“Teach Us to Pray” – 1
1 One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”
2 He said to them, “When you pray, say: “‘Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come.
3 Give us each day our daily bread.
4 Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.
And lead us not into temptation.’”
According to Barna prayer is the most common faith practice amongst Americans. 79% of people from the USA have prayed once in the last three months.
We commonly assume that people know what prayer is… The very first step in their relationship with God I gave my kids was praying with them. I told them that prayer was talking with God.
For most my Christian life it felt like I was the one doing all the talking. If God was talking to me I wasn’t hearing Him.
At best, prayer felt like email. I’d message God these prayers, like I was sending Him an email, but I would never hear back.
It was like the lottery if my prayers ever got answered.
If I had been one of Jesus’ disciples I too would have asked Jesus, teach us to pray.
Jesus we know prayed. There are at least 23 recorded times of Jesus praying:
- At His Baptism: (Lk 3:21-22)
- In the morning before heading to Galilee: (Mk 1:35-36)
- After healing people: (Lk 5:16)
- Praying all night before choosing His 12 disciples: (Lk 6:12-13)
- While speaking to the Jewish leaders: (Mt 11:25-26)
- Giving thanks to the Father before feeding 5000 (Jn 6:11, Mt 14:19, Mk 6:41, Lk 9:16)
- Before walking on water: (Mt 14:23, Mk 6:46, Jn 6:15)
- While healing a deaf and mute man: (Mk 7:31-37)
- Giving thanks to the Father before feeding 4000 (Mt 15:36, Mk 8:6-7)
- Before Peter called Jesus “the Christ.” (Lk 9:18)
- At the Transfiguration: (Lk 9:28-29)
- At the return of the seventy: (Lk 10:21)
- Before teaching His disciples the Lord’s Prayer: (Lk 11:1)
- Before raising Lazarus from the dead: (Jn 11:41-42)
- Laying hands on and praying for little children: (Mt 19:13-15)
Asking the Father to glorify His name: (Jn 12:27-28)
- At the Lord’s Supper: (Mt 26:26, Mk 14:22-23, Lk 22:19)
- Prayed for Peter’s faith when Satan asked to “sift” him: (Lk 22:31-32)
- 18.Prayed for Himself, His disciples, and all believers just before heading to Gethsemane: (Jn 17:1-26, Mt 26:36-46) In Gethsemane before His betrayal. (He prayed 3 separate prayers.)
(Also see: Lk 22:39-46, Mk 14:32-42)
- Right after being nailed to the cross, Jesus prayed, “Father forgive them; for they know not what they do.” (Lk 23:34)
- While dying on the cross, Jesus cried out, “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?”
(Mt 27:46, Mk 15:34)
- In His dying breath, Jesus prayed, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit. (Lk 23:46)
- Prayed a blessing on the bread before He ate with others after His resurrection. (Lk 24:30)
- He blessed the disciples before His Ascension. (Lk 24:50-53)
If you were to ask a Jewish person what prayer was they would tell you that prayer was worship. Prayer and worship were one and the same thing. Because of this the Temple was referred to as the House of Prayer (Is 56:7; Luk 19:46).
Jews made prayer a regular part of their day.
They would have prayed at least 3 different times during the day because the Jewish Law required them to do so (In the morning, in the afternoon and at nightfall):
The Shema: “Hear, O Israel: the LORD our God, the LORD is one”
The Amidah (Amidah, which literally means, “standing,” ): The prayer of blessings (14 in Jesus’ day, now 18 blessings:
The first blessing is called Avot, Hebrew for “ancestors,” and serves as an introduction to the God of our biblical heritage, connecting us to the Divine. Mentioning the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob–and in liberal congregations, the matriarchs, Sarah, Rebecca, Leah, and Rachel–this blessing praises God for remembering their good actions, and by implication, asking God to hear our prayer favorably because of their merit. The blessing begins and ends with a formal bow at the knees and hips, symbolically demonstrating our subservience to God.
The second blessing of praise is called Gevurah (might), which describes those powers which are only within the purview of the Divine: “Your lovingkindness sustains the living, your great mercies give life to the dead.” Articulating a fundamental Rabbinic belief in resurrection, this blessing is a reminder of God’s absolute power of life and death.
The individual prays to God to grant us intelligence and understanding, give us the ability to repent of our transgressions, for God to be gracious and forgiving, to send a redeemer, or messiah, to the Jewish people to end our affliction, and finally, to grant healing to those who are sick and ailing.
The following eight blessings are focused more explicitly on the communal and national needs of the Jewish people. There is a request for rain or dew in the proper season to ensure agricultural bounty, a plea to end the dispersion of the Jewish people, and prayers to restore true judges and establish justice in the world; to humble the arrogant and those who seek to malign and injure the Jewish community; to sustain the righteous of the house of Israel; rebuild Jerusalem; reestablish a Davidic leadership; and a final petition to hear and answer the prayers of the Jewish people.
The final blessing of this opening section of praise is called the Kedushah, or holiness. “Holy are You and holy is Your name. Holy are they who praise you daily.”
Recital of the Law
The third type of Jewish prayer during the day was the recital of the Torah.
The Lord’s Prayer
So the disciples asked Jesus “Teach us to pray.”
What we need to see is that these are not ordinary people coming to Jesus. These are Jesus’ disciples. They are not ordinary religious folk.
Why is this important:
You have to decide what you want to be: A Christian or a disciple.
As a disciple is more radical than being a Christian. It means that Jesus is the one your are entirely devoted to and devoted to becoming like in character and in deed.
Jesus was the disciples rabbi.
Their whole purpose was to become like Him and to become propagators of the message of God He carried.
The Lord’s prayer is equally the Disciples’ prayer. This is how Jesus would have prayed. It is centred around Jesus’ yoke.
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Ordinarily, when a disciple trained under a rabbi, the purpose was to master that rabbi’s yoke so they could become a rabbi themselves and make new disciples under that yoke.
When Jesus sends out His disciples in Matthew 28 this is their commissioning service as Rabbis. The disciples are now Rabbis who are instructed to go make disciples in their kind!
If you were to compile a list of a particular rabbi’s interpretations of the law, the prophets, and the writings, the list you would end up with was called that rabbi’s “yoke.”
The Lord’s prayer is related to yoke of Jesus’ discipleship.
It is about replicating the Yoke of Jesus.
It is centred about seeing the heart of the mission of the “Rabbi” fulfilled.: Ulimately this was the fulfilment of the Hope of Israel.
In fact in the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus gives His disciples a version of the Jewish Kaddish to pray:
Magnified and sanctified be his great name in the world He created according to his will. May he establish His kingdom during your life and during your days, and during the life of all the house of Israel, speedily and in the near future. And say Amen.
It was a prayer directed towards seeing the realization of Israel’s mission.
The prayer Jesus gives is not about me or you so much as it is about it is about His Mission and more than that the mission of Israel.
This shows up in the template for praying He gives them:
Jesus calls His disciples to relate to God in the same way He related to his Father.
Jesus doesn’t ask them to pray to God as ABBA as a small child would speak to their Papa. Rather He directs them to relate to God as mature sons would. Sons who are doing the Fathers business.
In Jesus’ day there was a sonship ceremony that looked like this.
The father would take the his son to the city gates and announces before the elders: “This is my beloved son in whom I’m well pleased.” It officiated him to do his business on his behalf. Commissioned the son to do business on his behalf.
When Jesus was baptized, he stood at the gateway between heaven and earth. As he stood in the waters of the Jordon, a hatch in Heaven was opened a voice spoke. It was the voice of the Father. He spoke over his son. “This is my beloved son in whom I’m well pleased.” What we miss is that Father God was officiating Jesus to do His business. In effect God was saying, “When you deal with the Son you are dealing with me.”
The “Our Father” start to the Lord’s prayer invites us to the same place as Jesus. We are here to do the same bidding as Jesus. And what is that bidding?
The highest heavens belong to the LORD, but the earth he has given to mankind.
Father = ‘Father, You’re the senior Partner’
2. Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come.
In these words Jesus directs the disciples to pray the fulfilment of Ezekiel 36:23:
I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the nations, which you profaned in their midst, and the nations shall know that I am the Lord, when I am hallowed among you before their eyes.
Here we have an excellent way of thinking about Jesus’ mission. Israel had brought the name of God into disrepute among the nations, as evidenced supremely by the disaster of Roman occupation. By his faithfulness to the point of death on a Roman cross Jesus would reverse this wretched situation and bring glory to the name of God.
“In other words Hallowed Be your name” is a prayer that people recopies the sacredness of God, which will be the result of Heaven on earth.
In modern day terms Jesus was praying for REVIVAL!
‘Father, You’re the senior Partner, Let REVIVAL COME!’