THE DISCIPLES’ PRAYER
Heavenly Father, You are the focus of my heart. Whether I face hard times or good times, all I am is tied up in You.
Read LUKE 11:1–13
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
It is interesting to note that the disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray. Perhaps prayer can be such a struggle for us because we have not been taught how to pray.
All around the world, through the ages, in many languages, this prayer has formed part of the prayer life of the gathered church and the individual Christian. It is very simple in structure but not, in some ways, easy to translate. Jesus spoke Aramaic and probably taught it many times; both Matthew (6:9–15) and Luke record Jesus teaching it to his disciples, and they translated it into everyday Greek. Luke’s version here is shorter than Matthew’s and the doxology only appears in a few later documents. If there had been more records of it in the gospels, there would probably be more versions!
Here, in Luke, Jesus says “When you pray, say…” In Matthew, he says, “This, then, is how you should pray.” So we can pray these words, but we can also use them as a pattern, coming to grips with what they mean for our lives day by day. For some, praying for God’s kingdom to come and his will to be done on earth is a prayer for the Lord’s second coming, for the new heaven and earth; for others it involves praying for our world now, recognizing our calling to be bringers of his love and redeeming grace into every corner we can reach. We can, of course, mean both!
It’s a communal prayer: together we seek God’s priorities and then we turn to pray for our bread. We pray for sufficient means for our needs day by day and then move out to help provide for the hungry, who are praying this prayer in desperation. We pray for forgiveness of our sins and then move out to seek forgiveness of others and to put things right. Whether we are mothers or fathers, neighbors or friends, we are called to model our God’s fatherly care as we pray, “Our Father.”
Pray this prayer, phrase by phrase, and ask the Lord for his Holy Spirit to lead you out to fulfill his words.
Help me, Lord, to connect with Your heart and to mean what I say when I pray.