Faith Matters: Lord, teach us to pray

  • Pastor Dennis Jacob in The Moody Center Auditorium in Northfield. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • Moody Center Auditorium in Northfield. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • Moody Center Auditorium in Northfield. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

The Moody Center
Published: 1/11/2021 2:34:44 PM
Modified: 1/11/2021 2:34:23 PM

Prayer is talking to God, which is simple to do outwardly, but as taught by Jesus, can be personally challenging inwardly. Prayer is held up in scripture as the first vital work of the believer. Yet astoundingly, prayer is the most neglected work in modern Christianity. Why?

The title of this article comes from Luke’s gospel chapter 11, verse 1. Jesus was praying, and when He finished, one of the disciples asked Him, “Lord, teach us to pray.” The prayer that follows is one of the most quoted expressions in all the Bible. Familiarity, though, can be deceiving because familiarity doesn’t mean understanding, right?

I’m no authority of this profound subject. Like you, I still have much to learn about prayer. This brief article invites you to think carefully with me about these words of Jesus, and what they mean, as a teaching example of prayer. I will focus on the first part of Jesus’ prayer, and leave the requests of the latter part to your own meditations. “Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on Earth as it is in heaven.”

We are used to referring to God as our Father, but back when Jesus taught this, it was unheard of. Fitting, though, wasn’t it, for the Son of God, while here on Earth, to personally introduce His Father, and invite the disciples to call Him their Father? According to scripture, the indwelling Holy Spirit enables believers to cry out, Abba, Father. What’s the Father like?

Jesus explains that our heavenly Father is ready and desirous, more than any earthly father, to give good things to His children when they ask. Another scripture explains that our Father in heaven, since He loves His children, chastens them when they disobey. Earthly fathers who practice biblical chastening with their children, teach the wisdom of God’s love to them.

After inviting the disciples to call His Father, their Father, Jesus stated the vital quality they needed to have in mind, as they approach Him in prayer. Hallowed means holy or separate from sin. So our Father in heaven is holy, unlike any other father you’ve known.

Isaiah, a prophet of the Old Testament, and John, an apostle of the New Testament, had heaven opened to them. Both men saw seraphim angels worshiping God, crying holy, holy, holy. This quality of the Father can be a prayer stopper for some. Folks who like their sin don’t repent, do they? Some attempt to redefine God to suit their sinful lifestyle. Yet the Father is holy, it’s who He is, and He never changes. If someone prays, but redefines who the Father is, then ask yourself, who are they talking to? Prayer as Jesus taught it is personal, humbling and honest, isn’t it?

After inviting the disciples to call upon their holy Father in heaven, Jesus taught them to pray for His will to be done on Earth as it is in heaven. In heaven, the Father’s will is perfectly accomplished. That’s not always the case on Earth, as many follow their own ways, while ignoring God’s. When someone sincerely prays for the Father’s will to be done, they’ve set aside their will, and replaced it with the Father’s, haven’t they? Prayer, as taught by Jesus, pictures the believer as the heavenly Father’s child, living according to His will, under His roof.

Here’s some conclusions for Christendom. If Jesus’ prayer was taken seriously, if it became the heartbeat of believers, millions of unanswered prayers would be answered by our loving Father in heaven. Also, it would result in unity among Christians, since they’d all be humbly following the voice of one Shepherd, rather than the various traditions of men. Ask Jesus today to teach you to pray!


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