Prayer

Once Jesus was in a certain place praying. As he finished, one of his disciples came to him and said, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”     Luke 11:1 (NLT)

The Lord’s Prayer. Much has been written about it. Many worship services always include it. It is what Matthew (6:9) and Luke (11:2) recorded in their gospels while Mark and John did not. For some of us, we may have grown up thinking that this is THE prayer, after all the two gospels that record the prayer also lead into it with Jesus said, “And when you pray, say this:…” But Jesus is noted many more times throughout the gospels as praying.

John 17 is a rather long prayer that Jesus spoke just before His death. While John may have been more like Paul and thought “Why use five words when twenty-five are nicer?” we cannot discount the beauty of many of John’s passages. John 17 has always been an example to me of the intimacy of Jesus’ prayers that encourage me to be real with my LORD and not worry about the “right” words or “holy” words.

In all the gospels, Jesus is noted to go up on mountains or “withdraw” to pray. I cannot imagine the intensity of His life in those three years as He poured Himself into twelve men and the hundreds more who would come to listen or be healed or want something from Him. In Jesus’ humanity I do not think the word ‘overwhelm’ would cover it! And so I have an example of how to cope with such feelings in my own life. Prayer, the LORD’s way.

In Matthew’s gospel, this prayer is part of what I know as that very intense Sermon on the Mount. And Matthew puts the prayer to follow Jesus’ note that we should not publicly proclaim ourselves as righteous by “See what I’m doing!” but instead go quietly and privately so that only God knows. And this prayer that Jesus offers is followed by His pointed words about forgiveness and fasting and how we should look to our eternal treasure. This spoke to me about how prayer is certainly for my benefit to learn and grow as God’s child.

In Luke’s gospel, Jesus instructs His disciple in prayer following His teaching to Martha and Mary about work and deeds vs. worship. God knows the weakness of our flesh. It is comfortable to have a prayer form we can point to and know that if we say what Jesus told us to say in prayer then it will be right. But then this prayer is followed with Jesus’ assurance that if I ask – it will be given and that my Father is good. In that ask and given, I might be confused that I don’t get everything that I request. But remember, a good parent doesn’t give their child everything they ask because the parent has a perspective that the child does not have.

Today may be a difficult day with disappointments, hardships, and even tragedies. It could be a day of unexpected blessings, ease in my step and great rejoicing. Whatever the day is, it will always, always be better when it includes prayer. I’m not going to give Jesus a quick text or short email prayer today. It’s going to be pull up a chair, pour a cup of tea and have a conversation prayer.

This song, Still, is going into my Favorite file. Thank You, LORD, for showing it to me today.

Still from Hillsong United

 

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