Learning how to pray from the Lord Himself
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.” Jesus said, “This is how you should pray: “Father, may your name be kept holy. May your Kingdom come soon. Give us each day the food we need, and forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. And don’t let us yield to temptation. Luke 11:1-4
The disciples saw Jesus’ example coming to a certain place praying. They realized if Christ finds it important to pray, the more they need to pray. They saw how John’s disciples learned from John and so as Christ’s disciples, they wanted to learn from Him. So when they asked Him to teach them how to pray, He gave them a pattern and it begins with recognition as to the One to whom prayer is offered. It is possible that we pray and never have really gone through thinking as to the One to whom we are praying to. Usually, our prayer is offered because we have a pressing need that we want God to provide for us. God knowing what is in the hearts of men, He provided a model on prayer. The prayer Jesus taught will be the heart of all prayers. Any other prayer should be the application or reflection of this model prayer. The prayer begins with a direct address to the Father. It is based on a relationship and a realization that the One being prayed to is sovereign over one’s life. The prayer offered resembles close relationship between the Father and His child. As we pray, we need to recognize God’s holiness. His holy nature should be realized by the world as He ushers in His kingdom. The revelation of His kingdom is partial right now but there will come a time that it will be fully revealed. So our prayer is offered in recognition that we are taking part in ushering His kingdom by living out God’s life through us that our reverential awe to God will be seen by others. Prayer is not about an emergency parachute that needs to be pulled out because everything else has failed. It is about looking at the big picture wherein the world will recognize His lordship and His kingdom. The prayer also includes bringing to God our personal needs. Asking God for our needs expresses dependence on God. But the prayer is not individualistic and selfish but an intimate request made as part of a worshiping community. Then the prayer deals with anything that can separate us from Him. This is why we ask Him to take away our sins and ask Him to forgive us. But forgiveness is not just on God’s side but also on our part when someone wronged us. When our mind is focused on God’s kingdom, the love we received from God is also the love that will motivate us to be right with others. God’s forgiveness transforms us so we can focus on godliness and not on worldliness. God is the only one that can lead us away to temptations so we could keep a strong intimate relationship with Him.
Noel De Guzman