When you hear “let’s pray”, what comes to mind?
Not this again!
Bring it on!
If you fall into one, two or all three of the categories above, or maybe your category is not mentioned, you’re not alone. Listen to this “One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”” Luke 11:1 (NIV) I wonder who said that and maybe it sounds like you and me.
Did you notice that the disciple who asked Jesus to teach them how to pray didn’t ask, ‘Lord what is prayer?’ And Jesus didn’t ask him if he knew what prayer was. Instead, he started teaching them from where they were.
Think about it! At what point do you find yourself when it comes to prayer? Are you at “how” like the one disciple, or where, what, why, when, with whom or maybe how often? No matter where you’re at, you can start from there. Better still, you can start from where Jesus did.
Jesus’ Teaching on Prayer
“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Pray then like this (Matthew 6:7-9 (NIV)):
Our Father in heaven,Matthew 6:9-13 (NKJV)
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
I don’t know about you, but I do wonder how the disciples might have felt during and after the lesson. Did they have further questions or were they satisfied with Jesus’ teaching? According to the book of Matthew, Jesus’ teaching went on for some time and sort of concluded at the end of Chapter 7:28-29. It reads,
And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.Matthew 7:28-29 (NKJV)
We can assume that the disciples were okay for the time being, because not long after the lesson had ended, Jesus shook his head and said, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” (Matthew 8:26, NKJV) So you can see that you’re not alone, we need to be reminded from time to time about prayer.
Jesus gave his disciples a template or sample prayer format to follow. So, when next you come across the word(s) prayer or let’s pray, I hope you won’t despair, get confused, or allow questions to cloud mind. When such thoughts begin to come, remember you’re not alone and pull out the prayer sample: The Lord’s Prayer.
Project: The prayer starts with “Our Father in heaven,” your task is to think about, query yourself and discover all over again who Our Father is. What does that mean to you, your family, neighbourhood, community, society and the world at large? Please, feel free to share your findings so we can all learn together.
Next time, we’ll look at the next sentence, “Hallowed be your name.” When we understand who Our Heavenly Father is and the implications, praying might become more interesting, practical and doable.
Until next time, take care.