What if I suggested that you could learn to pray like Jesus prayed? What if I told you that you may already know the secret but you just don’t realise you know it? What if you had at your disposal the blueprint for the foundations of every great prayer?
Over the next four weeks, we’re going to use a simple template to unlock the incredible prayers that are already within you, just waiting to be prayed. We’re going to look at the most well-known prayer in the world, often called “The Lord’s Prayer”, and we’re going to rediscover for ourselves how Jesus really taught us to pray. Today we looked at the eleventh chapter of an account of the life of Jesus written by Luke, one of his early disciples who wrote two of books in our Bible.
Picture the scene- Jesus is praying and his disciples overhear him and start saying to one another, “We gotta learn how to pray fancy like that! He’s got all of the words in all the right order!” Then picture them asking him to teach them and Jesus saying, “Okay, pray like this”. They probably got excited, thinking, “YES! Give us the fancy words, tell us the formula, give us the template to success!”
Then Jesus says, “Father”. And his disciples were like, “Wait…what?!” That’s not a fancy word. Shouldn’t we address God as “Your excellency” or something? “Sir Lord Majesty” perhaps?
Great Prayers begin with an awareness of who you are speaking to and why
Jesus taught his disciples to rediscover intimacy in prayer. Our Father in heaven not a distant disinterested creator of life- He’s a father to us! He didn’t just create us, he has sustained us and cared for us our whole lives. It’s vital that we pray with an awareness of God’s intimate care for us so that can approach him with confidence and say what’s on our heart without fear.
Yet Jesus also wanted his disciples to rediscover reverence in prayer. “Hallowed be thy name” means “May your name always be treated as sacred and may we always address you with respect.” God commands his children to show respect and deference to their earthly fathers because we must practice this in order to relate well to God.
Jesus wanted his disciples to rediscover the purpose of Prayer. “Hallowed be your name, Your kingdom come” immediately reminds us that our Father is to be revered because He is also our King. And you don’t enter into a conversation with a king in order to try and get them to do your will. You are not the king. You are there to hear what he says and do what he wants you to do. And if the king is your Father, then you have extra incentive to want to please him because you love him!
Jesus reminds his disciples that they are on a mission with the King to restore his rule here on earth. Prayer is not about their agenda, it’s about God’s plans and purposes in the here and now and how we can align ourselves with him.
Great prayers hold in tension our intimacy with God and our reverence for him. They remind us that the purpose of our prayers is not to direct God to do something for us but to relate to him and seek his will so as to love him more and serve him better. When our motive for prayer is seeking God because of who he is to us and to hear what he desires from us and for us, then we’re ready to begin praying.
Getting Started: • Intimacy- Approach God confidently as your father • Reverence- Be respectful towards him as your king • Purpose- Remember to seek his kingdom and his glory first and foremost
Questions for reflection and small group study
- How do you feel when you approach God in prayer?
- Why do you feel that way?
- What does the fatherhood of God mean for you?
- How might we show reverence and respect towards our heavenly father when we pray?
- How do we hear God’s voice guiding us when we pray?
- What do you normally pray about?
- How does what you normally pray about relate to God’s kingdom coming on earth and his will being done here, in your life and in the lives of others you interact with?
- What have you learned about the Lord’s prayer that could help you pray according to the template Jesus gave but do so using your own words and circumstances?