There was a group of men, hand picked by Jesus, known as the disciples. This band of merry-men spent the bulk of three years with Jesus. They traveled from place to place with Him. They ate with Him, listened to Him, watched Him, touched Him, they knew Him better than anyone else on earth.
John, a disciple of Jesus, becomes one of the inner circle of three disciples; Peter, James and John. John opens his first letter to the church with these words:
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched–this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy complete.
1 John 1:1-4 (NIV)
Can you sense the excitement of John. He did not just hear about Jesus, he heard directly from Him, he saw Him face to face, and he touched Him. I know I would be excited to share these events. The disciples were the first line witnesses to all that Jesus said and did. As disciples they were students of Jesus the Rabbi. The learned much from him in the three years they were together.
Imagine all they learned just by watching Jesus do the miraculous. They saw Him change water to wine. They were there when the outcasts of society, the lepers, were cleansed of their disease. They experienced His command over nature as even the wind and waves obeyed His commands. They rejoiced with the mother as her son returns from the dead at the request of Jesus. They were there with the thousands who spent the day listening to Him. They observed His ability to silence the criticism of the religious leaders with just a simple question.
Of all the things these disciples witnessed, we only hear about them requesting once for Jesus to teach them. What did they want to know how to do? To raise the dead? To give sight to the blind? To multiply food? To command the wind?
The disciples didn’t ask for any of the big things that would come to our mind after reading the Gospel of Christ. Luke records their one request of Jesus.
One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”
Luke 11:1 (NIV)
Did you catch it? They asked him to teach them to pray. Jesus’ example of prayer left the biggest impression with them of all He had done. Prayer is the one thing they wanted to learn how to do like Jesus. They had seen Him pray. They had seen his connection to the Father. They saw this amazing ability to keep ministering whenever the time presented itself. They wanted that peace, that connection.
How about you? Is that what you would ask Jesus to teach you?
In the next few weeks I will be taking time to look at the Lord’s Prayer, the 71 words I spoke of in my last post. The prayer that is the answer to the disciples question.
Join us for this journey as we ask the Lord of the Church to Teach Us To Pray!