Full text of HeartCry founder Paul Washer’s sermon titled “Pray and Be Alone With God” which was delivered at HeartCry 2006 Conference.
Listen to the MP3 Audio here:
Paul Washer – Founder, HeartCry
Let’s open up our Bibles to Luke 11.
Luke 11:1. “It happened that while Jesus was praying in a certain place, after He had finished, one of His disciples said to Him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, just as John also taught his disciples.’”
I want us to notice some things that are very, very important here. I believe with all my heart it was a fearful thing to watch Jesus pray. That it was an awesome event, higher than any other thing He did, because if you notice here, it says “It happened that while Jesus was praying in a certain place, after He had finished.” No one dared touch that ark.
When He was bowed on His knees, when He was calling out to His Father it was like no other thing anyone had ever seen on the face of the earth. And then it goes and it says, “One of His disciples said to Him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray.’”
Now, I find this a most amazing statement and I find it a statement that is very, very overlooked among those who study this text.
If you’ll notice something very, very important. A disciple never came to Jesus and said, “teach us to preach.” A disciple never came to Jesus and said, “teach us to walk on water.” A disciple never came to Jesus and said, “teach us to raise the dead.” A disciple never came to Jesus and said, “teach us to cast out demons.”
Now, if you were to want to know how to play basketball, you probably wouldn’t come to me because I know so little about basketball. You would try to find out what my expertise truly was and then you would ask me about that. You ask a man about his expertise. You ask a man about the thing which most impresses you about that man.
I believe that without a doubt the greatest demonstration of divine power was seen not when Jesus Christ raised the dead, and not when He walked on water, but when He prayed.
And I believe that when the disciples saw Jesus pray, they could not believe their eyes. They could not believe even what their ears were telling them. Jesus was a man of prayer. A man of prayer.
Now, let me ask you a question: When people hear you pray, do they hear someone who knows God? Do they hear the rhythm of a religion? Do they hear words that have been taught to you by other men? Do they hear form? Do they hear intellect? Or do they hear a man or a woman or a child who spends much time in the presence of God?
Has anyone ever come to you and said, “teach me to preach like you preach”? Well, that may be something to boast about, but not before God. Has anyone ever come to you and said, “teach me to administrate like you administrate”? Has anyone ever come to you and said, “teach me to pray”?
I am not much of a man, but I have had the privilege in my life to be in the presence of many men used by God. And the one thing that I noticed, they had very little in common except one thing: when they bowed their knee, something unusual happened. There’s a saying, when someone achieves a certain thing, he may look over and with a twinkle in his eye, say, “you can’t learn that.” “You’ve got to be born with that.”
You can’t fake prayer. Jesus was a man of prayer and when He prayed, people saw the difference.
Now, I want to look for a moment at the idea that Jesus was a man of prayer. And I’ve just scribbled down here a bunch of verses, and I’m going to kind read a hodge-podge of verses that you might come to understand the importance of prayer in the life of Jesus Christ. And then come to understand that if prayer was so important to the Incarnate Son of the Living God, then how much more important should prayer be to us? How much more should we depend upon prayer?
Jesus lived a life of prayer. That’s the first thing I want you to see.
In Luke 5:16: it says that, “Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray.”
Do you know oftentimes, when we find something that we greatly enjoy, as opposed to what we grudgingly must do, we try to slip away to it. A man might want to avoid his yard duty by slipping away to watch a ballgame. A man may come into work early so he can slip away to go hunting. A wife may want to slip away to go to the mall. They slip away to the things that they most enjoy.
Isn’t it a crime that Jesus Christ and the labor of the kingdom seems almost to be work that we want to slip away from? I heard tell of a story of an evangelist. He got off the plane and he was received by the pastors, and immediately they took him out to play golf. I don’t have much of a problem with that. I’ve never played golf myself. But they took him out to the golf course and that’s a fine thing. I guess they saw that he needed to rest, and as they were going out there across whatever you cross to do whatever you do when you play golf, the evangelist just happened to mention, he said, “Well, you know, the Lord is so good. The other day, He was just…”
And the preacher stopped him and says, “Let’s not talk shop out here. This is the place where we’re going to rest.” The only place you’ll ever rest is in Jesus Christ.
And you know, when you’re walking with God. When? When you slip away to Him. When you say there’s so much I have to do. So much grudging work, so much labor, I just wish that I could slip away to Him for a moment because He’s the One to whom I escape. He’s the place I rest.
When prayer becomes a labor, we’re not like the Christ. We’re not like Jesus. It says He would slip away into the wilderness and pray. Notice, He would go into the wilderness.
My friend, the world, even the church is just so filled up with noise. So filled up with noise that every once in awhile, especially those of you who are pastors, you have got to slip away and you’ve got to go to a wilderness where no one can find you and seek your God. And be very careful that sometimes you don’t take along all those books with you. Because to many, Jesus Christ can just become proper exegesis, proper hermeneutic, a thing to be studied, instead of a Person to be loved.
Jesus would slip away. In Matthew 14:23, it says, “After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray, and when it was evening, He was there alone.”