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.”
Most Christians believe that prayer is just asking from God. Some of us pray out of duty. Some just because they feel it is the right thing to do. Some pray only when there is a need or a challenging situation. On the whole, many pray without realising that prayer should be an overflow from our intimate close relationship with the creator of the universe.
When Jesus’ disciples saw the way Jesus prayed, they were fascinated, they were intrigued. His prayer life was birth out of a strong and close relationship with His Father. They must have discussed this amongst themselves yet did not know how to approach Jesus. Fortunately, one of them was bold enough to approach Jesus and say-
“Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.”
Jesus began by introducing his disciples to God as a father, “Our Father in heaven,” Not just a father to one person but a Father to all. God is to be approached confidently as a caring, loving father in the context of intimacy. Through Jesus we have access to our Father in heaven
Ephesians 3:12 tells us:
In Him and through faith in Him we may enter God's presence with boldness and confidence.
When we begin to fully understand God as our Father in heaven, it would change the way we pray. Our God and heavenly Father is concerned and interested in our well-being. Other religions see their gods as alienated from their subjects. Yet it is not the same with our God. Christianity is the one faith that is built on relationship, so our prayer life should be an extension of that relationship
Paul continues his discourse in Ephesians 3:14
For this reason, I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,
Here Paul gives us an insight to the relationship that is between us and God, the Father. We can approach Him with boldness because we are His children, we belong to the family of God.
Jesus also illustrates prayer in the context of friendship, in Luke 11:5-6
5 And He said to them, “Which of you shall have a friend, and go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; 6 for a friend of mine has come to me on his journey, and I have nothing to set before him’;
Jesus in John 15 says I no longer call you servants but friends. Jesus was emphasising the relationship we have with Him. Being His friends we are able to approach Him at any time.
In this discourse we are also introduced to prayer being a dialogue and not a monologue. It is clear from this scripture that friends do speak to one another. God wants to speak to us in this intimate relationship as we speak to Him.
Jesus further illustrates prayer based on a father-son relationship, in Luke 11:11
11 If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? 13 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”
Jesus continues in this illustration to identify God as a good father who will give His children good gifts.
If you have prayed in the past just out of duty, need, guilt or because it is the right thing to do. I want to encourage you today move to a higher level of praying out of relationship with your loving Father. Come to Him confidently without any form of slavish fear. He is your father and wants to have a dialogue with you. He wants to share His heart with you.