“Lord, teach us to pray…”
I love that so much…
I love the humility that permeates that request.
I love the desire that drips from those words.
But more than anything, I love that the disciples saw a direct correlation between how Jesus lived and the things He did and His prayer life.
It’s not that the disciples were unfamiliar with prayer.
You would have been hard pressed to have found any Jew at that time that wasn’t schooled in the importance and practice of prayer.
But they could not escape this one noticeable fact: This man… this Jesus was different.
They realized that His intimacy with God determined everything about His life — the decisions He made, the words He spoke, the places He visited, how He spent His time, the people He ministered to… everything.
And they wanted to pray like the Lord so that they could live like the Lord.
Although Jesus then models for them what we in the church commonly refer to as “The Lord’s Prayer,” it’s what He continues to expound upon concerning prayer within the parable that follows that has grabbed my attention for the last 30 or more days.
It’s important to note that the parable about a man who persistently asks his friend for three loaves of bread to feed his guest that shows up at midnight is a part of the lesson Jesus is wanting to teach His disciples about prayer (see Luke 11:5-13).
This parable immediately comes after the ‘Amen’ of the prayer Jesus demonstrates.
It’s as if “The Lord’s Prayer” ends and this parable starts with the same breath.
And the lesson that Jesus is wanting to teach His disciples is one we often forget: PERSISTENCE.
It’s rare that we continue to ask, seek, and knock for something until we receive it.
It’s uncommon for us to have the resolve to persevere until we obtain what we hunger for.
But, through this parable, the Lord makes it abundantly clear that it’s when we continue, when we persist, when we don’t take ‘no’ for an answer… we receive what we are looking for.
At the very heart of this parable, I believe Jesus reveals to us why He’s able to live the way He lives, why He does what He does, and why He’s able to have the kind of intimacy with His Father that shapes every facet of His life.
And it’s found in what He tells us we should ask for.
Dear reader, please don’t miss this…
A disciple asks Jesus to teach His followers how to pray and Jesus uses a parable to illustrate that we should be persistently asking to have more of the Holy Spirit.
It’s as if He’s saying, “If you want to pray, if you want to ask for anything… ask for more of the Person that you see Me clothed with… ask for the One that flows through Me… ask for the One that reveals to Me what the Father is doing and saying… ask for the One that makes intimacy with the Father possible… ask for the Holy Spirit.”
Could it be that Jesus is ultimately saying that the key to His example is found in what He relationally enjoyed with the Holy Spirit?
I believe it is.
“Lord, teach us to pray…”
In other words, how can we be more like You?
Jesus makes it simple.
Ask. Seek. Knock.
And don’t stop.
The Holy Spirit — His activity and presence — is and will forever remain to be our greatest need.
- Brian Connolly, Faith Like Birds Ministries
Check out the previous blog!