An ancient stone path in the historic city of Bethsaida in Israel

An ancient stone path in the historic city of Bethsaida in Israel

How do we learn to pray? The first disciples learned by what they witnessed in Jesus’s life. They asked him to teach them. Listen to this take on that theme:

“Any honest consideration of the life of Jesus Christ is both shaking and humbling. Whence came such power? The chief way in which we can find a reasonable answer to this question is by a continued study of His prayers. His prayers are not the whole of His revelation, but they are elements apart from which the other elements cannot be understood. The few prayers do not constitute the sufficient condition for understanding Christ, but they do constitute a necessary condition. What was His secret? George Buttrick has put it with convincing brevity: ‘The open secret is: His days were steeped in prayer. The missing word is God, and only by prayer can we find it.’” (Trueblood, Elton. The Lord’s Prayers. New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1965, p. 125.)

Jesus’ days were steeped in prayer. He lived in continual communion with His Father. He often withdrew, even in the midst of his busiest seasons, to be in prayer. But not prayer as something to do as much as Someone to be with. Am I learning to follow Jesus’s way here? Are my days steeped in prayer—in conversational relationship with my Father in heaven?  What do I not have in my soul or heart because I have not asked the Father for this that I need? Do I need more self-control? Am I asking the Father to provide me all that I need in that way? Am I expressing my practical dependence on Him alone in this way?

When I think of my continuing wrestling with the practice of prayer, I continue to also believe that my image of Jesus and of the Father are not nearly as welcoming, loving, gracious, or merciful as the True God is. Father, empower me with the Spirit of Jesus to live in communion with You like Jesus did. Amen.

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