Lord, Teach Me How to Pray

by Meagan Mankin

The statistics do not fall on deaf ears:

 - It is estimated that 27 million people worldwide are slaves.

 -  An estimated 293,000 American youths currently are at risk of becoming victims of commercial sexual exploitation.

 - The average age at which girls first become victims of prostitution is 12 to 14. [i]

And the list goes on and on.

My heart aches for our men, women, and children—or rather our brothers, sisters, daughters and sons—caught up in this industry. The issue is massive. It is one of the biggest strongholds over our city, nation, and world and is engrained in a culture of lust, greed, and poverty. Yet, I am convinced that while this problem seems impossibly big, our God is still bigger.

My request becomes simply this: Lord, teach me how to pray.

As believers, prayer cannot be an “option” or a “backup,” and instead it must be our first line of offense. Unfortunately, if my prayers were manuscripted for the world to see, I’m not so sure they would convince you that with prayer comes great power. Instead, my prayers so often are half-hearted and appear tossed up into the wind in hopes that one might grab the ear of my Father in heaven. 

Lord, teach me how to pray.

Continuously throughout the bible, the prayers of the Lord’s people are catalysts for change. Joshua prayed for the sun to stand still, and the Lord honored his request (Joshua 10:12). Elizabeth prayed for a child, and gave birth far past her “child bearing years” (Luke 1:13). Moses’s intercession turned away God’s wrath from His people (Exodus 32:7-14) and Hezekiah’s prayers extended his own life (Isaiah 38:1-5). The Lord allows prayer to move the Maker’s hand.

Andrew Murray captures my heart in all of this:

Though in its beginnings prayer is so simple that the feeble child can pray, yet it is at the same time the highest and holiest work to which a man can rise. It is fellowship with the Unseen and the Most Holy One. The powers of the eternal word have been placed at its disposal. It is the very essence of true religion, the channel of all blessings, the secret of power and life. Not only for ourselves, but for others, for the Church, for the world it is to prayer that God has given the right to take hold of Him and His strength. [ii]

Lord, teach me how to pray.

I want to pray boldly and expectantly, knowing that God delights in the prayers of his people (Proverbs 15:8).

Lord, teach me how to pray.

I pray for the victims of trafficking, both the women in captivity and the men enslaved to lust. I pray for freedom and justice, knowing that “the Lord works righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed” (Psalm 103:6). I pray for salvations to happen today, in the name of Jesus, at brothels and strip clubs across our city and world. I pray for the church to unite against injustice and for awareness to be brought to our city. I pray for hearts to break in our church and in our world, and that the Lord would “look upon their threats and grant to [his] servants to continue to speak [his] word with all boldness while [He] stretches out [his] hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of [His] holy servant, Jesus” (Acts 4:29-30).

Lord, teach us how to pray.


[i] Statistics found from http://www.fbi.gov/stats-services/publications/law-enforcement-bulletin/march_2011/human_sex_trafficking

[ii] From Andrew Murray’s work, Lord, Teach Us to Pray.

[iii]  All Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.