This morning I read in Luke 11. This is the place where the disciples ask Jesus to “teach them how to pray as John taught his disciples to pray”(v1). We often question the motives of people (especially these disciples) too often, and I find myself doing it here. Obviously, the disciples see something in John’s followers that they lack.
Could it be power? – because Jesus seems to say at the end of his “teaching” that the “heavenly Father [will] give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him…”(v13).
Could it be holiness and commitment to the cause? – because Jesus is also modeling to them to ask for forgiveness while forgiving others and to ask to be led away from temptation.
Could it be the absence of anxiety, fear, doubt or worry? – because John obviously lacked this (so it seemed) and in Jesus’ model prayer he addresses the importance of asking for “daily bread” and forgiving others.
Maybe it’s just the desire to really KNOW the Father in an intimate way? Think about their understanding of God before they met Jesus. It was probably distant at best. Perhaps reserved for those who sought to obey those 600+ laws militantly. And then they come across John’s people, and Jesus Himself, and see an opportunity that even they might have a chance to be that close to God the Father. Maybe that’s why Jesus begins by saying, “Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come” (2) and then later tell His disciples to simply (but persistently) “ask…seek…knock” and discover that this Heavenly Father will “give…reveal…and open” to them what they’re asking, seeking, and knocking for.
Whatever their motives, I do know my motives are often askew – but they are what they are. I don’t always seek His kingdom first. I don’t always pray that his forgiveness would correspond with my forgiveness of others. I don’t always hunger for his hallowed, precious, majestic, and powerful presence in my life. Yet, he still says… “come, and be persistent in your coming”. So…I come, to the One who still wants me to come. I seek, the One who still wants me to know Him. I knock, because He still convinces me that what he provides when He “opens that door” is far superior than what I had on that porch without him.
I believe that one of the first steps to knowing Jesus intimately is to simply ask, “Lord, will you teach me to pray?“. And then allow Him to reveal the truth about myself and the glorious truth about Himself. This is when I finally get lost in Him and gladly choose to deny myself. I am that deficient. He is that good!
=Oh Father, your name is supreme and holy, please make it special in my heart and in my world. God, I do want your kingdom to come, to advance, to sweep across my kingdom in every way. Your kingdom reigns with beauty and majesty and purity and zeal and power and joy. Your kingdom advances YOU and all that YOU are. My kingdom advances … just me and all that I am. Please provide for us daily and help us to be aware of all the ways that you are providing for us so that we may be thankful vs. greedy. Help me to be aware of my depravity and sins and please make me aware of your forgiveness through the cross and the just punishment for those sins through Christ. And in this attitude help me to be merciful and forgiving to others. God, I beg that you would lead me away from temptation when it rings loudly. Pull me, drag me, entice me, seduce me, and rescue me from lesser pleasures that only destroy true joy in me, my family, my church and my community. May I please not be the reason that others doubt your beauty and majesty and love. Lastly Lord, give me persistence to ask, seek, and knock – trusting that you will give whatever it is that I truly need. You are a good Father and I thank you for adopting me through your only Son Jesus Christ. I love you.