“Lord, teach us to pray.” Lk 11:1
Overhearing Jesus pray moved one of His disciples to say, “Lord, teach us to pray.” It’s unlikely Jesus intended to teach them a rote prayer since He’d just said, “When you pray, don’t babble on and on as people of other religions do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again” (Mt 6:7 NLT). His answer was more than a sample formula-prayer. He was teaching them powerful, effective principles for praying. Let’s see how we can benefit from them. William Barkley said, “The Lord’s Prayer has two major parts: the first for God’s benefit, the second for ours. Honor the first part, and the second is guaranteed.” Part one begins with “Our Father.” It’s intended for His family, collectively as well as individually. He used the plural words “our…us…we” to indicate prayer is a cooperative exercise where we pray with and for each other, not just for and by ourselves. It also teaches us the power of agreeing together in prayer (See Mt 18:19). Before asking for anything we’re to acknowledge God’s fatherhood, because prayer is: (1) A matter of relationship. It’s the Father and His children in session; those who are redeemed through faith in the blood of His only begotten Son. That’s the welcome mat under your feet when you pray. It’s also: (2) A matter of submission. Jesus’ disciples understood that fatherhood meant headship and authority. Prayer isn’t an attempt to get God to agree with your will, it’s aligning yourself with His Word and will. He’s a promise-keeper, not an indulgent parent.
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