While Jesus walked this earth He did many things. He preached sermons to large crowds and was undoubtedly the greatest preacher that ever lived. If you were going to preach sermons, would it not be exciting to learn how to preach from Jesus? He taught the Bible, and being the incarnate Word of God, He was the world’s greatest teacher of the Bible. When it came to any area, Jesus excelled at it.
With all of this in mind, His being the greatest preacher, teacher, miracle worker or any other area, what would you ask Him if you had the opportunity? It is fascinating to note that the disciples never asked Him to teach us the Bible, although learning truths from the Bible is important. They never asked Jesus to teach them how to preach a message or exposit the scriptures. What was the thing they asked Him? They said “teach us to pray” in this scripture below.
“And it came to pass, that, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, one of His disciples said unto Him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples” (Luke 11:1).
There are several things noteworthy about this. First, it was evident they had some reason to believe that Jesus could actually fulfill their request. I would not go to an auto mechanic and say “teach me how to do brain surgery,” nor would I go to the brain surgeon and ask him to teach me how to fix a car. This request reveals that they knew that Jesus knew about prayer and was an expert in this area.
The Bible records multiple times how Jesus would go alone into a private place He had to pray, away from the crowds where He could be alone with God. This time was not just some quick little “now I lay me down to sleep” prayer, it was a genuine conversation with a real person as He bared His soul to God the Father.
This relationship that was manifested in the prayer life of Jesus so moved the disciples that they wanted to have what He had. It was for this reason that of all the things they could have asked of Jesus they said, “teach us to pray.”
This should be a wakeup call for every believer. If those who actually lived and knew Jesus personally would ask Him to teach them to pray, this tells me they understood how important prayer was to Jesus. With them asking Him to teach them to pray, they are admitting that God places a heavy emphasis on prayer.
While we often are told He then went on to give us the “Lord’s prayer,” that is not an accurate description. The reality is it was intended to be a model prayer for how we are to pray and the type of things to ask for. Among those are forgiveness of sins and strength to help us lead a holy life by forgiving those who harm us. It is only then that we should pray for ourselves.
As believers we should certainly strive to become better by obeying the truths in His book regarding how we are to live the Christian life. However, the most important thing we should be asking Him is what the disciples felt was the most important thing to learn, “Lord, teach us to pray.”