Monday 17 August 2015

Bible Book:

“Lord, teach us pray.” (v. 1)

Luke 11:1-13 Monday 17 August 2015

Psalm: Psalm 69:1-21


How should I pray? Most people of faith will ask that questionseveral times in their lives. The disciples of Jesus were noexception; they had attached themselves to a rabbi (a Jewishteacher) and they expected him to teach them to pray. What's more,the Gospels suggest that one of the ways in which Jesus made a deepimpression on his followers was through his practice of prayer.Taking himself away from the crowd and giving himself time, Jesusradiated a prayerful unity with the one he called 'Abba', 'Father'(Mark 14:36). So, in response to the disciples'question Jesus gives both teaching on how to pray and illustrationson how prayer works.

This version of what Christians have come to call 'The Lord'sPrayer' is much shorter than the one we find in Matthew's Gospel(Matthew 6:9-13) and the one in the slightlylater Christian work, theDidache. It echoes traditional Jewish prayer, with its emphasison the holiness of the divine name, the provision of bread and thecentrality of forgiveness.

Jesus' main illustration is the parable of the insistent friendat midnight. What could be more irritating than being woken up whenyou have shut the house for the night and retired with your family?And yet, if the unwelcome caller is persistent enough you wouldprobably get up and answer their request, if only to get rid ofthem. The message is not that God is fed up with listening to us,rather it is that God is much more likely than we are to respond tohuman need. Ask and you will receive, seek and you will find, knockand doors will open (verse 9). God wants to answer prayer and togive us what we most deeply desire and what we most urgently need.Of course, that doesn't mean that we attack God with a shoppinglist. Instead, it is when our prayer takes us to the desire forGod's kingly rule, to a hunger for the poor to be fed and to ayearning for forgiveness, that we find our requests and God'sresponse matching perfectly.

This understanding of prayer is close to the traditionalMethodist teaching about Christian perfection. It doesn't mean thatwe get everything right, but it does mean that our love for God andfor our fellow human beings has come as close as it can to the lovethat God shows us in Jesus. That is why God's great gift inresponse to prayer is the Holy Spirit - the gift that makes ourprayers and our actions more and more Christlike.

To Ponder

  • What is your deepest desire? How can you express this inprayer?
  • What can you do to make more time and space in your life forprayer? 
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