He [Jesus] was praying in a certain place , and after he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” Luke 11:1.
In this introductory post of this series on The Lord’s Prayer, or The Disciples’ Prayer as some would rather call it, I am looking a verse from how Luke introduces it in his gospel. For the rest of the time I will be using the prayer outline as it is given in Matthew’s gospel during the Sermon on the Mount.
The first thing that springs to mind is who asked Jesus to teach them to pray as the disciple who asked said, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples’. This says to me that the disciple who asked was one of the two of John’s disciples that Jesus had called. Why? Because he knew not only that John had taught his disciples to pray, but it would imply how he taught them to pray. One of the two was Andrew, Peter’s brother, and we don’t know who the other was (see John 1:35-42). Whoever it was, I’m glad they asked!
The second thing that stands out to me is that Jesus is basically repeating the prayer outline here that he taught on the Sermon on the Mount. We should not be surprised that Jesus taught things more than once! All really good teachers know that repetition is important in helping people to remember things. I am quite sure that Jesus taught things over and over again. Not because he needed to say them more than once, but because the disciples needed to hear them more than once!
The third thing I noticed is how Jesus taught about prayer. This is something I know for myself. You cannot lead others in prayer in ways that you do not pray yourself. Prayer cannot just be taught in a book or on paper, it must also be modelled. We see that here. Jesus had just been praying, with the disciples near enough to see him, if not hear him. It was only after this that one of the disciples asked him to teach them how to pray.
This is incredibly important. You and I can only learn to pray directly from Jesus in our own prayer times, and by watching and observing other Christians in prayer, either in their personal prayer times, or in corporate prayer. We can get ‘stuck’ in our own prayer lives, and in corporate prayer if we do not take this to heart. We will only grow and get ‘unstuck’ if we ask Jesus to teach us more about prayer which he will do either directly or through others.
The two disciples that had followed John the Baptist had got so far in their prayer lives from the teaching and discipleship they had received from him. The disciple who asked Jesus to teach them to pray saw that there was more to prayer that Jesus knew and modelled, and so wanted to learn more from him.
Do you want to grow in prayer? I know I do!
Why don’t you come on this journey with me, as I lead where Jesus has already led me! I want to hear your insights about prayer along the way, as I am sure that you will be able to teach me things from your own walk with the Lord. Let’s challenge and inspire each other, so that we can grow in our prayer lives.
Here’s to prayer, the greatest adventure!