the power of prayer. But the problem is that relatively few people are willing to put in the work necessary to excel in a class on the subject. The fact is, in one very important way, learning how to pray is similar to learning how to speak French, operate computers, do long division, or read and write: it takes work.
This explains why the majority of people don’t truly know how to pray. They don’t know because they’ve never put in the work to excel in the class. Oh, they may have a good attitude about learning how to pray, and they may see the value in the assignment, but they aren’t willing to devote themselves to the task.
But let’s assume that you are willing to put in the work to learn how to pray. How, then, do you go about that work? Well, as in virtually any class, there is a textbook, a textbook that must be studied and learned. For a class on prayer, that textbook is the Bible. If you want to truly learn how to pray correctly and effectively, you must learn what the Bible teaches concerning prayer. You’ll not find the required information on the pages of Time, Newsweek, People, The National Enquirer, or the top selling piece of fiction from the New York Times bestseller list. If prayer is talking to God, then the Bible, which is God’s written word, must be the textbook for a class on prayer. That only makes sense.
So, are you ready for class to begin? If you are, then make today the day you start devoting deep Bible study to the topic of prayer. And don’t forget that you must go into the class with a good attitude, see the value of the class, and put in the work to excel in it. If you will do these three things, I promise you that nothing can stop you from learning how to pray. After all, the same Jesus who heard His disciples say, “Lord, teach us to pray,” stands ready to be your teacher as well.