Luke 11:1 Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.”
I imagine it was a wonderful thing to see Jesus pray to the Father. In fact, the disciples saw Jesus pray and they desired to pray in the manner that He did. Of course, being the Son, Jesus had a relationship with the Father and it was a relationship that was very apparent in the manner of His prayer. The relationship that was exemplified in His prayer life was the relationship that His disciples desired. Don’t you want that kind of relationship with God? A relationship in which you can share your deepest fears, your worries, your ideas, your hopes, your longings and your failures? A relationship so intimate that people see you talking to God and they say, “Can you show me how to do that?”
Jesus’ prayer life caused the disciples to desire that their prayer life be as His was, but in order for their prayer life to be like His, they needed to understand their relationship with the Father. Two friends might be having an important conversation, but it’s not the same as that of a Father and a child. When the disciples saw Jesus praying … They saw the Father and the Son in intimate conversation. It was the relationship that was communicated through prayer that the disciples really wanted. Does your prayer life provoke others to desire a closer relationship to God?
You see, I think there are many who have been tricked into believing that our prayers have to impress God in some way before He will listen. Prayer is an interesting thing … It’s simple … children pray some of the most profound prayers I’ve ever heard … but prayer is also so great a thing that even men of great renown have not been able to master it. Intimate prayer comes from a relationship where you are dependent on God in everything. But without a relationship with God, prayer is only words and so the first step in learning to pray is to establish the relationship. You do that by confessing Jesus as Lord of your life (Romans 10:9-10).
In the model prayer that Jesus shares with His disciples, He uses the word “Our” … Our Father Who art in Heaven hallowed by Your Name … He could have said, “My Father” but He didn’t … He included us … Our Father … He includes you and I in kinship. And so when we pray to God as our Father we recognize the kinship between all of us who have confessed Jesus. We are the Body of Christ, together, each one of us, but our kinship with one another is not what gives us the right to address the Father in prayer. It is our kinship with Jesus which is established when we are born again that gives us the privileges of adoption.
Romans 8:14–17 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.
Without that kinship that we have with Christ, we could not approach God in prayer because He is Holy … “Hallowed be Your Name.” We should understand just Who we are praying to. God is Holy, Righteous, Exalted, Omnipotent, Omnipresent, Immutable, He is just, Sovereign … Yet He is not impersonal, so even though we pray to God Almighty we address Him yet as Father and we draw near to Him as our Abba, our Daddy. Even though God is all those things, because we are called sons, we experience God in His mercy, His love, His faithfulness and His long-suffering.