One night, when John was very little (about 3), he and I were working through his bedtime routine. We had read a story and sung one song. It was time for prayers. Usually I said the prayers and then he would say people that he wanted God to bless. But this night he surprised me: he told me he would say the prayer. Then he proceeded to recite a very passable Lord’s Prayer. I had never worked on teaching him this prayer, so I asked him where he learned it. He rolled his eyes at me and replied, “We say it every Sunday in church!” He had recently reached the age where he stayed in the worship service for a while and he, unlike me, had been paying attention to what was going on!
Lord, teach us to pray. This was the request the disciples made to Jesus in Luke 11:1. They saw he had a powerful and important prayer life. They saw that things were changed when Jesus prayed. They noticed that he gained power from his prayer time. The disciples kept falling asleep during their prayer time, so they asked him to teach them to pray. And he taught them what we, today, call “The Lord’s Prayer.” It is still a powerful prayer and can teach us a lot when we pay attention to it.
The Lord’s Prayer is about putting God first and seeking his kingdom. It is seeking his will instead of our own. In the Lord’s Prayer we ask to be kept from sinning and ask God to help us learn to forgive those who sin against us. We ask for our needs to be met, but we don’t ask for more than our needs. We ask for deliverance from evil, which is still very real in the world today.
Who has taught you how to pray? What have you learned that gives the most power to your prayer life? How has God answered your prayer when you asked, “Lord, teach us to pray.”?