Tag Archives: Luke

The Lord’s Prayer #5 – Seeking God and his Kingdom First.

We are now going to start looking at The Lord’s Prayer in greater detail. Initially we are going to look at it in two halves, as the focus of each half is obvious.

Our Father in heaven,
     hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
     on earth as it is in heaven. 
(Matthew 6:9-10 NRSV)

Who is the focus of this half of The Lord’s Prayer?

It should be obvious, but here are a few clues.  We read ‘our’ only once, but ‘your’ three times, and in fact these are all referring to the same person, to God, as God is ‘Our Father’.  It is God who is ‘in heaven’, and it is his ‘kingdom’ and ‘will’ that we want to see ‘on earth as it is in heaven’.

Now this is how Jesus structured his prayers, yet this is the antithesis of so much prayer that takes place today.  Jesus had got his priorities right, it was about his Father first of all.  Elsewhere Jesus says ‘Very truly, I tell you, the Son can do nothing on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, the Son does likewise.’ (John 5:19 NRSV).  This shows that he taught others how he prayed himself.

Jesus prayed for and sought what his Father wanted before what he wanted.  The ultimate expression of this is when he prayed in the garden of Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives on the night he was betrayed.  Here Jesus prayed, ‘Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet, not my will but yours be done.’ (Luke 22:42 NRSV).  This was no nice prayer, it was so deep and painful a prayer that, ‘In his anguish he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down on the ground.’ (Luke 22:44 NRSV).  This prayer cost Jesus everything, because he wanted his Father’s will before his own, and if we really grasp this then we will realise that he is asking nothing less of us!

If we, like Jesus, get our priorities right then we will have our prayer revolutionised!  When we start seeing that God’s needs (God is sovereign and could easily work without us; but he chooses to work in, with and through us so needs us to work with him) come first, then we change how we pray, and that in turn changes us.

This is one of the reasons why Jesus had so much power, that he sought to do his Father’s will not his own, the second was that he was filled with the Holy Spirit and did all things through his anointing.  If we want to truly walk as Jesus walked then we need to start getting things in the right order.  It is not that our needs are unimportant, but Jesus says we should ‘strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.’ (Matthew 6:33 NRSV).

Who comes first in your prayers, is it God or you?  Are you really prepared to follow Jesus example and pay the price in prayer?  Do you want to see God working in mighty ways?  Do you want it badly enough to ‘strive’ for it?  What do you think?

The Lord’s Prayer #1 – ‘Lord, teach us to pray’

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!