There has been so much writing, teaching, and preaching on the topic of prayer over the years and centuries. It would seem there is not much left to discuss concerning prayer, leastwise anything new, original, and not plagiarized. Who am I to write about prayer when it was Jesus who taught us how to pray (Matthew 6:9-13)? Then I looked in Luke 11:1-4, which is Luke’s rendition and recollection of the time Jesus taught them how to pray.
The scene in Luke 11:1 stopped me in my tracks. I was reading through the verses sort of fast, so by the time my eyes stopped, I had to back up a bit. Yes, there it was, the reason why Jesus taught the disciples how to pray. I never saw this before! Oh my, there is something new, at least for me.
The setup for this teachable moment was something so simple it is overlooked. The disciples asked Jesus to teach them. They asked! That is something to think about. James said we have not because we ask not. Do you want to have a more effective prayer life? Have you asked the teacher, Jesus? We have access to the one who spoke to the Father in perfect communion. Jesus would be a qualified teacher. However, that is not the main point I wanted to make. What set up the request, “teach us to pray?” The answer is also in the first verse.
Luke 11:1 It happened that while Jesus was praying in a certain place, and after He finished, one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray just as John also taught his disciples.”
Let me paint a picture at this point. Jesus is praying in a certain place. Is He kneeling with hands folded, sitting on a rock with His head resting in His hands, or standing with His arms stretched out to heaven? I wonder, is He was praying out loud or to himself? Whatever position Jesus was praying in, His disciples were watching Him pray! They watched intently until he was finished and then asked, “Will you teach us to pray?” Will you teach us like John taught his disciples?
I am reminded of an old saying, “watch and learn.” The power of example is the most powerful teaching tool we have. Has anyone caught me praying and asked, teach me to pray like you do?
I have the honor and delight to be with a group of young men on Saturdays. They watch, then ask, “Will you show me how to do that?” That is it, the power of example, of influence, caught in the act of praying. Daniel was caught in the act of praying, spent the night with the lions, and in the morning the King declares, “We will serve the God of Daniel.”
Praying is action. Praying is a conversation with the God of Moses. The same God who made Mt. Sinai shake to its foundation, enveloped in fire and smoke. The same God who wrote the Ten Commandments on stone with the tip of His finger. That same God, in the form of fully human man, the disciples caught praying and asked, teach us to pray.
Yes, God, teach us to pray, worship, and be an example to others.