Friday, July 22 2022
Lord, Teach us to Pray.
This week, as we continue to journey towards Jerusalem with Jesus, one of his disciples, who must have been deeply schooled in prayer from his Jewish roots, now asks Jesus to teach all of the disciples how to pray. Such an intriguing question. One can easily assume that this disciple would have attended services in the synagogue and Temple from childhood. As such, he would have prayed three times each day, morning, afternoon, and evening and would also have been familiar with the spontaneous prayer of blessings. Moses had often reminded the Israelites not to forget the Lord their God in Deuteronomy 8: 10-11: “When you have eaten and are satisfied, you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land which He has given you. Beware that you do not forget the Lord your God…”Always remember to give thanks to God who is the source of every good thing.
What does this disciple see in Jesus that begs the question: Lord teach us to pray?
The Gospel of Luke has more references to prayer than any of the other Gospels. In fact, in a commentary by Alfred Plummer, it is referenced as “the Gospel of Prayer.” As he makes his way to Jerusalem, teaching, and preaching, it becomes quite obvious just how often Jesus takes time for prayer. The disciples finally notice and have now realized that perhaps Jesus might have something unique to teach them about prayer and its importance in their lives going forward. In fact, Luke helps to pave the way for a foundation of constant communion with God in prayer, which may not have been intuitive for the disciples.
Every Sunday, we come together to pray as a community of believers. Corporate prayer is so powerful! But many of us, like the disciples, feel a certain inadequacy when it comes to our own prayer life. “What are the words I need to say?” or “What if I ask God for something and I do not receive it? Is my faith weak?” or “I’m not sure that I am hearing God.”
So, this Sunday, Jesus has offered us a model for prayer as he teaches the famous prayer that has, over time, been labeled The Lord’s Prayer. He invites each of us into a deeply personal relationship with God and urges us to call upon God – even using the more familiar and intimate name for God: Abba - Daddy. We have been called, as God’s children, to trust that we belong to God and God wants what is good and life giving for each of us – even if we are not able to fully understand or recognize what that is.
Most of all, when we bring our need to God’s love in faith, that is indeed prayer.