Luke 11:1 – Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.”
Luke 10:21-22 – In that same hour he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”
Mark 14:36 – And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”
1 Timothy 2:5 – For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus…
1 Thessalonians 5:17 – …pray without ceasing…
In Luke 11:1 the disciples say to Jesus, “Lord teach us to pray,” and Jesus responds in Luke 11:13, “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”.
Jesus’ answer to the request “Teach us to pray” is about receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit, because while Trinitarian prayer is directed to the Father it is empowered by the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit actually teaches us how to pray and Jesus himself prayed by the Spirit in Luke 10:21-22. This prayer of Jesus is described as “rejoicing in the Holy Spirit,” indicating that the Son’s prayer to the Father is conducted in the joyful power of the Holy Spirit. This is a beautiful description of worshipful prayer that shows us how the Spirit empowers us to pray.
In Mark 14:36, Jesus prays, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”
This prayer shows us both Jesus’ relational intimacy with God (calling him “Abba,” which means something akin to “Daddy”) and his submission to the Father’s authority and will. In this example we learn two things: prayer to the Father should always be respectful but need not be formal.
Some of us are just way too serious with our prayers. I don’t mean that prayer isn’t serious business. I just mean we can wrongly think that if we pray in certain ways and with certain speech, God will be more inclined to hear us. But God is our Abba Father, our Dad. He wants to hear us, to answer us, and to help us. He doesn’t require any more formalized rituals than any other loving daddy would.
I’m a dad of five kids. When wanting to go swimming, they don’t approach me, saying, “Dearest Father, I beseechest thou to swimmeth with me because of thine deep mercies.” They just say, “Dad, wanna swim?” They don’t have to hem and haw, don’t have to make a fifteen-minute speech, don’t have to be uptight. They know that I love them and that they have the freedom to ask me for things.
We also need to remember that prayer is not telling God something he doesn’t already know. You can’t surprise God! My kids often tell me things that I already know, but their telling me is about talking to me, about experiencing relational intimacy with me. It’s about the experience of me loving them, serving them, helping them, instructing them, caring for them. Conversation is key to all relationships.
When you have a problem or a concern, take it to the Father and talk about it with Him, just as Jesus did.
1 Timothy 2:5 informs us that “there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” So when we pray to the Father, we are praying by and in the power of the Spirit living in us, and we are praying through the power of Jesus Christ living for us.
As we seek to pray through the Son, we should seek to pray as the Son prayed. One thing we notice as we look through the Gospels for instances of Jesus praying is that he didn’t exactly devote a large amount of time to direct teaching on prayer. Rather, we find that Jesus’ direction on prayer is woven throughout his life and teaching. His prayers and his teachings on prayer are part of the fabric of his day-to-day life and ministry.
Jesus perfectly embodies the command of 1 Thessalonians 5:17: “pray without ceasing.” Praying without ceasing means we don’t have to put on our burlap Jedi robe, climb up a high mountain, get in the lotus position, drink decaf oolong tea, and say “om.” We don’t have to do that.
To pray like Jesus means living a prayerful life, where prayer is a constant and recurring habit like breathing, in our life lived in the Spirit. So we get out of bed and pray. We eat breakfast and pray. We get in the shower and pray. We get in the car and pray. We go to work and pray. We go shopping and pray. We study and pray. We clean out the garage and pray. Every day and in all facets of our day, we have the great privilege of getting to talk to our Father.
- Spend some time in prayer today, and before you do ask invite the Holy Spirit to help you learn how to pray to God as Father from your heart, thanking Jesus for interceding for you to bring your prayers to the Father.
- Think about a good father you know, and how they interact and converse with their child. What can you learn from them about conversing with your Father through prayer?
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