How to pray not what to pray, from a watching disciple.
Luke 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.’
We were all sat watching him. Time stood still. Transfixed on Jesus who was praying in a certain place. It doesn’t matter where we were but it did matter who we were with. Jesus and His Father. We waited until he had finished. It seemed wrong to interrupt such a powerful moment of intimacy. This was not rote, though Jesus did know the Jewish prayers, he had prayed them since childhood. Many rabbis taught their disciples a prayer, but this was more than that. This was connection, relationship, heart to heart communication which appeared to be that of worshipping as well as asking. This was submission, petition, intercession, praise and thanksgiving. This was the most beautiful sight we had ever seen. This was powerful. It made us think that things would change, be effected and come into being because of this prayer time.
We sat, waiting, watching Jesus. It was so attractive we wanted what he was experiencing. We wanted this ability to enter into prayer like this. We had been appointed as apostles, sent ones, evangelists and miracle workers. But how can we speak to men if we don’t know how to speak to God? We knew how to pray, in that we were not short of words and sentences. But our words seemed cold compared to what we were seeing.
John the Baptist showed his disciples how to pray. Their prayers were that of preparation for the Messiah to come. Prayers of a change of lifestyle. Those disciples seemed to change when they prayed. Their lives followed their prayers.
We were looking for this.
“Teach us to pray”. We asked him. We wanted to know how not what. We were not needing a prayer to be spoken verbatim for the rest of our lives. We were wanting to know how to enter into this prayer life that Jesus had. Jesus seemed to be able to get there. That place of communion with God was what we were seeking.
What came next has been the one thing that has sustained us all our life.
Jesus showed us how to pray…