LORD, TEACH US TO PRAY
LORD , TEACH US TO PRAY
One day He was praying in a certain place. When He finished, one of His disciples said, "Master, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples." Luke 11:1. (The Message)
This was a strange request unless something significant lay behind it. What was it about the prayers of Jesus that caught the attention of His disciples? They were Jews who had been taught to pray the Jewish way from their mother's knees. There were prayers they prayed every day and there were prayers they prayed on every occasion. What's more, their prayers were 'Bible' prayers, making them more powerful than spontaneous prayers. They were praying God's word which meant that they were praying God's will.
But there was something different about Jesus' prayers. Did they link His prayer life and His public life, His powerful ministry and His miracles to the relationship He expressed with the Father through His prayers? How much of His praying did they actually hear? Sometimes Jesus prayed one-sentence prayers out loud as in, for example, His prayer in John 12:27,28, and the Father responded audibly.
Jesus answered them by teaching them a model prayer which enshrines all the principles of New Testament praying. In it He was taking them into a realm of prayer which was foreign to them because it opened to them the same privileged position of sonship which He enjoyed and which He had come to reveal in His incarnation.
Was this what they saw and wanted? There is no evidence that this moment added anything to them before His death and resurrection since they were the same quarelling, competitive and failing bunch that denied and abandoned Him in His hour of need. Nowhere in the gospels do I read of any of them engaging in prayer as He did.
It would take the life-changing event of His death and resurrection to move them from being spectators to becoming sons and learning that the same source of power was available to them through the Holy Spirit who had come to live in them at Pentecost, as He had promised.
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