Have you ever spent time with someone you were close with who was older or knew their time on Earth was coming to an end? Recently I’ve experienced a few family deaths and although that has been very sad, it has sparked my family to be very intentional about sharing stories. My great aunt was a great cook and so many of the stories revolve around her feeding people. My mom created family cookbooks a few years ago and I cannot describe the value those hold now that my great aunt has passed.
As we enter this next sermon series on the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus offers His disciples and us something far more valuable than a family recipe as He prepares to leave the Earth, He gives them The Lord’s Prayer. It is in Luke 11 that Jesus is off praying on His own and when He returns His disciples ask that He teach them how to pray. There are many reasons why Jesus might have taught the disciples how to pray but here are a couple to think about as we go through the next six weeks. First, the disciples saw the example of Jesus’ prayer and power so naturally they asked to be taught by Jesus. Second, Jesus was already showing the disciples how He would later be the mediator between us and God.
The disciples are following Jesus and watching Him perform miracles with prayer (Mk 9:29, Jn 11:41-42) prior to The Lord’s Prayer. They have also followed Jesus enough to see him offering prayers of thanksgiving (Mt 11:25-26) and prayers that God would be glorified (Jn 17:1-5). If I were following Jesus, I would want to know how I could be like Him in those prayers. Seeing people raised from the dead and then the credit going to prayer would be enough incentive for me to want to know how to pray correctly. Jesus also knew He would not be with them forever. Just as He is our great mediator now (1 Tim 2:5), I believe he was already showing the disciples this by teaching them how to pray. This is reinforced by Jesus teaching the disciples to call God, “Our Father.” Jesus is already bridging the gap between people and God while teaching prayer.
I hope this series will be an encouragement. When I was younger, I was put off a little by the rigidity of The Lord’s Prayer knowing that God heard me however I spoke to Him. Now when I read the prayer or recite it from memory, I think of it as a kindness given to me by the Lord. This kindness gives me the template with instructions on what goes into “the recipe” of prayer.