Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.’ Luke 11:1
Our fellowship with God through the Lord Jesus Christ is principally expressed through our prayers. They give evidence of our relationship with Him. He not only speaks with us through His word but has also entrusted us with the amazing privilege of communicating with Him in prayer.
Scripture provides us with multiple accounts of Jesus’ own prayer life. The better acquainted we are with these records, the more we realize that Jesus treated prayer as a holy habit. He regularly prayed in the early-morning hours to lay the day’s plans before His Father. Praying in a quiet and solitary place enabled Jesus to then follow His Father’s voice over the noise of the crowds and even the requests of His disciples. Prayer formed the context or framework of all the decisions He made.
Jesus’ prayer routine prompted His disciples to plead, “Lord, teach us to pray.” They were apparently struck by His intensity and focus, which created a hunger in their hearts for similar intimacy with the Father.
In response to their request, Jesus instructed His disciples not to “heap up empty phrases” or to “think that they will be heard for their many words” (Matthew 6:7). In other words, in praying we are not to babble or drone on. Instead, in the example that Jesus then gave—namely, the Lord’s Prayer—we discover that God’s spiritual children are free to address God simply and directly as their heavenly Father.
And what are we to pray for? To begin with, we are to ask for God’s name to be rightly honored, for Him to bring His kingdom in us and around us, and for Him to supply our daily needs. We are to admit our need for daily repentance, the necessity of extending forgiveness to others, and our dependence on God for dealing with temptation. In our prayers, Jesus explained, we are to seek and ask to see God’s glory and grace in the midst of everyday life.
In our Christian pilgrimage, there is arguably nothing more important—or more difficult to maintain—than a meaningful prayer life. But here is help. If Jesus, the divine Son of God, needed to pray, then so do you and I. That humbling thought should drive us to our knees. And once there, we can freely employ the Lord’s Prayer as an aid in our own prayer. God has given you the great privilege of approaching Him in prayer and addressing Him as Father. He stands ready to listen and to help. Be sure to treat prayer as a holy habit and never as an optional extra.
Devotional material is taken from the Truth For Life daily devotional by Alistair Begg, published by The Good Book Company. Used by Truth For Life with permission. Copyright © 2021, The Good Book Company.