Pray without ceasing. (1 Thessalonians 5:17 NRSV)
Once when Jesus, Peter, James, and John returned from being away for a few days, they found the other disciples frustrated with their ineffectiveness. A father had brought a son who was in bondage to sickness and asked the disciples to heal the boy. They could not. When Jesus arrived on the scene the father turned immediately to him and Jesus healed the child. Then the disciples asked, "Why could we not help the child?" Jesus replied, "This kind of healing takes place only after much prayer" (Matthew 17:14-21).

Luke tells us that the disciples recognized their need. If they were going to be used of God to help people, then they must learn Jesus' secrets. Therefore, they found him praying and asked, "Lord, teach us to pray" (11: 2). Jesus gave his disciples a guide for prayer (Luke 2:2-4). That guide was not only good for them but is relevant for us today. We know it, of course, as the Lord's Prayer. Pray is important to our effectiveness in God's service.

Dear God, thank you for listening and teaching me through prayer. In Jesus name, Amen.

Ron Newhouse

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