Read: Luke 11:1-12
The disciples had made their request of Jesus, "Lord, teach us to pray." They were aware of the fact that John the Baptist had taught his disciples how to pray. In response, Jesus had given to them the "Lord's Prayer.” Some call it, rightly, the "model prayer."
What immediately strikes one is the brevity of the prayer itself. It is striking that the prayer consists of but six petitions. It is a prayer which can be uttered in its entirety in less than 30 seconds.
By this instruction, Jesus did not teach that our prayers ought to be very brief -perhaps no more than 30 seconds. Jesus Himself could pray all night. We ask, "Did the perfect Son of God have the need to pray all night?" Jesus would have communion with God His Father even as He was ready to offer Himself to satisfy God's just demands for payment for the sins of those given Him by the Father.
Our prayers likewise may be fervent cries to God uttered in times of great need or great distress. Jesus does condemn long prayers spoken in pretence and made to gain the admiration of men (Matt 23:14).
What Jesus does teach is that prayer need not be lengthy to be heard by God. God is not to be swayed by our "much speaking." A sincere prayer which is heard and answered by God might consist of but a few words.
In the "Lord's Prayer", Jesus sets forth the principle of prayer and the proper content of prayer. We are taught to clearly understand to Whom we pray and for what we ask in that prayer. This is the thrust of the instruction of the Catechism in succeeding Lord's Days.
We consider one further important question. Ought we to pray only this prayer? Is it not the perfect prayer? Does it not present to God petitions covering the complete array of what ought to be included in any prayer?
This prayer can appropriately be prayed as Christ has given it to us. In fact, godly parents can teach their very young children to pray this prayer. It is a prayer that they can remember and use for life. It becomes the occasion for parents to remind their children the requirements of proper prayer.
What a gift is this prayer Christ taught us! We often know not what we should pray for as we ought. Now we are given a simple yet perfect example of what we are to pray for. God grant that His people may learn well from this model.
Rev. G. Van Baren (Wife: Clara)
Ordained: October, 1956
Pastorates: Doon, IA - 1956; Randolph, WI - 1962; First, Grand Rapids, MI - 1965; Hudsonville, MI - 1977; Loveland, CO - 1994
Emeritus: 1999Website: www.sermonaudio.com/search.asp?speakeronly=true&currsection=sermonsspeaker&keyword=Rev._Gise_Van_Baren
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