Summary: Jesus shows us how to pray
22. Who is Jesus?
January 30th, 2010
The Lord’s Prayer
We are in Luke 11:1 this morning. As we investigate the life of Jesus our goal is to learn how to be like Him. We have seen Jesus traveling around teaching, healing people, casting demons, and performing various other miracles. That is not all Jesus has been doing. Jesus didn’t just spend time with people. He spent time with God. Jesus spent a lot of time in prayer. He would pray during His teaching and people got to witness how Jesus communicated to God. There is just something about the way that Jesus prays that cannot be ignored. He has this dynamic intimacy with God and His prayers are powerful.
When these crowds see how well Jesus communicates with God they want to learn how to do that. So they ask Jesus to teach them how to pray. This is not the first time this request has been made. Jesus taught about prayer in when He was in Galilee now He is in Judea. He has a new audience who are wrestling with the same issue.
We often struggle with prayer. We don’t always get it, we don’t know if we are doing it right. A lot of us have no idea how to pray. We close our eyes and babble something. We can repeat words we have heard in church but we don’t really know how to pray to God from our hearts. We struggle with prayer. The people in Jesus day did too. We are not born knowing how to pray. Prayer is a skill that has to be learned over time. It doesn’t come naturally and we never stop learning. It’s like married couples. You don’t always know how to communicate things but as you spend more time together and get closer to each other you learn. You are never finished though. So if you don’t feel comfortable or don’t know if you are doing it right don’t be embarrassed. No one prays as well or as often as they should. Learning to pray like Jesus is a process, don’t feel guilty that you don’t instinctively know how, but let’s take this opportunity to learn and to grow together so as a community our prayers will be more like the prayers of Jesus.
Lk 11:1 One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”
This whole conversation is sparked by the fact that Jesus is praying. Step one: do it. Praying like communication has to start somewhere. It may be weird and uncomfortable at first like talking to someone you are interested in for the first time: “So…God…you come here often? What are your likes, your dislikes? Tell me your life story.” Well that could take awhile. Prayer is not always smooth and eloquent, just real.
When people see Jesus pray they are inspired to learn how to do it the way He does. If you want to be great at something, you find someone who is great at it, you have them teach you, and you practice a lot. It was not uncommon for rabbi’s to teach their students to pray by sharing with them their own methods and focuses. John the Baptist did this for his followers and now the crowds are asking Jesus to do the same. His prayers are powerful so people want to learn to pray from the master.
Jesus models prayer for His disciples. One of the best ways to learn to pray is to listen to other people pray. When I was growing up we prayed every night. I didn’t really understand why or what I was supposed to be doing. I didn’t know how to pray from my heart. My parents prayed and then my sister and I would and in hearing them pray we would imitate their prayers and then eventually we learned to pray on our own. If you have kids or grandkids, sit down with them and pray so that they can learn how to pray by following your example.
One key aspect to Jesus prayers is that they were reflective of a greater intimacy with God than any other prayer these people would have heard. The Jews did think of God like a Father but they would rarely address Him as ‘Abba. ’ Abba is a term of endearment used within the family circle which means something between Father and Daddy. It simultaneously communicates reverence and intimacy. Jesus is opening up a whole new level of intimacy in which people can approach God not just as a powerful God and king but as a personal Father. For some of us this image has been ruined by our earthy fathers. Some of you have grown up with harsh, cruel, abusive, or just cowardly, and negligent fathers and so this doesn’t resonate with you the way it should.